Happy Wednesday, friends!
We just wrapped up two days of teaching classes for photographers in Seattle and Vancouver, and we’re spending today exploring British Columbia with a few of our Canadian friends before heading home to Arizona tomorrow. More of that on the blog next week!
We’re in a season of life right now that’s got on us on the road as much (if not more) than it’s got us at home. It’s exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. We’re so thankful that God’s blessed us with the chance to see the country and the world together. It’s caused us to seize every minute and squeeze as many memories as we can out of each place we go. To be intentional about looking up long enough to see things with our eyes and also documenting them with our cameras (and not just our iPhones), so that we can look back years from now and remember what a fun ride we had.
With that in mind, over the next two weeks, we’re sharing our top tips for traveling (both abroad and nationally) with camera gear, and we hope that what we’ve learned can help you make the most out of your memories, too, whether you’re a professional photographer or just getting started! Up first is Part 1: 5 Gear Essentials for Traveling Photographers.
1. Bring the Right Bags
When we’re traveling, we take every preventative measure to keep our gear safe and make it as easy as possible to lug around all that extra weight. In Europe, there are lots of regulations about how many bags you can take on a plane and how heavy they can be, so we had to be strategic about what we were going to bring. The bag we used to transport our gear on airplanes, trains, and buses is the LowePro Flipside 400 which allows you to store your gear safely in the back of a backpack that can only be opened when it’s off your back, which prevents pick-pocketers from easily getting anything out of it without you noticing. Plus, it fits great underneath the seat in front of you, so there’s no chance they’ll ask you to check it if the overhead bins get full! When we were sight-seeing, we only brought one camera and one lens (Our 5D Mark III and the 50 1.2), which we stored in our Kelly Moore bag. It looks like a regular purse, can easily be worn in the front of your body in sketchy areas, and doesn’t scream “Expensive equipment in here!”
2. Invest in a Travel Battery
The HyperJuice 222w battery is the best thing to ever happened to traveling creatives who need to work on the go. This puppy has so much juice it can power our MacBook Pro for 8-10 hours without access to an electrical outlet — even while we’re running energy-sucking programs like Lightroom! It’s a significant investment (around $500) but it’s a total lifesaver when you’re flying for more than a few hours. It also has two USB outlets, so we can power our phones and our computer all at once. It’s about the size of a Harry Potter book, so it’s big, but easily fits in a purse or travel bag.
3. Don’t Forget Power Adapters
European outlets are completely different than American ones, and they vary country to country! When you’re traveling abroad, make sure you buy the right adapters for the countries you’re planning to visit, so that when you get to your hotel, you have the ability to charge your camera batteries, use your laptop, and do everything else you need to do to with your electronics. Power comes out of European outlets at 220v, while power comes out of American outlets at 110v. In the past, you needed to plug your outlet into an adapter so that your American plug would fit in the wall, but you also needed to connect it to a converter to bring the voltage down from 220v in the wall to 110v in your device to avoid blowing fuses, destroying electronics, or causing fires. Fortunately, we found out, most of today’s major U.S. power cords convert the power automatically! Big win! So, for example, you Apple computer charger just needs to be plugged into a European adapter to fit into the wall, because the big white box part will convert the electricity and make sure you’re good to go.
4. Get a Good on-the-go Card Backup Solution
We all know how important backup solutions are when shooting professionally, but when you’re traveling and capturing once-in-a-lifetime personal memories, it’s just as important! We knew there was a possibility that we could get mugged or robbed, and while our gear is insured internationally, no amount of money could bring back the photos we would lose on the cards inside our cameras! Every night when we got back to our hotel room, we transferred the photos from the day onto our laptop, which remained in the hotel during each day and also used our HyperDrive ColorSpace on-the-go backup drive as a secondary external backup solution. We were able to stick the cards directly into the drive each night, back them up, and then store them in the safe in our hotel room or on the cruise ship, or bring them with us, since a second copy was stored safely on our laptop. We took every precaution to keep our images safe. We never ran into a problem of any kind, but we felt so much peace knowing if something happened to our cameras, we’d still have the photos!
5. A Wide Angle is a Must!
We made the mistake of traveling to Europe without a wide angle lens! We were trying to pack light and eliminate weight, but in hindsight, it would’ve been worth the extra weight now knowing how tight the side streets and how tall the buildings and monuments are. We wish we would’ve had a 24mm for all of our sight-seeing. The streets are NARROW in Europe and even though our 50 1.2 did fine in most situations, a lot of times we were stuck shooting only part of building or landmarks because we couldn’t get far enough away to fit the whole thing in. It wasn’t the thing to make or break our images, but it would’ve been nice to have the option to pull back in those tight spots.
We hope these tips help you on your future trips, friend! Next week, we’ll share our top five shooting tips for traveling photographers! Until then, if you want more FREE photography and business tips and tricks that you can’t find on our blog delivered straight to your inbox every week, we’ve gotcha covered! Click here to sign up for free for The Monday Minute, our weekly newsletter for photographers.