One of the great things about being a travel photographer is that you are almost always working outside. Sometimes this might be in a city and sometimes in the wilderness. Either way, one of the main attributes you will need is to be organized. This involves everything from research and planning, to your shot list and efficiency. It also includes being organized with your equipment and what you will need on a day to day basis.
There is a fine balance between carrying too much unnecessary equipment and what you actually will need. A vital part of carrying your equipment is choosing the right bag for the scenario you are going to be photographing. Not only are camera bags important in keeping your equipment safe and dry, but a good bag will also make it easier to carry equipment.
Especially when you will potentially be walking around all day. There are so many bags to choose from, so here are the five types of bags that you may need at some point.
#1 – Day Bag
A day bag is usually the first bag that most people would purchase. It will also be the bag that gets the most usage. So it’s vital that you take into account the different options available to fit your needs. Before you rush out and buy one, consider the following factors:
- Size – What will you generally be carrying day to day? Most travel photographers will carry a telephoto lens and possibly a couple of smaller lenses. You may also carry a flash as well as memory cards, batteries and possibly a second camera.
- Tripod – The first day bag that I ever purchased, didn’t have a way to attach and carry my tripod. I quickly realized how frustrating and tiring that was. Carrying a tripod means you are constantly having to put it down every time you want to take a photo. So when fleeting moments arrive you are not ready to snap away.
- Non-photography space – Another big consideration when purchasing a day bag is how much additional space you will have to carry non-photographic items. For example, can you carry a bottle of water? Or a rain jacket? Is there somewhere safe and hidden away that you can keep your keys, mobile phone or even cash?
- Accessibility – Would you really want to take everything out of your bag to get to those plasters right at the bottom? How quickly and easily you can access the various compartments of your bag is very important. For example, some bags will allow you to get your camera out from a side zipper without having to open the whole thing up.
- Comfort – As a travel photographer you will often be out walking for hours. Being able to carry your equipment comfortably can mean the difference between going back to the hotel because you’re uncomfortable and in pain or carrying on.
- Airline carry-on – Another consideration is whether your bag complies with the carry-on regulations of airlines. I always carry my camera equipment on the plane (I put my tripod in my suitcase) rather than check it in so have to make sure that my bag isn’t too big.
All of these are factors that need to be considered before purchasing a day bag. It’s taken me a few attempts to find the perfect day bag but my choice is the Lowepro ProTactic 450 camera bag.
It has plenty of storage for two cameras as well as a couple of other lenses and things like memory cards and batteries. It has a top zip, as shown below, that makes it easy to access my camera without needing to open the whole bag. I can also carry a large tripod attached to the bag as well.