Traveling is fun. Packing 4 sweaters and 3 jackets in the middle of summer while fighting 98% humidity in Japan is not. It’s simple… packing can make or break your trip. Having a ton of stuff you don’t need in your photography bag is also a pain to deal with.
Although Russelle has seen plenty of travel time herself, last year (2016, Age 23), was the first time I had ever left the country. Before that, the farthest I had gone out of California was Oregon… Yup, I was a late bloomer in terms of travel. I still have a lot to experience; luckily, photography and Russelle are constantly taking me to new places.
After making the horrible mistake of: over packing in Japan, having to lug my suitcases around, and having no space to bring souvenirs home, I swore to myself that I would be a better and lighter traveler in the future. The future has come and here I am! Since we frequently travel back and forth from Norcal to Socal, I thought this blog post would be a fun way to display what we bring on assignment to keep things efficient, minimal and light- as photographers.
Chris’ Photography Bag:
Main Camera Body
5D Mark IV – With the explosion of Mirrorless cameras hitting the markets every year, it has been very tempting to switch over. The weight difference, video capabilities, and IBIS is what makes me want to switch over the most (Sony A Series), but until mirrorless cameras are as rugged and battery efficient as DSLRs I will be staying with these semi-heavy bodies.
Sigma 35mm F/1.4 ART – My low light lens and my favorite focal length. It’s a little wider than the human eye which can create some interesting environmental portraits. Oooh wee It’s a super sharp lens too.
Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 IS ii– This has been my most used lens lately. Amazing for portraits, headshots, events, sports and amazing for anything else thrown at it. This lens is probably on my camera 80% of the time during weddings. It’s the heaviest thing I bring with me everywhere, but the weight is well worth it for the versatility it provides.
Canon 17-40mm F/4 – If this lens were in anyone else’s bag they would probably say they use this the most for landscapes. I like to shoot landscapes as well; but honestly, this is my least used lens. It’s so light and covers my wide angles; I find myself bringing this with me just in case.
Flash– It’s always good to be prepared! You never know when you’ll need a bounce flash or a fill light!
Memory Card Case– I lose things all the time, so it’s good to get organized. Now I can lose all my memory cards at once!
Tripod– Super light and super compact. Doubles up as a Monopod and has an Arca Swiss quick release plate. Great tripod for night photography and long exposures.
Camera Strap with Personalize Shoulder Pad– I bought this strap when I realized what a nuisance other straps were while I would try to mount my camera to stabilizers and tripods. This strap comes off with a click and slide of a button. It’s comfortable and probably the last strap I’ll be purchasing. I keep my personalized shoulder pad on it so that I can match with Russelle. It looks great together. Honestly, FOTO products look great with everything 🙂
Extra Batteries and a Travel Charger- It’s always great to have backup batteries and a compact charger. Here’s a hard learned lesson from me: It’s worth it to pay the higher price for name brand batteries. I once had an event in the morning, so I charged all my batteries the night before. I showed up to the event with 4 fully charged off brand batteries (specifically these), to my horrific surprise, they were all dead when I popped them into my camera.
Post Process Rig
Laptop– This is where I do all my photo editing, video editing, and of course, writing. Surely if I built a custom PC, it would be way more powerful and cheaper than this. Sadly, that PC would not be as mobile and portable as this laptop. For that reason, this is my main rig.
Gaming Mouse– Gaming mouses are great for editing. They’re precise and responsive.
External HD– For awhile I would export my photos and videos straight into my laptop. I ran out of space quickly. Then I was gifted a huge external hard drive that needed it’s own power supply. I used it to backup my things but it was difficult to edit with and annoying to carry around. Now I’m using this. It’s compact and portable. Happy me.
Cell Phone– I love this phone. That is all.
Battery Pack– To power my beloved phone. Fun fact: I sanded this battery pack down and spray painted this design onto it. Fun creative day for me! I was the coolest kid playing Pokemon Go that week.
Notebook– To write my ideas and memories in.
All of these things fit into my backpack and only fills half of it up. This gives the remainder of my bag space room for clothes. If we’re gone for longer than a week, we usually share one suitcase for clothes and slap our cute FOTO luggage tag onto it.
With this photo setup, I feel comfortable taking on any photography gigs while I’m away from home. I can shoot a whole wedding, sports event, or portrait session with these photographic essentials. If I need to stay on location for a little longer than intended, I know I’m ready for it.
Russelle’s Photography Bag
Hey Selle here! I carry way lighter than Chris so this is going to be a shorter section!
Canon 6D– Before I met Chris I shot with an entry level Nikon Camera. I wanted to get more serious doing wedding photography with him, so we decided it would be best to shoot the same brands. This way, we can share lenses and he can teach me exactly how to use my camera. I love that for a full frame camera, it’s still small and light :).
When deciding on what lenses to purchase with my new camera, I wanted to have the lightest possible; and of course, the ones that would produce the prettiest images. Chris picked these three for me and coincidentally were the three lenses he started wedding photography with. These are all Prime Lenses, meaning they don’t zoom. Because of that, they’re lighter, cheaper, sharper, and can stop down to smaller apertures (creamier blurrier backgrounds :D)
Canon 85mm F/1.8– My portrait/ headshot lens
Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART– My favorite lens and the lens that’s usually on my camera body. Great for portraits and landscapes.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8– This one is in my bag only because it’s cheap and light. I often times use the other two more than this one. This is Chris’ old lens so it has definitely taken a beating. It’s going to be 5 years old this year! Great cheap starter lens.
FOTO Camera Strap – Chris bought me this for Christmas and I absolutely love this strap. I was using a Joby Sling Strap for awhile, but I hated how my camera would constantly be upside down and swinging everywhere. I love the color and personalized design of this new strap. The shoulder pad is super comfortable as well!
Flash, Battery, Charger, and Extra Sd Cards– My things don’t work without them 😛
Notebook- Note taking, favorite restaurants, and favorite locations.
Business Cards– Chris forgets his at home all the time and that’s why he’s lucky I’m there!
2013 MacBook Pro 13″ – This is what I use to edit photos and send out all my business Emails with. It’s a couple years old now, but it’s still going strong. It’s a lot faster now that I installed an SSD in it.
Samsung Galaxy S8+ – I just got this phone recently. I have been using apple products for awhile, but when the new iPhone came out with no headphone jack, I decided to get this phone after my old phone lease was over. It is definitely taking time to get used to but I don’t regret the switch. The camera is great on this also, ” my awesome boyfriend helps me with any android questions I have” -Chris made me write that.
Yup this is what I lug around whenever we go off into different cities. This all fits into my REI backpack with plenty of space to spare. It’s always nice to know I’m always prepared wherever I go. Also, if I don’t bring my stuff, I know I can just use Chris’ gear. Muahahah.
Thank you for reading! I know this was a long blog, but I hope it was helpful for anyone looking to see what they should bring along with them on their next adventure. I’m sure you can get away with much less, but this is what we bring to make sure we’re always ready for the next shot!