Chief Editor Rhiannon D’Averc shares her secrets to always getting to every location shoot with just one bag – super useful for moving around the city!
I travel around to photoshoot locations a lot, particularly in the summer, as I prefer to work on location. However, this means I have to take everything I need for the shoot with me. But, as long-term readers or my followers may know, I live with fibromyalgia, meaning it’s easy for me to get tired very quickly when carrying heavy things. So, how do I manage to bring everything I need and still travel light? Here’s how…
1. Have a massive handbag. My handbag is huge for normal circumstances, but I can fit an A4 folder for model release forms as well as my camera, 2 lenses, and a reflector inside without struggling at all. This really helps because it’s comfortable to carry and doesn’t look like an obvious target for anyone looking to grab a tourist camera. It also means I’m only carrying one bag, instead of a second camera bag.
Alright, a handbag might still look a bit odd for male photographers (if you’re not embracing your inner Harry Styles and throwing gender norms to the wind). But in that case, you could still use a simple messenger bag which will not look out of place.
2. Know your needs. I don’t always carry my flashgun, for example, and I never have more than 2 lenses with me. I know what I’m going to do for the shoot and therefore I know what I need to use. Too many new or hobby photographers carry around huge lenses for no reason. My 50mm rarely comes off the camera because I don’t need to use other lenses in my normal day-to-day shoots.
3. Cut down more. Even when you have what you think are your photoshoot essentials, you can probably cut down more. Do you really need a heavy battery pack on your DSLR? I have never once run out of battery, even when I spent 3 days continuously shooting. Your standard battery is probably good enough if you’re not using live shooting modes that keep your LCD screen on. Are you really going to need a reflector? If I’m in a location where there won’t be room to use it, I don’t bring it. You don’t need a tripod for shooting on location. Most of the time you won’t even be allowed to use it. You don’t need all those little extras and accessories either.
Really look at what you have in your bag and be brutal. If it’s only something you ‘might possibly be able to use’, and not a ‘need’, leave it behind.
4. Upload later. It’s possible to get the photos uploaded to the cloud right away, and you can take a laptop to sit and edit on the train. Or you can spend the time doing something else and just edit when you’re home. I don’t carry bulky equipment like a laptop – I just plan to edit later. At the most I’ll bring my tablet for emailing, reading, and entertaining myself in the gaps between shoots, but a phone is usually enough. This also holds my portfolio, so there’s no need for prints. And you certainly don’t need bulky cables used for connecting your laptop and camera, or a card reader, or any other associated ephemera.
That’s it! At the end of the day, travelling light is about reducing the essentials down to what will actually be the essentials. You may be surprised to find what you do and don’t actually need.
Having trouble deciding? Try this trick: on your next shoot, take a pack of sticky tabs (normally used for bookmarking pages) with you. Every time you use an item, put a tab on it. When you get home, you’ll know which items were just dead weight.
Find more of Rhiannon’s work by following her on Twitter or Instagram @rhiannondaverc.