Photography in this day and age has totally shifted. Thanks to the numerous smaller but powerful cameras, innovations have significantly taken the bulk out of photography gear and made them much more compact and portable.
And portability means having the ability to take a shot wherever you are in the world. There are various pieces of essential travel photography gear that professional or hobby photographers both need. But figuring out how to carry it all without breaking one’s back is another skill.
At Tenikle, we’re all about making it easier for you to be on-the-go. We’ll guide you through how to pack lightly when it comes to travel photography gear and some great gear to add to one’s collection.
Check out more of our Tenikle products to take photos while traveling light.
Why packing light helps with photography.
Set up and tear down is easier
It’s faster to set up and tear down gear when you don’t have too much of it. This is especially crucial if you have a great shot that must be captured within a certain time frame. Some examples of this are a beautiful sunset or an animal in motion, or even a very important person making a brief public appearance.
Minimal gear is discrete, allowing the photographer to capture people or images without drawing attention to themselves. In some cases, this is crucial. If you’re capturing an intimate moment between people or a political event, you want to appear respectful and draw as little attention to yourself as possible.
With minimal gear, it’s harder to draw attention to yourself since your backpack looks just like any other. Carrying around heavy photography equipment is physically dangerous and draws attention to the photographer, indicating that they are in possession of expensive gear. People might try to steal your equipment, and people might simply be angry that you are taking photographs. A photographer with more gear might be seen as obnoxious, whereas having fewer gear indicates a degree of politeness.
Allow solo ventures
With minimal equipment, you don’t need an assistant. That means solo ventures are easier to achieve. Hiring an assistant is expensive and sometimes time-consuming, especially if you have to direct them. But as a lone traveler, you can decide where to go at your own whim and carry the least number of equipment for the day comfortably.
Going for a solo photo trip? With the Tenikle Octopus Tripod, you can take great shots without your assistant.
Factors to consider when packing light for photography
For most photographers when packing their gear to go for a shoot, or to explore the outdoors, there can be an endless list of things to pack depending on the kind of shoot and location. To achieve the feat of packing light, especially for a shoot which is gear intensive, consider the following factors:
Portability of the equipment
It’s crucial to have gear that is highly portable because you have to haul it all over the place. Opt for the lightweight versions of tripods and cameras to lighten the load. Sometimes the weight isn’t even from the main equipment but from the accessories that accompany it. For example, a camera isn’t heavy on its own but accessories like the tripod, lenses, lights and others add significantly to your load.
Using lightweight gear
Make sure the gear is constructed from very light material. Some equipment like tripods are a fixture in every photographer’s travel kit. Investing in a lightweight tripod makes it easy to pack it because it can be put on the outside of your backpack. Also, it’s easy to move around with as you go for different shoots.
The Tenikle, for example, is an easy tripod to carry because it’s made from a bendy, stretchy mold. It can be rolled into a ball, so you won’t have to worry about fitting bulky pieces in your backpack or the danger of parts breaking. When rolled up, it can fit in your purse, jeans pocket, or the side pocket of your camera bag. As a result, you can travel lighter when going for a hike without having to miss out on epic shots. During the shoot, you can also wrap your Tenikle Octopus Tripod around your wrist for long periods, leaving you free to enjoy the outdoors and without fatigue.
Limiting the number of accessories
An intensive photoshoot requires professional gear. But that doesn't mean that you have to pack all of your accessories for it. For example, a photographer should invest in a couple of lenses with at least one that can be used for several shots. This is one that will make your packing lighter as you can take it only and lessen the load by not carrying others. At the very most, take two for versatility in your shots. Limiting the number of accessories you take with you means excluding as much as you can without compromising the overall shoot.
Choosing a roomy backpack
You should be able to pack all your gear in one backpack so choose one with a lot of room, compartments and pockets. Not only will it conveniently swallow all your gear, you’ll also have all your essentials in one place. It will become your one stop photography center for the duration of the shoot. Plus, you can keep it with you all the time to ensure your gear is safe. However, make sure your backpack is not too big. Again, it’s not a good idea to draw too much attention to yourself.
The best lightweight gear for photography in 2019
Let’s go over some key lightweight travel photography gear that are a must buy:
A head strap
A head strap for your camera is an excellent way to keep photographing action shots like those captured during extreme sports and it leaves your hands free to do other things. This is a lightweight piece of equipment that you can fit into your bag without taking up much room.
The AmazonBasics head strap mount is an excellent option that is GoPro compatible. It’s perfect for recording action during sports like surfing and skiing among others. The quality is top-notch and it's easy to wear on the head.
A hard drive
This is a piece of very light equipment, but essential to keeping your photos safely stored. It's always a good idea to have a backup for your work and in this case, an external hard drive works very well. It’s a nightmare when your camera is stolen, but imagine it being stolen with all your work on it without any back up. An external hard drive doesn’t take up much room and is barely there in terms of weight.
The best external hard drive that comes highly recommended is the SanDisk Extreme external hard drive. Not only is this a very travel-friendly unit, it’s an SSD drive meaning it has no moving parts which make it compact and less likely to suffer damage during constant travel. It’s also dust-resistant, waterproof, shock resistant and consume low power as well.
Opt for one camera that you can use for various shoots. Of course, the chances of it malfunctioning are there,but the odds of that happening are low. In that case, you can simply buy a disposable camera to take some unique film shots. DSLRs have become quite lightweight and they guarantee you the chances of the best shots compared to mirrorless cameras.
The Nikon D850 has stood the test of time and still remains one of the favorites when it comes to a travel camera choice. The image equality is always excellent and it has a rugged exterior that can withstand all types of weather. It comes with a 45 MP sensor, which is among the highest in a DSLR camera. There is also the mirrorless version of the Nikon D850 for those who are not fans of DSLR cameras. But the best part is that it’s easy to pack and carry around.
Necessary tool kit
In the photography travel tool kit, essentials like batteries and SD cards that take up very little room are a must. Also consider carrying a filter and a battery charger. This makes up the small tool kit you need to keep the shoot going for a day or two.
For the SD card consider the SanDisk extreme pro SD UHS-1 which has a storage capacity of 512GB. It is suitable for both photography and video recording. The best polaroid filter that’s both lightweight and efficient is the Hoya Alpha Circular polarizer filter which is made of optical glass and features aluminum frames. It provides up to four times the filter factor of other filters and guarantees excellent outdoor results. It’s the perfect option for outdoor photography.
A lightweight tripod
If you have to use a tripod or mount but can afford not to carry a conventional tripod, that would really lighten your load. The Tenikle tripod is not just effective, but it also is very easy to carry around. The Tenikle features three tentacles each fitted with suction cups. Each of the Tenikle suction cups can hold eight pounds.
For photography you can wrap the tentacles around your camera and use that as a mount. You can also attach it to a surface like a board or frame while recording yourself.
Tenikle is a multipurpose tripod that you can use in your car as a car mount for phones and tablets just as easily as you can use it as a camera mount. And that’s easy to do because you simply take it, ball it up and store it in your blazer or trousers until you have a need for it. Such convenience and versatility can’t be said for any other tripod on the face of the earth. How’s that for packing light?
Photography has become an integral part of our daily lives. We live in an era that believes in making and holding on to all memories. Packing light when it comes to photography equipment ensures that you can pick up and travel with the assurance of capturing out memories. And the best part is that you don’t have to break your back carrying your gear around. If you’re getting ready for your next photo shoot and need to pack light, don’t forget to check out our Shutterbug Kit for must-have travel gear.