Photographers: Four Easy Steps to Pack Light

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Tammy Murga, Photographer / Writer

Photography is an inevitable part of traveling. Whether you’re headed to soak up some Hawaiian sun or a walk through the ancient streets of Rome, you’re bound to snap a photo. And perhaps even more evident than this is: you’ll want to pack light during your travels.

For first-time travelers, deciding what photography equipment to pack while keeping a light luggage can turn quite challenging. Here are four quick steps you can take to help ease the packing process.

  1. Do a little research

Consider examining your destination and the activities you have planned. There are many questions to ask, but perhaps one of the most important to consider is the weather. Often times when the weather is a bit unpredictable, we check our local forecast to help us decide appropriate clothing. That should also be the case for your travels and for your equipment’s safety. Though you might want to do this a couple days prior to your departure, double check your destination’s forecast to help you decide what you’ll need and what you can do without. Something as light and simple as a plastic bag can save your camera from the harshest weather. Keeping your camera in an airtight plastic bag can block away moisture from humidity, snow, rain, and even dust or other particles under windy conditions. Never underestimate the power of simplicity.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
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Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Photo by Tamara Murga

  1. Lenses

Stuck on which or how many lenses to take with you? After you’ve done your research, you’ll find this to be much easier. Take National Geographic’s Jim Richardson’s advice:

“Different types of travel require radically different equipment choices. Concentrating on the pictures instead of the equipment is the path to sanity here. If you can figure out what kind of pictures you want to take, equipment selection gets much, much easier.”

That said, consider your scenarios.

Going on a cultural excursion? Your solution: (18-55mm or 18-200mm) An all-around lens that can cover a moderate wide angle to a minor telephoto view. If you’re trying to pack light, one of these lenses can do the job.

Off to a more nature-like exploration? Your solution: (16-35mm wide-angle zoom) Depending on what you’re looking to photograph, you might want to consider adding a macro lens (60mm f/2.8) to capture as much detail as possible.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
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Yosemite Valley. Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Photo by Tamara Murga

  1. The Smaller Things Checklist

Once you thought about lenses and weather conditions, you probably found yourself thinking about a myriad amount of accessories to pack. Create a checklist of all the accessories you have and check off the essentials. For example, batteries, memory cards, a charger, and an appropriate day bag. For a lighter carry, these accessories are all you need.

  1. Journaling

Treat yourself to a nice journal and make it a practice to carry it around with you during your expeditions. When you’re out exploring new soil, your journal or journal app can be the perfect incubator for your latest ideas, reminders, checklists and more. You will be surprised how handy this can be.

Wherever you go and whatever you choose to bring along with you, remember less is more when traveling light. And most importantly, have fun. When you travel with a camera at hand, you will find out a lot about yourself and your photographic voice.

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