When has it been the last time you have packed your gear for a destination boudoir photography session? Or more easily, when has it been the last time you packed your full gear for a location shoot? Last week we wrote about our last Destination Boudoir Photography Experience in Venice. As promised, I will dig deeper in the elements that are important if you want to become a destination photographer. This week I will start discussing equipment and the importance of traveling light.
Being in Italy last week was a lesson for Faby and me. From the moment we landed to the moment we come back home, it rained. In Venice, we were welcomed by “Acqua Alta“, so moving around with a lot of gear has been a little bit of a trouble! We live, we learn. We have decided that for the next destination boudoir photography session we will travel light. Much lighter.
The equipment you need
What are the gear you want to bring with you on location? A camera, a spare body, few lenses, batteries and spare batteries, cards, battery chargers, a reflector, lights, a laptop, spare batteries, card reader. What else? Considering that Fabiana and I shoot at the same time, you can understand that the sum of this gear can be quite heavy.
Working as Destination Boudoir Photographers, we understood that some tradeoffs are needed in order to live better. I would never compromise on certain elements, as the spare body, but there are things that were redundant or simply too big to be brought around.
Something not everyone may realise is that you want your gear always with you. When you fly, you want all your gear in your handbag. This may complicate things, but would you really let anyone throw your $5k equipment into a plane?
What we will change for the next Destination Boudoir Photography Session
We had with us more than fifteen kilos of equipment in total, which was too much. Let’s see what we will do next time.
- First and foremost I would love to ditch Canon completely. I have already done the switch, but Faby is still not entirely convinced by the Fuji X. Cameras are lighter, lenses are lighter, quality is the same (if not better).
- Foldable reflector instead of a California Sunbounce. Yes, for how much we love our California Sunbounce Mini Zebra, airport check-in is tough. It is long and cumbersome to bring around. If you work on location, you can accept some limitations, and bringing a 5in1 foldable reflector is much more convenient.
- No stands for the led light. To boost the light when the sun is not strong enough, or when the location is too dark, we use the Rosco Litepad. Daylight balanced, light and portable as it can be, next time I will make sure that our Makeup Artist will hold the light instead of having a tripod plus the light mount.
These may look small changes, but they will save us six to eight kilos and a huge bag. Less is more!
How the switch from Canon to Fuji is impacting this
I have already jumped away from Canon. I am a Fuji photographer, with my Fuji x100s as my primary camera and the X-Pro1 as the second body. Faby is still considering the jump, and I guess that the Fuji X-T1 will be a significant milestone for her, but at the moment she is still working with her 5D Mk II. I had less than two kilos of gears with me, Faby more than seven. You know, when you need to walk half an hour to get to your customers, you can feel those five additional kilos on your shoulders.
To me, the beauty of Fuji is that is light and portable. Destination Boudoir Photography is also this: making sure to travel light, to have all the tools you need without having the need of killing your back.
Getting around and into hotels
Another element to consider is the amount of gear you want to have on you when you go in your customers’ hotel. If both Faby and I had the Fuji X cameras and a foldable reflector, we would have fit everything in a tiny shoulder bag. Less visible, prone to fewer questions. My point is that you don’t want to have a huge neon light on top of your head saying “photographer”: I’d rather play it low.
I guess that our take is to follow the KISS principle. Travel light bring what you really need and make the most out of the elements you can find on location.