After sixteen years of marriage, I’ve decided to stop fighting certain battles with Brian. One of those battles is how we should or shouldn’t pack things. And for good reason; Brian thinks spatially with strategy in mind. When we set out to travel with all our camera gear, we need some serious spatial strategizing! When I asked him if he had a few tips to offer up on how to pack your camera bag, he looked at me as if I was nuts. Not just a few tips people, Brian has 8 tips on how to best pack your camera bag! Be prepared for your next family vacation, photo shoot or special event by using these eight tips to set you and your camera gear up for success! Watch a quick and fun 40 second video on my blog to see Brian demonstrate packing our camera bags! We used Lowepro bags for our Egypt trip!
8 Tips for How to Best Pack Your Camera Bag, from Brian
1. Customize Your Camera Bag 1 of 8
Don't wait until the night before your trip or an event to pack your new camera bag for the first time. Most camera bag compartments are adjustable using Velcro to connect the pads. Once you know what gear you plan to use, customize your camera bag's compartments to best carry and protect your gear.
2. Create a Snug, Glove Fit. 2 of 8
Your gear should fit in your camera bag like your hand fits in a glove. Lens and camera bodies should not wobble around when you shake your camera bag.
3. Limit One Piece of Equipment Per Padded Compartment. 3 of 8
You don't want your equipment's metal, glass, or hard plastics to smash up against each other when you move your bag around. To avoid this, limit one piece of equipment per padded compartment.
4. Consider Two Camera Bags 4 of 8
Me Ra and I have more than one camera bag for all the gear we need when shooting or filming. I setup our camera bags to carry equipment in groups. This way we don't always need to take all of our gear with us everywhere we go.
My rule of thumb for clustering/distributing our gear per bag;
Bag 1: 1 body and 2 lenses
Bag 2: 2 bodies and 3 lenses
5. Resist Reinventing the Wheel 5 of 8
Once my bags are customized I rarely re-customize the compartments again. The only reason why I adjust the individual compartments is if the size of my equipment changes. The creative process of filming takes demands all my attention; I don't want to miss a single second dealing with gear — especially when I'm working with cantankerous subjects like these!
6. Packing Batteries, Chargers, Flashes, Memory Cards, Wires, Me Ra’s Lip Gloss, and ALL other small things we may need 6 of 8
What about all that other little stuff we like to bring along in our camera bags? Don't just stuff them in pockets of space with your lens/camera. It looks messy, can give the wrong first impression if you are meeting a new client, and is much better kept in the side zip pockets.
7. External Flashes 7 of 8
Pack your flashes the same way you pack lenses and camera bodies, snug fit. (No photo of external flashes, but you get the point.)
8. Conserve Your Creative Energy 8 of 8
Save your creativity for your travel, picture taking, photo shoots with clients or special events by keeping your camera bag packed the same way. For example, I learned quickly to keep all our batteries in the same outside pocket versus throwing some in three different places. Decide on your assigned spots and then put each of your accessories in the same place every time.
I leave you with a common scenario that happened one to many times in our beginning days of shooting... Your shoot is going amazing, but you realize you need to change your battery or replace your SD card before it's full. You run to your camera bag to swap these things out, but you can't remember which of the ten pockets you put your charged batteries in THIS time. For every pocket you search, your stress doubles because your child is going to become unengaged or your family is running out of patience or your clients energy is fading 10% for every extra second you take.
Moral of the story: The camel is NOT going to wait for you! (the photo Me Ra was taking from Step
Pick specific pockets for your accessories and use those same pockets for the same reason every time.
Me Ra and Brian are visual storytellers that have photographed and filmed around the world. Their work has hung in The Natural History Museum in NYC, as well as being featured in The New York Times, countless magazines, and popular talk shows.
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*To see more videos with fun photo tips, see my Disney Junior show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh