When a photographer leaves the safety and security of the studio and goes on location, they need to start packing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re slinging gear into the back of a Land Rover or a baggage handler is stuffing it inside a Airbus, you need tough dependable bags and cases that are up to the job. Bags and cases must protect your gear but what else do you need?
Fast set-up. Upon arriving at the location, it’s critical that you easily and conveniently be able to get to everything inside inside the case because you can never be too organized for a location shoot.
Comfort. Make sure the bag is comfortable when packed. Ergonomic carrying options, such as handles and harnesses, can reduce the fatigue of carrying a lot of equipment. The most overlooked feature is the shoulder strap. Many are designed to look good but how well do they stay on your shoulder when the case is loaded?
Capacity. Some photographers have a habit of overloading cases. One of the most overlooked features in selecting a bag is how much weight each bag can carry? Don’t overload it! Remember you have to be able to pick it up.
Organization. How many different ways can your case be configured? A photographer should be able to move every divider inside the case to customize the interior for the equipment needed for a shoot.
Portability. The photographer’s away-from-home base must be mobile. Maybe you need a rolling case, like Think Tank Photo’s Airport International V 2.0 Rolling Camera Bag.
Durability. Many photographers are hard on their cases. Think sixty pounds of gear, tossed in and out of cars, dragged up and down stairs, and flung on and off airplanes. When they fly, some photographers pack their camera bags inside luggage or hard cases. Or use Lightware’s Ugly Cases to hide and protect gear stored in hard-shelled aluminum Halliburton cases. These rugged covers zip around cases to protect them from the grime and scratches of travel. Best of all, they will disguise cases from potential thieves.
Details. The final decision to select a particular case may boil down to the finishing details. Silent zipper pulls, which are great for when everyone is listening and watertight zippers are indispensable for when the location gets wet.
Style. May not count much but for an over-the-shoulder case, I’m loving Think Tank’s Signature 10 bag for the mirrorless cameras I take to shoot outdoor car shows and Cars & Coffee events. Read more about this bag on our sister blog Mirrorless Photo Tips.