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Photographer goes on holiday

How to determine your equipment needs.


Ahh finally! That day has come! You're going away on holiday. You're leaving your dark studio and computer screen behind and head to where the sun is shining. Passport - check, swimwear - check, super high factor sunscreen for you pale and daylight-forgotten face - check, camera - ??? This is where the conundrum begins. Which camera to take? Do I take the DSLR, the one I'm using at work? But than what lens? Should I take all of them? What if something happens? What if some sand will get inside? Can I just leave it the hotel room? The problem is real  and I believe many of photographers face similar kind of anxiety when it comes to packing for holiday.

Few years ago, before I started filling in my suitcase I asked myself a bunch of questions to determine my photographic equipment needs. In case you are facing the same dilemma, here is a list of ten things you should take into consideration:

1. What is a purpose of this vacation?

Decide whether you just want to relax and forget about everything, including work, or you want to stay connected to your medium. Maybe you're going there to explore new culture? Maybe it's a romantic getaway? Ask your self what is it, you want from your holiday.

2. Am I going to do any sightseeing or attend an interesting event?

If so - do I want to document it? Also think about lighting conditions you may encounter. Remember that sand and snow reflect a lot of light, and that old churches are usually darker that you'd expect. 

3. Have I been there before or am I planning to return there soon?

Perhaps you've already taken a shot of everything that was interesting there? Or maybe you will return in a different season?

4. What will my main activity be?

You'll need different equipment if you're going partying and different if you're going on a road trip. Also think about about water, sand and dust protection.

5. Will I stay in one hotel or will I travel around?

It's important to be very organised if you move a lot. It's easy to leave something behind. Always check if you've packed everything. Also remember that not every hotel has a safe.

6. What is my baggage allowance?

This seems like an obvious point, but just keep in mind that every lens is an extra weight. Decide if you want to keep your camera in your hand luggage or put it in the suitcase you check in.   

7. Is my equipment insured?

If so it's good to check if you're covered for travel and damages.

8. Do I have the right bag/backpack for my stuff?

Remember that tourist destinations are also popular with thieves. It's good to have a bag that doesn't scream there is expensive camera inside me. You can easily find something that looks just like an ordinary bag, but has special compartments for your camera and lenses. If your stuff is heavy backpacks are usually more comfortable to walk around with.

9. Who am I going with, what camera will they have?

It's not about having a better equipment than your mates, unless that's what you need, but maybe you could share some kit? Or perhaps they have a waterproof case so they can cover the underwater part of your travel?

10. Can I afford to lose it? 

Nobody likes to think about loosing their beloved camera, but hey - sh*** happens. So ask yourself if, in case you're baggage got lost, or your camera sank to the bottom of the ocean, you will be able to replace it or live without it, even for a while? It always takes time to make any insurance claim. It may not be the best idea to take the equipment that you work with or the one that has a sentimental value to it.  

Personally, I like to travel light, usually with just a cabin bag. Also I go on holiday to relax and recharge the batteries. Therefore I take a small compact camera just get some fun snaps. It's small, light, discreet and has low second hand value. One less thing to worry about. 


tags: photography, what camera, photographer's dilemma, what camera to take on holiday, travel, choosing the right camera

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