As a professional photographer, I spend a lot of time on the road. While I live in Vienna, Austria, within the past six months alone, I've travelled to 8 different cities on both sides of the Atlantic, and will be travelling again in the very near future. While I'd love to take every camera and every lens and every piece of gear I own out on the road with me, it's simply not a possibility (or practicality). So I have a standard travel kit that I work with and thought I'd share it with you.
By and large, my Nikon D610 and D600 are the workhorses. A lot of you have seen me in action, and have asked why I carry two cameras (sometimes 3), and the answer is simple - speed. When it comes to shooting an event, conference, or wedding, moments are fleeting, and I've got to have the right lens for the right shot. I normally keep the 70-200mm zoom coupled to the D610, with the D600 holding tight to the 24-70mm. With this combination, I can go anywhere from moderately wide, to counting eyelashes, all within a matter of seconds.
Earlier this year in New York City, I picked up the Fuji X-T1 and it's become an essential part of my setup. Normally I use this camera to capture mood and atmosphere shots, and always make my first round of an event with this camera in hand. I've found the results it delivers to be nothing short of spectacular, and it also gives me the advantage of being able to walk through a crowd and not get the, "Oh, the photographer is here..." reaction that allows some great candids. Day-to-day, this camera kicks around in my sidebag and is fantastic for street photography.
As mentioned above, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 are the two lenses in my arsenal that see the most work. However, there are occasions where a few specialty lenses come in pretty handy. To augment the standard lineup, I also carry a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 for super low light situations where a flash isn't desired, and a Walimex 8mm f/3.5 fisheye for ultra-wide, dramatic shots, or a whole lot of distortion fun.
Paired to the Fuji X-T1, I have the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 that came with my X-Pro1. I've used a few of the prime lenses Fuji offers for this camera, and love them, but I often find that a zoom serves me best for the type of photography that I do. However, I do carry a Nikon to Fuji lens adaptor that allows me to use my Nikon lenses. You lose the autofocus, but still retain the ability to control the aperture. My current favorite combination is the fisheye for the X-T1.
And just for fun and creativity, I carry an Oloclip in my bag for some on-the-fly iPhonography.
Whether it's a poorly lit conference room, or an impromptu portrait session, flash is essential. And not just one. Since I carry two camera bodies with me, I've got to have two flash units ready to go. This also comes in very handy for portrait shoots as one flash serves as the might light, while the second unit is used as a fill.
I carry the Nikon SB-900 and SB-800 in my bag, powered by eneloop pro batteries. I also carry a duo of Pocketwizard Plus III's that I use as transceivers to trigger the lights. In order to position these lights, I carry two Manfrotto light stands and adaptors, as well as two Elinchrom umbrellas in a separate bag (that I often shove into the tripod section).
Rounding out the lighting section, I always carry a TTL sync cable an Ezybox Speed-Lite collapsible softbox from Lastolite. This comes in very handy when photographing people in extremely dark environments, such as a nightclub. By being able to position the light any where I want, while still retaining the TTL capabilities (and laser focus emitted by the flash unit itself), I have complete creative freedom.
I carry a MacBook Pro with me, and having recently upgraded stepped up to the retina display, a 512 GB SSD, and 16GB of ram. This is arguably the heaviest piece of gear that I have to carry, but it's absolutely necessary. I'd love to say that a MacBook Air would cut it, as the weight saving would be welcome, but the simple truth is that I can't. In the area of photography that I work in, speed counts. Before purchasing, I tested a MacBook Air, and it did run everything that I needed, however, I found it a bit sluggish when applying changes in Lightroom, and export times seemed a bit too long for my taste.
Staps, chargers, and others
A lot of you have come up to me at an event asking about my camera strap. I use the BlackRapid Double, as it's a great solution to support and protect my two camera bodies. By having both cameras are arms length, I'm able to quickly switch between the two, and have the piece of mind that they're securely fastened and aren't going anywhere.
The Fuji has a Tamrac padded leather strap that feels great and keeps me in incognito mode.
Power is essential, and I've always got to stay topped up. I carry the charger for the MacBook, the Nikons (including two extra batteries), the Fuji (battery life is great, but you never know), and the eneloop quick charger for the flash batteries. And speaking of batteries, the PocketWizards don't play nicely with rechargeable batteries, and I therefor carry a spare set of four Duracell Ultra Lithiums.
After power, memory is key, and in addition to the 5 memory cards in the 3 cameras, I also keep a two extra 8GB SanDisk ExtremePro SD cards in my bag. My rule of thumb is to have small, but fast cards. There's a number of reasons for this, but a big one is price.
In the front section of my bag, I've got the standard collection of pens, a lens pen, iPhone charging cable (including the outlet adaptor), passport, sunglasses, earbud headphones, an umbrella (I shoot in London quite a lot), and business cards. An invaluable tool that always rides in the front pocket is a small LED flashlight. This can come in handy as a light for night shots when a flash won't work, and/or finding you way through the dark of night.
Ziplock bags. A dry camera is a happy camera. I've not had too many occasions to use them, but they're watertight, and can be used to store and protect the wide variety of electronics stuffed into this bag.
And the bag itself...is a LowePro ProRunner 250. I've had this bag for over 4 years now, and it's only just beginning to show signs of wear. It more than fits airline overhead and security regulations, and has been configured and reconfigured more times than I can count.
The other others
This is the main rundown of what I'm toting on my back on any given day on a shoot, but as situations and jobs change, I'm always adjusting what's in my bag.