As a destination wedding photographer, you have a lot to think about. If you’re photographing a wedding 5 miles from your home, you can always have a family member bring you something if you forget it. But what about if you’re 2000 miles from home?
For many years, we traveled extensively with our wedding photography business. The first was the most difficult – what do you bring? We gradually had it down to a science, and created our own checklist that we covered every time we packed.
First, you need to have a great carryon photography suitcase that will keep all of your camera equipment safe. We always used the Porter Case hardside, which kept everything safe while you’re moving around. What’s nice about Porter Cases is they are specially made for photographers, and they section off their suitcase to keep everything safe. If you have a piece in every section, you can see with just a quick glance if anything is missing.
In today’s world, you also need a laptop and plenty of flash memory cards. With any luck, at least two of you will be traveling together, allowing you to bring two suitcases on board.
When it comes to tripods, monopods, light stands, umbrellas, etc, we would always pack those in a special hard sided luggage, and tell the airlines what you are traveling with. It’s a good idea to bring your contract with you to show where you’re going and what you’re doing. We also traveled with brochures/business cards to hand over to prove we were in business – something that’s more important now with travel security the way it is.
If you’re traveling to a large city, you may look for rental places where you can rent some of your equipment – your tripods, monopods, maybe even a lens or two. We rented quite frequently, and always had great luck. If you’re paying for extra luggage, it may be more cost effective to rent on your destination end.
And finally, learn about your flight patterns. We did a wedding in Lake Placid, New York one year that required us to fly on a very small plane into the Adirondack Regional Airport. The plane held 14 passengers – and no overhead luggage. Thank goodness they worked with us, and allowed us to place our camera bag in the on flight area reserved for flight attendants. Sometimes just talking with people and telling them your situation will get you where you need to go – with camera bag in hand!