Transporting Equipment in Comfort
Wedding photographers carry a lot of gear. Multiple lenses, camera bodies, flashes and accessories are all part of the wedding professional’s kit. It‘s cumbersome (and risky) to try to balance the heft and awkward bulk of your equipment without the right carrying case. The most useful packs and tool belts are available in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, whether you book weddings across the country, across the county or across the street.
Backpacks offer photographers a lot of flexibility, accessibility and comfort, which can help alleviate some of the strain and fatigue caused by a long day of shooting weddings. Being unbalanced or uncomfortable can result in dropped equipment, so it’s important to have it secured on your person as you move from place to place.
Interchangeable attachments, such as tripod straps and waist harnesses, add an element of customization. Lowepro’s DSLR Video Fastpack 350 AW carries up to one DSLR body with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens attached, plus two additional lenses and a wireless flash. A top-loading pouch also enables you to fit a 17” laptop in the event that you’ll need your computer with you. This pack also features side access to its compartments, which makes for smoother use and switching of gear. The slightly larger Lowepro Pro Runner 350 AW Backpack will hold an additional two or three lenses and a multitude of small accessories, but doesn’t offer as much room for a laptop (only notebooks up to 15”). A heavily padded interior protects equipment, while thickly padded shoulder straps make for a very comfortable carry. Similar to the Pro Runner 350 is Think Tank’s StreetWalker HardDrive. Apart from holding the same amount of gear, it comes with lockable zippers (you’ll just need a padlock), removable rain cover and a business-card pocket, right beneath the grab handle. Considering the networking opportunities a wedding presents, business cards absolutely should be easily accessible.
Most wedding professionals bring along more than one DSLR body. Bags such as the Tamrac Evolution 9 Photo/Laptop Sling Backpack will hold two cameras, a handful of lenses and flashes, and a 17.3” laptop. Dual side access plus the ability to use both straps or just one in a sling style work to complement a personalized shooting style. This added organization is always useful on a quick-paced, long day of work. The Gura Gear Kiboko 22L+ Backpack is similar in size to the Tamrac, and will also allow a MacBook up to 17”.
If you book a lot of weddings out of town, you may want to invest in a dedicated rolling travel case. You can’t beat the security and protection they offer, if easy access to your gear isn’t of primary importance. While fairly similar across the board, many are available to fit your specific needs and price range. The Think Tank Airport TakeOff and Airport International V 2.0 rolling camera bags can each hold two DSLRs, a handful of various lenses and most 15” laptops. The TakeOff sports tuck-away backpack straps that can be quickly deployed from a rear panel. The Airport Security V 2.0 stows up to three DSLRs, seven lenses, most 15 and 17” laptop cases and two flashes. Straps on the Security V 2.0 can also convert it to a backpack for more temporary situations, such as crossing wet, dirty or rugged terrain.
Lowepro also has two rolling cases on the market with hide-away backpack straps: the Pro Roller x200 and Pro Roller x300. The x300 is the larger of the two, with capacity for two DSLRs, eight to ten lenses and a 17” laptop. Hide-away prop stands stabilize the bags while leaning at a 30-45° angle. For a more lightweight alternative, the Pro Roller Lite 150AW stores two cameras, three to four lenses, a flash and your 11” laptop or tablet.
Tamrac’s 5797 Evolution Speed Roller Backpack is yet another option for those who prefer having the choice between rolling or carrying their pack. Its deployable harness straps tuck away when not in use. Two DSLRs, several lenses, a 15” laptop and miscellaneous flashes and smaller accessories can fit in this pack. If you prefer a more standard rolling case, the 5591 SpeedRoller 1x Big Wheels will hold around the same amount of equipment. A bigger version of this case, the 5592 SpeedRoller 2x Big Wheels, fits two professional camera bodies, up to seven lenses and a 17” laptop.
Exchange Cases and Bags
To focus primarily on switching between glass in the field, exchange bags and cases can be worn slung over the shoulder or around the waist. They keep your lenses within arm’s reach, and protected, in designated pouches. Lowepro offers two around-the-waist cases, the S&F Lens Exchange Case 100AW and S&F Lens Exchange Case 200AW. The100AW will hold one wide-angle lens with the hood reversed (such as a 14-24mm f/2.8 or 16-35mm f/2.8). The larger 200AW fits up to one 70-200mm f/2.8, also with the hood reversed. Both come with optional detachable shoulder straps, for extra stability, and mesh side pockets for caps or filters. An extra folding pouch on each case will hold an additional lens when fully opened, allowing you to execute one-handed exchanges quickly.
The Think Tank Retrospective 10 Shoulder Bag (available in black, blue slate and pinestone gray) has a classy and understated design that draws less attention than some of its bulkier counterparts. It stores up to three 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses and a DSLR, with additional pockets and organizers for batteries, pens, business cards and memory cards. It also boasts sound silencers beneath the main flap, so you won’t interrupt toasts or heartfelt moments with the distracting ripping sound of touch fasteners. For another solution, the Shootsac Lens Bag stores between three-six lenses or flashes and accessories in easy access neoprene pockets. An interchangeable cover flap even shields the tell-tale shapes of lenses from public view to keep them inconspicuous while you're on the go.
Straps give you the freedom to move around quickly with your DSLR securely tethered to your person. This is ideal for shooting candids while walking around a reception, or any other situation where you won’t need all your other gear immediately at hand. The BlackRapid RS-Sport Extreme Sport Strap is a durable tool that allows you to slide the camera up and down a strap to shoot. An underarm safety tether reinforces stability as it’s worn on the body. BlackRapid’s slightly smaller RS-W1 Camera Strap is designed specifically for female shooters, and sports a floral lace pattern. It disperses the weight of your DSLR evenly, keeping it balanced at the hip or small of your back when not in use. The BlackRapid RS DR-1 Double Strap is more of a harness-type apparatus that straps across the shoulders, allowing you to carry up to two cameras. It can also be worn under a jacket.
If you prefer to have your DSLR secured at the hip instead of over the shoulder, you can invest in a holster. Holsters, like straps, are another great way to keep mobile during a wedding. The Spider Camera Holster SpiderPro Single Camera System will hold one five-pound DSLR and lens at the waist with a plate-and-pin locking system. The plate fits into your camera’s tripod mount, and an attached ball-headed pin slides into a lockable, quick-release holster. For the wedding photographer who carries more than one DSLR, the SpiderPro Dual Camera System from Spider Camera Holster will secure two camera bodies and lenses. Distributing weight evenly at the hip can ease back and shoulder discomfort.
You may want to consider a dolly for carting around heavy cases of equipment, such as the Wesco Mini Mover Folding Handtruck. This will obviously eliminate back strain, as well as give you a tool for moving things carefully up or down flights of stairs. Look for hand trucks with larger, shock-absorbing wheels.
To learn more about efficient, comfortable transport options, speak with a B&H sales professional in our New York SuperStore, over the phone at 1-800-606-6969 or online via Live Chat.