When shopping for carrying gear, you’re going to want a bag or case that will hold two to three camera bodies and at least four to five lenses; and also possibly—if you’re not packing them separately—one or more of flashguns, meters, battery packs and other accessories.
Whatever your preference, you’ll get all the same benefits from padded pouches and pockets, which offer easy access and highly facilitate lens, battery and memory card swaps. Also, do keep in mind—if you’re like most photographers, you’ll invariably be tossing last-minute doodads into your bag, and as such you should consider a bag one size up from the one you think is big enough.
In addition to ample compartments, you’ll also want a comfortable non-slip strap as well as lids and pocket covers that easily open and close and that also protect your gear from bumps and difficult weather.
Sling and holster-style bags are designed specifically to carry a camera and lens and not much more. As for hard cases and photo backpacks, which are primarily for getting your gear to your destination and back securely, you should consider the number of cameras, lenses and accessories you plan on packing.
There are, however, a number of bags and cases that lend themselves particularly to wedding photography. An excellent example are rolling cases, also known as “wheelies”, which make transporting bulky lighting and photo gear easier and more tolerable.
If you plan on flying with your gear you should be aware of TSA regulations. Be advised that most TSA standards are based on the size of overhead bins found on larger aircraft. If your job takes you to locales serviced only by smaller aircraft, you may have to check your cargo regardless of what your bag’s hangtag says. In such instances, hard rolling cases can save the day.
Rolling cases are available in a huge selection of types, including rolling backpacks, soft-sided wheelies and injection-molded hard cases that are both watertight and strong enough to withstand possible mishandling. Rolling cases, for both camera and lighting gear, with padded or divided interior spaces, are manufactured by Tenba, Tamrac, Porter, Pelican, Lightware, Lowepro and HPRC, to name several. For those who prefer the option of strapping their gear onto their backs, B&H also stocks a number of backpack-style wheelies that offer you the dual option of rolling or hoisting your gear.
Many of the abovementioned camera cases, bags and backpacks are available with padded slots for laptops and tablets.
If your current lighting system wasn’t supplied with a dedicated travel case, you might want to consider a Tenba PAT Padded Armored TriPak, featuring reinforced and padded outer skin and available in 44 and 50-inch lengths.
What’s unique and special about TriPaks is that unlike open pit-style cases, the TriPak unzips to reveal inner walls covered with slots and pouches that you can use for stands, booms, tripods and other grip-related gear. Instead of clutter, TriPaks bring order, allowing you to conveniently find what you need. Also, upon packing up at the end of a long day, you can easily identify which accessories are missing by seeing which slots are empty.
To lessen the load of heavy cases and bags that don’t have wheels, we also stock a large selection of folding carts and hand trucks from companies including Remin, MultiCart, Ultimate Support, Clipper, Wesco, Odyssey Innovative Designs and Travel Smart, which includes one model that doubles as a step stool! You can use these carts and trucks even with equipment you might already own, relieving yourself and your assistant of the unnecessary load.
Do you have a favorite bag or case that goes with you to every wedding you photograph? Feel free to tell us about it, or ask questions about others, in the Comments section below.