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Traveling with your photo equipment can be stressful but if you take some preventative steps before you leave you can set your mind at ease.

Avoiding Theft

This is the most extreme outcome when it comes to carting around your gear. Follow these guidelines so that you can protect yourself from sticky fingers.

1. Get Insurance

When the majority of your livelihood is dependent upon your photography equipment, it’s a must to have it insured. Most insurance policies cover theft as well as damage.

2. Use Multiple Camera Cards

Memory cards are one of the most affordable staples of any photographer’s tool kit. Travel with multiple cards so that not all of your images are on one card. If you’ve brought along a laptop, download to your computer often and upload to a cloud storage service. If not, rotate the cards after so many pictures and then store them in different places in your bags. 

3. Grab an External Hard Drive 

Like flash cards but bigger in both terms of size and space, external hard drives will keep a copy of all of the files stored on your computer but can be kept separately from the computer you use for your work. Keeping a backup is always a good idea not only when traveling but it will also protect your work from corrupt cards (for the most part), internal hard drive crashes, or any other accidents that may happen to your work computer. Some good advice to adhere to “if your data is not backed up in three different places that it’s not that important to you.”

Flying the Friendly Skies

Traveling light is key, so pack only necessities and pay close attention to your camera bag at all times.

4. Ship Ahead of Time 

If you are going on a fairly big project, this is a good option. You are only permitted one carry on bag and that should contain anything valuable (a couple of your cameras, some lenses, and chargers). Tripods can’t be carried on and anything that can easily be replaced should go in your checked bag. Collapsible backdrops are your best photo backdrop option for traveling, and any backgrounds and lighting equipment should be packed in a carry case.

See more: What Backdrops are Best for Traveling?

Going through Security

Airport security is pretty easy on camera equipment, especially if it’s in a case. Occasionally you might be asked to open it but most of the time it goes through the x-ray machine with out any problems.

5. Pack Organized

Make sure that your camera equipment is packed in a way that can be easily inspected in the chance that you are asked to open the bag for a closer look. That means the camera cards are removed and kept in small clear containers, lenses are separated from camera bodies and safely placed in lens bags and the camera is in a place where it can easily be removed.

Research Your Destination

This is an extremely important part of traveling for a photographer but often it falls to the backs of their minds. Generally, people become quite wary of someone with a camera especially in the age of terrorism. Avoid any unforeseen problems by familiarizing yourself with the laws and customs of where you plan to shoot along with weather patterns.

6. Have Your Papers In Order

Make sure you keep your passport up to date and have all of the visas you need before your trip. Send a copy of your itinerary with to a friend or relative before you leave. It’s also good to check in with the local US embassy outpost and give them a copy as well.

7. Study the Culture

Some cultures believe a photograph can steal a soul. Make sure you’ll be shooting in a country or city that welcomes your craft. If you’re not already fluent in several languages brush up on your foreign language skills. A pre-packaged course like Rosetta Stone will give you the basics to navigate your way around. 

Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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