I’ve been contracting with Twitter throughout the year and what I’ve learned is how to pack my luggages with gear efficiently.
Yes, my check-in bag is overweight at 91lbs (42kg) but it contains all I need in one bag. And why one? My other hand is on my carry-on that contains my camera, lenses, and monitor/recorder. So while I can split my check-in bag into two to be under the usual 50lb/luggage requirement, one luggage simply takes up less space, makes traveling on foot easier managing 2 rolling bags instead of 3 and I can work on my squats when loading to a car.
Here’s how I would used to travel for work when I need to bring grip (light stands, tripods) & lighting:
And here’s how I now pack with two luggages:
I’m not sponsored by Away (but hi Jen Rubio!) but I decided to get them solely because of their lifetime warranty. Traveling with heavy gear is probably not what they’re meant for but luggages take a beating when checked-in and if they do happen to break (or crack in my case), I have the peace of mind of being able to replace it (I’ve replaced it once and it was painless).
What makes traveling like this possible now are the LED light panels. They’re powerful and so light that they don’t require heavy c-stands.
Here’s the advantages of using luggage as a camera/grip bag:
They have SPINNERS — they make the difference when hauling heavy gear for long walks (airport to curb for pickup, hotel lobby to room, getting lost while finding the actual location for shooting)
They’re cheaper than actual camera bags (plus, the only two companies to my knowledge that have spinners are ThinkTank and Manfrotto)
They have more space — there’s two halves to a luggage with the same exact volume/space.
Fully customizable — I just use leftover camera bag dividers for padding
In the photo above, I’m able to fit all of this below:
Sony FS5 (A Cam)
Sony A7III (B Cam)
Sigma 18–35 + 50–100mm
Atomos Shogun Inferno (2x)
Misc (batteries, chargers, Giottos rocket air blower, Smallrig components [15mm rails, lens support bracket, handgrip relocator to convert rig to shoulder mount, shoulder mount cushions])
Lights: Westcott FLEX LEDs (4 total) + Cine frames (what makes the bag heavy are these which are metal tubes that connect to hold up the flexible LED mats) 1x2' daylight 1x1' daylight (2x) 1x1' bicolor
Diffusion: Westcott 4x4' scrim for diffusion + included diffusion panels for 1x1s
Stands: Matthews MERF Mini Extendable Reverse Stands (5x)
Depending on what I’m shooting, I’ve been able to customize what I need to bring. I recently covered an event for Facebook and brought my usual Sony FS5 that I interchanged a 70–200mm and 18–35mm lens along with a Sony A7III with a 28mm on a gimbal:
I’ve also used my luggage to pack for photoshoots. Recently,I did work for DoorDash to shoot in SF, LA and Chicago and here’s what I brought on my carry-on:
If you’re a photographer/cinematographer, I hope this sheds some light on how to creatively pack for your next shoot. If you’re not, I hope it still inspires you to creatively use something built for one purpose for another.
And oh, if you’re wondering where I pack my clothes and toiletries, it’s in my Wandrd Prvke 31 backpack. These shoots are only 3 nights max so there’s plenty of space for another of pants, a couple shirts and another jacket/sweater.
This is what’s in my luggage when I’ve shot Sophie Turner, Dwyane Wade & Alicia Keys.