Life of a Traveling Photographer

As some of you may know, much of my work comes from the previous city I just moved from. Since it takes about 3-5 years to establish a business and I move every 3 years, this means I travel back often! My home state, Minnesota is where I travel to most. I go back about 4x a year, luckily it's usually in the warmer months!  As much as I love to travel, by the end of a wedding season I'm completely exhausted.. from lugging around equipment.  I wish I could have one little bag but bringing all my gear has made me the obnoxious woman on the plane. How much do I pack with me to another state still depends on the session I have booked (which sometimes includes me bringing a huge backdrop, bigger lights, and even a blanket.) 

However what I always bring with is:

shown here is just the basic equipment not all the attachments and add ons, cords and bags.

shown here is just the basic equipment not all the attachments and add ons, cords and bags.

2 camera bodies- Nikon D800 and Nikon 610

4 camera lenses- 50mm 1.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, and now my new baby 85mm 1.4.

3 pocket wizards  and adapters 

Light stands and umbrellas along with attachments. 

3 Flashes /Gels for Flashes

Alien B800 and its umbrella

camera batteries, 12 battery charger, 2 camera battery chargers, extra non rechargeable batteries, 12+rechargeable batteries, pocket wizard batteries, SD and Compact Flash cards, 2 harddrives, card reader, lens cleaner, portable charger, and cords for each of those, computer. 

And then of course a bag for regular traveling items (which some of the items above take up space in. plus my supplements and workout gear) basically I'm really fun to help get my luggage around. I have 3 bags for sure, sometimes 4 and I use nifty luggage connectors so I CAN do it alone, I just look crazy and tend to sweat.

whew. so the actual traveling part is really the difficulty. then once I get to my destination all bags explode over the room but I can breathe for a moment.(although I have to constantly apologize whoever is allowing me to stay with them, since the room tends to be a bit crazy) 

My schedule for most locations include a few extra days around the sessions. I do this for a few reasons. One, I like to arrive a couple days before in case of last minute bad weather I could possibly reschedule to another day that same trip. 2- I also try to spend a little time enjoying where I am and seeing people! Although you may see me traveling and think it's easy, it's a lot of work. don't get me wrong, I love traveling and my job but when I DO travel I try to fill up a lot of time with sessions. 

So how do I do it?- I send out monthly newsletters that during the crazy summer travel months I let every one know my dates, and I also post it periodically on fb and Instagram. 

How do I know When I'll go?- The easiest answer is weddings. I have those dates usually months in advance, so because I know when I need to be there, I know around those dates are the best times to set up the other sessions. 

I try to always make the best out of each trip and am so thankful I'm able to see family often even though I'm far from them. One thing I learned long ago even before becoming a photographer was being comfortable going on adventures with myself. If I'm in a new location, I'm not going to sit around because I'm the only one, I'll go out and find people to hang out with. I go to new restaurants and to where makes me happy. Usually If it's near the water, I'll be there. And as crazy as it sounds, I've met people who I keep in touch with or even want to hire me as a photographer... just by me going out and exploring that city. 

Although what I show on social media seems glamorous and believe me, I try my best to make every destination and travel schedule seem that way.. really I'm just hoping that I get there on time, in one piece, and minimal sweating.


A side note: I finally got my passport, so I'm up for traveling out of the U.S. WINK.

Keep Shining and if you see me struggling with my luggage, I'd absolutely love your help and maybe even a ride. :)

Shanna Star