What’s in my camera bag for family sessions in Japan?
If you’re new here, I’m a natural light, family photographer with over 10 years of experience. My photos have been featured on the front cover of magazines, on photography displays, and in my travel book, Discover Kamakura.
When I’m getting ready for a session and packing my camera bag, I have one goal: keep it LIGHTWEIGHT. Meeting clients for sessions in a different country is so exciting. New location and different surroundings, allows a fresh perspective that is invigorating. It’s best to be prepared as much as possible while packing your camera bag and keeping it LIGHTWEIGHT. I don’t pack every lens I own. I will pack a couple lenses to offer a variety of options resulting in a complete gallery.
While living in Japan, I preferred to travel by train. That means lots of walking (which I love) and carrying unnecessary stuff adds additional weight in the camera bag. It will leave you feeling tired early!
Most session locations allows for parking nearby and some families opt to travel by car to our meeting location. I personally find it stressful to drive and park in tiny lots. By taking the train, I’m able to get to my destination on time since the trains are almost always prompt. Also, I love get embrace the vibe during the journey. It’s not everyday that I can live in Japan and feel big energy or the serenity of it’s environment en-route to a family session.
CAMERA BAG: I use two different camera bags depending on the session, location and weather. I love the Kamrette camera bag. The main compartment holds a considerable amount of camera gear, if needed. It even fits my laptop perfectly. I’ve received so many complements on this backpack. It looks and feels high end. Overall, it’s stylish.
Kamrette Backpack: https://kamrette.com/products/lyra?variant=17267671553
The other camera bag that I use is a Lowepro flip side backpack. This is extremely comfortable and also has plenty of storage space for gear and personal items. I will use this bag if I need to carry my longer lenses like the 70-200 lens. This backpack is more geared for utility and function than style.
I love have options depending on where the session is location, how much walking is involved and the weather forecast. During the rainy season, it’s also super muggy and sweaty. The material on this bag helps with those hot summer months.
Lowepro Backpack: https://a.co/d/5zz1OOK
I like this backpack because the zipper to open it is on the inside that goes against your back. The outside (that faces people) is solid fabric. I don’t have to worry about being in a crowded market and someone unzipping my camera bag and taking something without me knowing. It can’t happen because I would literally have to take the backpack off to unzip it.
TRAIN PASS: Easy to get at any train station Kiosk. Easy to add yen for the balance too.
HAND TOWEL: Most of the public bathrooms in Japan don’t have paper hand towels or air dyers. Everyone carries a small hand towel to dry hands. Most convenience stores carry cotton hand towels. They are inexpensive and easy to find.
LENS:Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. My “work horse” lens. People often ask me “if you could only have one lens for portraits, what would it be?” Without question, the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. The 24-70mm zoom ranges gives you a ton of versatility for shooting portraits or group shots. Whether you’re zoomed in or out, you can always stay at the f/2.8 aperture for what I call a “butter, blurry background.”
Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 . Prime, fixed lenses are my love language. I love the bokeh of the prime lenses especially with a Sigma. You can’t go wrong.
MEMORY CARDS: Memory cards are important, but FAST memory cards are even more vital. Have you ever sat down to move your images from the card to the computer and felt like it took forever? Or even worse, have you ever been shooting and had the camera stall on you? You thought you bought a fast camera, but it can’t keep up?! Sometimes this is because your memory card is too slow. A lot of people don’t even know about the speed factor when buying memory cards. They’re often price shopping instead. Next time you purchase a memory card, make sure the speed is high! It will often say on the front of the card and packaging.
MEMORY CARD HOLDER: I like to keep extra memory cards with me. This cute little pouch shaped as an onigiri (Japanese rice ball) is the perfect carrier. You can find more from this Japanese company called B-side Label.
MASK: While taking public transportation in Japan, masks are required. Recently, Japan dropped its outdoor mask mandate, however, most locals still wear them.
AIRPODS: I like to listen to music while on the train. 🙂
You can see, I try to keep things light and simple! I hope that these tips helped you organize and prep for your next session!
If I’m traveling overnight I will bring my MacBookPro and my external HD (LaCie) for easy uploading and editing while on the go!
**I am not paid in any way for these products that I use.