What Do I Pack For Street Photography Overseas?

Let's dive into how I mastered the art of packing for overseas street photography. Discover how I juggle gear & stay versatile while keeping things lightweight.


How do you get good at packing for street photography?

The answer is you travel a ton of miles with all the wrong sh*t for years, and even at the request of your aging back and knees — you start stripping down to what you need.

Packing for the Flight

I wanted to build a solution where I could travel with no checked luggage for street photography overseas, and I think I've finally landed on something that works well.

I have the Monos Carry-On Plus with two Peak Design packing cubes in the main compartment. The medium cube houses two cameras and four lenses covering all the street work I would expect to capture. Even with my gear packed, there's plenty of space to house batteries, chargers, storage, cleaners, and cards.

The smaller cube gets designated for lighting. I can fit a Profoto A10x or A2, power, and a few modifier options here. You never know what environment you might find yourself in and who you may be photographing. A portable but versatile lighting solution can open a ton of latitude, and I'll take this over a third camera on any trip.

The other half of this carry-on can house about a week's essentials and, importantly, a fisherman's vest. If I need to cut the weight of this bag at the airport, I can throw this vest on and just pack in a few bodies, lenses, and batteries to keep it moving.

Along with this carry-on bag, I'll take a small backpack with the other essentials like a laptop, headphones, power bank, sanitizer, and such. If I need to check in my carry-on bag, I can shift some of the pricier pieces into this backpack as needed.

Anyway, that's the how and what of my packing solution; let's look at what I carry on the streets.

Three Hours or Less

For shorter walks, I don't want a bag weighing me down. I'll have two bodies with two lenses that serve two purposes. The main camera, such as a Leica M11 with the Summicron 28mm, will have a wider perspective for busier environments. If the lighting looks slightly shifty outside, I'll swap to a lens with a wider aperture, like the Summilux 35mm.

This camera is pretty much glued to the wrist and what'll see most of the photography reps. If you're curious about the accessories and specifics around my particular M11, check out my long-term review for more details.

The second camera body I've adopted is the Leica SL2-s , and you're probably wondering, why the f*ck do you carry two cameras? Wouldn't that make you stick out even more? Wouldn't that weigh you down over time? Aren't you concerned about being targeted? The answer is yes, yes, and yes.

But the opportunity to quickly capture a tighter portrait or environmental video with this camera is just too tempting an offer to turn down. I'll have the Summilux 35 or SL 50mm APO attached to this camera and swap it in when I want to capture a more intentional shot. This camera is also incredible for video, and I often use it to document the space instead of using my phone, an easy habit to develop that'll pay off way more in the future.

Outside of the two cameras, I'll shove a few more things in my pocket:

  • iPhone
  • Cleaning cloth
  • AirPods Pro
  • Magnetic battery from Anker
  • Wallet + local currency, of course
  • What if I'm going to be out for more than three hours?
  • The Marathon

If it's a long adventure, I'll take a backpack. Here, I'll house my second camera with a more versatile lens. The Vario-Elmarit 24-90mm is an incredibly flexible option for changing environments. I'll also carry some water, extra batteries, a cleaning solution, and a lighting solution.

While heavier, the uncertainty and excitement of a long shoot day demand a bit more preparation. You never f*cking know what'll happen, who you'll meet, and what you'll experience. So a more involved carry is something that I've just grown accustomed to for longer days.

That's A Wrap!

And there you have it. That's a rundown of what I pack for street photography overseas, what I carry with me on any given day, and the reasoning behind it all.

See you next time! GB

This article was originally shared on the Church & Street Foto Club, a bi-monthly publication around street photography, travel, self-discovery, and cameras. Visit www.churchxstreet.com and get a new story in your inbox every other week for free.

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