When I show up to shoot an event with my 34 pound backpack plus light stands and belt pack I wonder whatever happened to the days when taking pictures meant heading out with nothing but my camera. Now it takes me 10-12 minutes just to get setup for most shoots. The problem is that the more I learn about photography the more gear I want to get, which means there is more stuff I’ve got to schlep around with me. Eventually I outgrew my Jansport backpack that I had been using for just about everything since third grade. I remedied this by getting the ThinkTank Airport Antidote backpack which I’ve blogged about before.
While the backpack is perfect for carrying everything from my studio to another location and back, it’s completely impractical to use during a shoot. Personally I group photo bags into one of two categories: transporting or shooting. The backpack clearly falls under the first category where durability, space, and weight are primary concerns. For shooting however, I need a bag that is accessible, comfortable, and snug. You’ll notice “stylish” isn’t exactly on that list… Personally, I prefer the ThinkTank Pro Speed Belt.
The belt itself is just that. A belt. But when you trick it out with some modular pouches it becomes a fanny pack on steroids that will have all the ladies wanting you.
The beauty of it is that all of the weight you are used to carrying around your neck and shoulders is now spread around your hips. Everything is close to your body, so you can run at full speed without worrying about your stuff banging around. Everything is easily accessible –no more digging around in the abyss of your messenger bag for that memory card– and often times that can mean the difference between getting the shot or missing the moment. I’ve been using my belt for over two and a half years now, and I’d be hard pressed to come up with a better solution for event photographers. If you find yourself looking for a better way to consolidate and access your gear while shooting, I suggest you give the belt a try.
P.S. The belt is also great for hiking. I usually strip it down until it’s just the belt and camera holster. It protects the camera and makes it easily accessible. I recently climbed Old Rag with it and I had zero complaints.
*I’m not affiliated with ThinkTank Photo in any way. They simply make good products that make my job easier, so I’m happy to talk about them.