But What if I Bring the Wrong Gear?

Bringing the wrong gear is just one of the weird things we stress out about when it comes to the idea of photographing new places. It's not the only one. The fear of photographing people or the worry about missing out on something can be tough, and how we respond to those fears can sabotage our photography.

If this series of videos has been helpful to you and you want to go deeper with your travel photography, consider enrolling in The Traveling Lens. Enrollment opens next Sunday but only for 6 days, ending at 11:59pm on January 26th, 2024 and then won't be offered again. If you've ever wanted to enroll in this course, now is the last chance it will be offered. 

Filmed in Varanasi, India, The Traveling Lens is my shot at taking the intense and intimate experience of one of my international workshops, and making it available to you no matter where you are, without you having to get on a plane to do it. I filmed it in India but it's about making stronger photographs of places no matter where you are. This 20-lesson course is going to blow you away and it's going to give you new depth, insight, and focus, as well as renewed creative freedom, as you photograph the amazing places to which you travel.

For several years I made my living entirely on travel and humanitarian assignments, and over the years developed an approach that has worked powerfully for me, and for my students when the priority is to make a series of strong photographs in a place in which we often have little time and a good chance of not being able to come back for do-overs. Hitting the ground running, overcoming fears and creative blocks, and learning how discover a theme and work within our constraints is far more important than choosing the right travel tripod or some of the other things about which photographers obsess.  I'd love to explain more about the course and all the features and benefits - take a moment to check it out here at TheTravelingLensCourse.com. Enrollment opens soon.

For the Love of the Photograph,

David duChemin

PS - If you missed the first and second videos, check them out here.


  1. A good review… As I prepare to travel to Oaxaca in about a month I have been attempting to learn a few greetings in Nahuatl, the cultural language and more personal than just Spanish… Thanks for the advice

  2. There is lots of wisdom in this video. I had a load of gear, two Nikon bodies and a multitude of lenses. Two years ago I downsized to a Leica body and two lenses, 50mm and 35mm. Generally I only use the 50mm lens, the simplicity is just marvellous and allows you to just focus on taking photographs. It was the best move I ever made.

  3. Hi, David
    Thank you for always inspiring reflections. Thank you for inviting me to the course, unfortunately, due to certain personal conditions, I cannot take out the course. I can assure you that I am always waiting for your new tips and tricks. Just like that, I’m a fan of David.
    Regards and a lot of health to you.

  4. Two thumbs up on your recent set of 3 vids David. If I had more thumbs, they’d be up too.

  5. David, thank you for this very inspiring video. I saw myself in it and can therefore fully appreciate your point of view.

    This came as opportune time for me as I am about to embark on a trip to Europe and am hoping so hard to to get some great photos.

    Thank you.

  6. Thank you for sharing your insights with us. I’m not sure I’ll take your course – yet – for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with your course. I appreciate your continuing to reach out to your audience – whether we take the course or not! 🙂 and sharing your passion and fervour for the creative process of photography.
    (And as a Nikonian I couldn’t help notice you displayed a Fuji as your travel camera – but chose to lick the sensor of your Nikon :-))

    1. LOL. Yeah, I love my Nikons but reserve them now mostly for underwater and studio work. I’m glad my insights help in some way, Tom. The courses are there for those that want them but I’m glad I can still be of value to those that don’t. Thanks for your support!

  7. The concept of slowing down is wonderful. I don’t understand why we as photographers are compelled to keep moving. On safari we will sit and watch a leopard mom and her cubs for hours and return the next day for more. Not only do you begin to understand their behavior but the opportunities for really interesting frames exponentially increases. In Morocco i stayed at a location for an extended period of time to just see what happens. Express an interest in a local person or place. The locals are just as curious about you as you are about them. They appreciate your sincere interest and will often approach to talk and perhaps share mint tea together. Locals that are apprehensive about tourists blowing through will be appreciative of someone that appears to care about their culture. It works only if you open up your mind to let it.

    David, you mentioned in an earlier response to me that your workshops are held over a week in one location. Seems ideal and certainly a structure that would interest me. I’ll try and start watching for your future schedule.

    1. Amazing how few photographers seem to get this, isn’t it? Come to think of it, it’s amazing it took me as long as it did to really sink in. Speaking of workshops, if you’re interested in applying, I’ve just had one spot open up for this year’s October MentorSeries Workshop in Jodhpur, India. One week in an incredible place, and all the time in the world to be present and watch, meet people, make some photographs…. Drop me an email, ( my first name @ davidduchemin.com) if you want more details. I’d be happy to discuss it.

  8. I am a very introverted person. But I am haunted by an experience I had in China. I was in a small town and passed a woman with white hair and a great smile who was carrying goods on a shoulder pole-two items balanced perfectly on either end of the pole. I held up my camera and asked if I could photograph her, she said no. I stalked her until I got my shot. I feel like I robbed her somehow. Your approach is so much better but in this case the woman was walking and then language a barrier. I love your videos and find them so accessible, friendly and informative. Thank you for these and your wisdom. I have most of your books and preordered your latest. I have to ask, what was it about that wall that you fell from that made it so dangerous? And how can you walk carrying heavy equipment after injuring your feet?!!!!!
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Joyce – To be honest the wall itself, aside from being 30ft high and just way too easy to sit on, wasn’t so dangerous as my poor judgement. I was angling to get a better photograph, and my feet didn’t go where I thought they would. So now I carry less gear and what I do carry is lighter. I take my time, I go slow, I rest often. Turns out that’s not only my way of dealing with sore feet, it’s how I best photograph! As for your story, well, I think we all have one of those. Some people learn from the feeling of having robbed someone of something (I love the way you expressed that) and some do not. I imagine you feel better about things now, having changed your methods. I look back at some of the things I once did to justify a photograph that I now consider nothing more than mediocre and banal and shake my head. Thanks so much for your support, Joyce, it means the world to me.

  9. Completely bang on. I’ve been to India with friends and between the three of us we were conversationally fluent in seven different languages yet still couldn’t figure out how to order breakfast – and it made no difference. I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve been somewhere a week early or a day late – and it made no difference. I missed photos of stags with the most amazing sets of antlers highlighted by a beautiful sunset because I was only carrying my iPhone – and it made no difference. I’ve come to realize my best photos are those taken when I’m happiest – and that has nothing to do with the gear I’m carrying. Best wishes.

    1. Some deep wisdom in those realizations, Fred. When I come back from photographing, Cynthia often says, “So did you make anything you like” and it’s those times when I say, “I don’t know, but I sure had fun” that my work is the best.

  10. Thank you so much David, three great videos saying and teaching so much in such a short time.

  11. Oh my god! I laughed out loud – big belly laugh – at the cat + couch bit. Sound effect was great touch. And so dead on about the nervous person being photographed by a nervous photographer. Brilliant 10 minutes of wisdom, David.

    I am a veteran photographer and enrolled in David’s course because he inspires me (and has for many years). I always get value in listening to David. It is both the content he shares and the way he shares it.
    David’s lessons always get to the heart of how great photographs are born, whether they are about preparation, the image capture process, editing or presentation.
    There are thousands (literally!) of YouTube videos teaching the mechanics of making better photographs. Many are very good. Some are even excellent. But mechanics are just a slice of how great photographs are made and an even smaller contributor to the satisfaction that comes from making them.
    If what you want is a lesson on how to DO photography – learn composition or lighting, or get critiques on cameras and lenses – YouTube can probably help you.
    If, instead, you want to know what it is to BE a photographer – turning curiosity into process into photographs – seriously consider owning The Traveling Lens course.
    I’ve been a photojournalist and picture editor for nearly 30 years and am happy to have David’s perspective and wisdom to fall back on and reference when I’m in a creative rut; when I need to be reminded why I love photography; or when I simply want to watch someone go thru the process of engaging with the world and coming away from that with beautiful photographs.
    If photography is something that brings meaning to your life, or if you’d like to figure out how to move further in that direction, do yourself a favor – invest in The Traveling Lens. And, when you give yourself this gift, come back to David’s lessons often to remind yourself what makes photography so intoxicating, challenging and fulfilling.

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