Any serious photographer knows how important it is to have the right gear when you need the gear. But there's a ton of reasons to travel light, and while packing for today's shoot, I just realized a new one for me.
I used to travel with all of my gear all of the time - it seemed more important to have the right lens for any situation. This quickly followed my discovery that if you don't have a camera, you can't take the picture.
It seemed to follow that if you don't have the right lens, you can't take the right picture; I started carrying two lenses everywhere. If you don't have your tripod, you can't get a long exposure picture; I started carrying my tripod everywhere. If you don't have the right filter, you can't compensate for the right lighting; I started carrying three filters everywhere. I even started carrying two cameras at one point, and later three.
At some point, I couldn't realistically carry all of this gear with me everywhere I went, or even on every shoot, so I started seeing benefits in traveling light.
There's the obvious ones that occur to you just thinking of that phrase: Less weight to carry, less bulk to fit through doors, less gear to get stolen or lose or break. As you get better at leaving items at home, you find ways to improvise some of your shots.
Sure, I don't have my telephoto zoom lens, but this is still a 10MP camera and I can crop to 1280 on my computer as long as I don't need a poster from it. Shoot in RAW and compose carefully - you won't get the super zoom, but at least you'll still get the shot.
No tripod? No problem. Adjust the lighting a bit, go to manual mode and adjust your camera settings, and find something to set the camera on. Your camera bag often works fine, and the camera timer or remote trigger lets you snap the picture without touching the camera.
The new reason that occurred to me today while packing my gear is that there's less gear to pack up at the end of a shoot. Earlier I mentioned that there's less gear to lose, break, or get stolen; there's also less gear to have to track down when you're packing up at the end of the day.
When shooting in different rooms (as I will in today's shoot) I will have less gear to take from room to room.
In fact, today I'm traveling so light, I might not even need my camera bag - that's a true joy. By learning over time exactly what gear I need to take out, and taking only that, my day of shooting will be much easier.