It was only the second wedding we ever shot.
AND IT WAS IN… HAWAII (!!)
How on earth did we get so lucky to book a dream wedding location when we had practically no wedding experience at all?!
Well, we were teaching elementary school.
Together. In next-door classrooms.
Amy taught fourth grade and Jordan taught fifth.
The beautiful first grade teacher got engaged, and she offered to pay for our flights and hotel in exchange for wedding photos.
We were young (24), newly(ish) married, living on a shoestring budget and dreaming of one day becoming full-time wedding photographers.
WE IMMEDIATELY AGREED.
We were SO excited.
And everything was fine.
Until we got to the airport…
When it was time to board, we casually strolled up to the ticket counter (glowing) wondering if anyone could tell we were about to embark on a career-defining trip.
The agent took our paper tickets (remember those from the dinosaur ages?) eyed our carry-on bags and gave us a skeptical look.
“Your bag looks too big for this plane. We’re gonna have to check it.”
Our hearts stopped.
He was talking about the bag with our camera gear in it.
For most of our life up until that point, Jordan had been able to talk charm his way out of just about anything, so Amy wasn’t immediately concerned.
“No, no, no,” Jordan whispered to the agent, his face flushed red with nervous energy.
“We’re professional photographers,” (that still felt weird to say because we were still elementary school teachers with major imposter syndrome), “and there are tens of thousands of dollars of fragile, breakable, camera equipment in that bag. It can’t go under the plane.”
The agent wasn’t moved by our sob story.
We protested, politely, but it was no use.
The bag was going under the plane.
We were panicking.
What if our gear got damaged?
What if we couldn’t shoot the wedding?
What were we going to do?!
An important side note is this bag (containing all the gear we’d worked so hard to purchase) wasn’t even a legit camera bag.
We were poor newlyweds and so inexperienced that we had filled a regular carry-on-sized bag with socks and underwear (anything soft and small) to wedge between each piece of camera gear.
It was a real professional operation we were running here.
We stepped to the side of the ticket line, opened our sad excuse for a “camera” bag in front of all the other passengers and started furiously removing our gear (and our unmentionables) before they took it all away.
We wrapped our cameras in Jordan’s underwear and tucked lenses inside of multiple pairs of socks.
Thankfully, Jordan was wearing cargo shorts.
(There’s a sentence we’ll never type again)
Cargo shorts were the style… when we were in high school… but a poor newlywed’s gotta do what a poor newlywed’s gotta do –– so we were still mostly wearing clothes our parents bought us a decade earlier.
We shoved everything we could into Jordan’s shorts and our small backpack until they were bursting at the seams.
We carried the rest of the gear on…
In our arms.
We boarded the plane looking like this.
And then we sat with our all gear, coddling it in our laps (like we were carrying newborn babies with the Canon label) for the six-hour flight from Phoenix to Hawaii.
We hoped no one would notice the two twenty-somethings holding a pile of lenses wrapped in their underwear on their laps for six hours.
But, hey, we were committed to protecting the gear.
Even though, in hindsight, it probably would’ve been okay if we gate-checked our gear (we’d NEVER check it at the checked-bags-counter, obvs, in case the bag just straight up didn’t make it onto the plane), but we were new and we were panicking.
For us, it wasn’t worth the risk.
The idea of trying to replace our exact gear the day before a wedding on an island in the middle of the ocean…
So, what’s the moral of the story?
Always pack thick full-butted, padded underwear and tube socks. You never know when you’re going to need them to protect your photo gear!
Just kidding. That’s not the moral!
The moral is…
It’s worth it to do what we should’ve done from the start.
Invest in a high-quality camera bag that will…
– Protect all your photo equipment
– Fit in the overhead bin of a plane
After that wedding, we invested in what we affectionately call…
Seriously, we’ve owned the Think Tank Airport Security Bag for almost a decade.
It’s traveled with us all over the world.
We’ve brought it to every wedding we’ve ever shot.
AND IT STILL LOOKS BRAND NEW.
Ya know how our parents always say, “They just don’t make ’em like this anymore…”
With most things, they don’t.
With this Think Tank bag, THEY 100% DO.
Every year that goes by, we’re in awe that after almost a decade of extreme wear and tear (we’ve brought it to EVERY wedding, whether we’re flying across the globe or just driving down the street) it’s still in such great shape.
If you’re in the market for a solid camera bag that will probably last the rest of your career life, this is the bag for you.
Quick note: This bag has fit in the overhead compartment for every domestic and international fight we’ve ever taken with ONE exception…
When we flew from New York to Vermont, we were on a VERY small “puddle jumper” plane (so small that Jordan couldn’t even stand up all the way).
The overhead compartment was SO small that purses could barely fit, so we gate checked our camera bag (better than carrying them on in our underwear) personally talked to the gate agents to explain the situation, and everything was totally fine when we arrived.
If only we had thought of that the year Jordan was wearing cargo shorts.
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