Camera Essentials When Traveling + Filming Tips

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When we got back from our group trip to Maui, I was so eager to start sharing some of my favorite pics on Instagram - but I just RECENTLY finished and shared our epic travel video!  Simply put, being there for 12 days, there was tons of footage to sift through when we just ran around the island with the cameras rolling nonstop hah!  We got LOTS of questions on the equipment we brought to capture Hawaii's epic scenery & film our Maui Travel Video so that's what led me to write this post.

 First of all, thank you everyone for the compliments on the Maui video!  Things like, "this looks like a commercial" are so uplifting.  Thank you!  Secondly,  I've been telling EVERYONE it's a bucket list essential to go to Maui! Simply breathtaking!  Now, to throw out some advice on camera essentials while traveling with just carry-ons.


Camera gear is NOT cheap, and we didn't acquire all that we have on one shopping spree.  It can also get bulky & heavy!  Be super selective on items that can serve multiple scenarios on your trip and keep it minimal.  I can't stress this enough!  The less you bring, the less you have to worry about getting damaged while lugging your life around.  Also, don't forget that your iPhone has amazing camera capabilities as well, like high frame rates for slow motion, color correcting, and some built in stabilization.

I see it like this: with minimal camera gear, I've learned that this pushes your creativity even more!  

Okay - lets get into the essentials...

1. MIRRORLESS CAMERA | mine:  Sony a6000 & his: a6500

Sony is leading the industry with some of the best mirrorless cameras, and the a6000 is still serving me strong since it came out a few years ago.  Nothing beats the mirrorless cameras because the camera body is so much smaller in comparison to most traditional DSLRs, but even if you have a larger DSLR don't sweat it.  Just be mindful with the follow selections of a lens to go with it.  Smaller means lighter & less space taken up in your carry-on.  We all know those are a hot commodity when planning and packing for trips!

2. ONE CAMERA LENS | mine:  F/1.8 35mm Prime & his:  F4 18-105mm

This is the lens that gives me a blurry background and offers that cinematic footage!  Being an f/1.8,  it works great from super low-light conditions in the middle of remote areas to broad daylight on a Florida beach!  It's not the lens if you want to be filming "selfie style/vlogging" as with an arms-length away it'll likely crop out part of your face.  While Chris' can do more wide angle shots + zoomed shots, the trade off is that his lens won't work in low light situations as well due to the higher F-stop.  So you'll see, its up to your personal preference and shooting style!

3. WATERPROOF ACTION CAMERA | our choice:  GoPro Hero 6

I think that 90% of our footage while in Maui was from the GoPro, and for a good reason:  hiking, cliffdiving, underwater shots while surfing and free diving. This is a durable little guy! This model is already waterproof so that saves us the need for buying the waterproof housing like in past models!  Huge plus!  It films in up to 210 frames per second, so you'll need a fast micro SD with lots of storage (like this one) to ensure you don't run out of space.

4. PORTABLE TRIPOD | my choice: Joby Gorillapod

This is one of my favorite travel essential accessories, and truly - I'm the only one that used it, not so much Chris hah!  Its sturdy enough to hold my mirrorless camera and not tip over, while having super strong tripod legs that bend so you can wrap it around bars, handrails, and so on!  I also hold all 3 of the legs together like a selfie-stick when wanting to talk to the camera.  The Gorillapod legs have strong magnets too - so perfect for wrapping onto handle bars or a random streetlight pole!

5. DRONE | his choice: DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Chris loves flying his drone!  While he has a professional model, it still isn't very portable and there are much more portable options - especially if you don't need to be producing higher HD 4k footage.  If this is your first drone, we highly recommend the super portable options of the DJI Spark or the DJI Mavic.  Both are under $1000.


We also bring our MacBooks  + external hard drives for taking the evenings while winding down to then dump and sort our footage from the day.


Once you get to know your equipment you can more or less dial in your settings to quickly jump back and forth.  This takes some preplanning because you don't want to be in the middle of the action and miss a shot - more importantly, distracted looking at your camera on the side of a dangerous cliff.  Always practice safety!  (friendly reminder plug hah!)

When running around, try your best at holding the camera still - and also stopping to do a few pans & tilts ensures you got some usable footage.  I can't even tell ya how much footage we have that doesn't see the light of day!  Another trick, take your GoPro for example and press the back of it on your chin while walking.  It's not perfect, but it works!  Your anatomy is built so that your head is a natural stabilizer.


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If you found this information helpful toward preparing to create your own travel video, please let us know in the comments!  We love your feedback!  

What are some of your essentials when traveling?  What would you add or take away from this list, and where in life do you like to practice minimalism?


xox, Rachel


How to Keep an Intentional Wedding Vision | Our Small Miami Wedding

Our beach wedding was nothing but simplistic & minimal - yet everything we've always wanted.  I'm now such a supporter of small, humble weddings.  After our vision was fogged by societal norms and what we've been taught a wedding should look like - we minimized it, gained clarity on caring more for the people who'd be present vs. the materialism, and then wanted to have an adventure

Our full wedding weekend + our week-long adventure honeymoon in beautiful Tulum, Mexico felt like an endless celebration and was all under $8,000.  I hope my following insight on consuming minimally + spending minimally while still having a special day inspires you with a mindset on keeping your intentions true for your special day as well...

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Once we got engaged, we were bombarded with loads of questions, wedding inspiration, decisions (you engaged or married couples know what I'm talking about).  It all comes from a place of love and intent to help, however can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Chris and I only had a vision to get married by the sea (because we started dating by going surfing together & being outdoors).  Snowballing off that, I thought it'd be cool to get married by the Atlantic when we got engaged by the Pacific (cheesy! I know hah).  Then the snowball started to build as I hopped on Pinterest & went to my first bridal expo:  you'll suddenly feel like you need a light up dance floor & a VERY specific shade of blue for the decor, and that color needs to be consistent on the invitations, and to find the PERFECT venue, and so on...  its intense.  


"Focus on people, not things."
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It took me 6 months of planning to then drop it all - get back to our roots - and look at what was REALLY important:

#1  We wanted to elope to "keep it small" yet also wished for our closest friends & family (the ones that have seen our relationship from day 1 and have been wanting to see us get married for so long) to be there.  This meant sadly telling some friends & family they couldn't come - but we promised them lots of photo and video of the day

#2 Both mine and Chris' fathers' health was in a weak state.  My dad needed to be close to certain machines & doctors, and Chris' father was in recovery -- so that remote, beautiful landscape away from the city was out of the question.  Having them there with the rest of our immediate family & close friends was priority #1

#3  We had plans to travel & buy a home -- so we kept the budget small too, reminding ourselves "this is just 1 day".  The grandeur of a wedding day will NEVER DEFINE a lifelong love spanning many days and years to come.  We also wanted to put more of the budget toward our Tulum Mexico honeymoon adventures!

So we started fresh with those 3 "musts" + our top "wants" (which were good photo/video and good food) and put it all together in 3 months.  If it weren't for Hurricane Irma's destruction to South Florida, mixing up our location plans - the planning might have been a little less intense those 3 months, but it all worked out:  we had a morning ceremony on the beach (that Chris and I 1st visited when I introduced him to my favorite places back home), then lots of picture taking with everyone, followed by brunch and lots of Photo Booth fun, then a little afternoon siesta, and then an afterparty outing in downtown Brickell.  It was a long day, but so worth it!

There were some moments leading up to the day that it felt like I was racing time, however it all worked out and I was probably overanalyzing haha - but I guess no matter how big or small your wedding is, that will happen to some extent.


I once read

 if you want to impress your guests, go for it: purchase the expensive gown, decor, and have that light up dance floor, and so on.  But if you want to make an impression on your guests, show and inspire them of what love really is:  Love isn't tangible like decor, cake, and attire - its the connection between 2 people that people can observe, learn from, be touched, and inspired to live and love their loved ones like that too.  

As 2 people have their love on display in a larger wedding setting, I've felt that many times extravagant decor distracts more than serves the purpose of the party (in my experience).  But of course, the beauty is still there and absolutely gorgeous in just a completely different way than small weddings.

Would you or did you have a small wedding too?  What was your biggest take away from it?  and,  would you like a more detailed vlog on the rundown of planning this to learn from?  If so, leave your Questions below and I'll do a Q&A follow up :)



Our Tulum Aventure Honeymoon | 5 Days Low Expense Travel

Our Tulum Aventure Honeymoon | 5 Days Low Expense Travel

From beaches and Mayan ruins, to adventure parks and making friends from 2 other countries, our honeymoon in Tulum was a perfect mix of Mexican culture and adventure!

Our San Diego Wedding Proposal

Just a day planned for La Jolla Cove in San Diego with our close local friends, Chris' sister & his niece and nephew... little did I know that everyone knew his plan to make that day one of the most memorable of our lives together.

June 15th was our 4 year anniversary, and I had been talking up La Jolla and how much I LOVED it there for a long time now since I visited on tour.  It's breathtaking views, greenery along the cliffside park, and - the CUTEST seals sunning themselves for hours on end!  So we grabbed lunch with our friends Abby and Abe, and met up with Chris' sister, Julie, and her kiddos.  

We started off at seal beach getting an up close visit with loads of them.  Hah! The seals were stinky! After trekking up and down the cliffside to different packs of seals, we walked along the walkway heading towards the park area.  Chris saw a gazebo and said he wanted to get us all inside of it, and do a 360-degree shot of his drone orbiting around us.  Me being stubborn, hah - I turned it down initially, but then went with the flow.  By that time Chris was already flying his drone around all day, and I honestly wanted him to save his battery-life for Sunset Cliffs which we had planned for after dinner that night.  So, we walked down and as we approached, there was an opening to the fencing that led out to the cliffside.  I gave my camera to Abby, and asked her to get a couple photos of me sitting by the cliff.  It was GORGEOUS - and probably a little dangerous, ha!  

As I was turned away sitting on the cliffside, Chris got his drone set up and told Abe, "I'm doing it here".  Chris cautiously let Abe hold onto his drone remote while it hovered behind us on the cliffside.  

While all of that happened behind me, Chris then walked up to me and asked me to stand up.  Me being stubborn again hah, I asked him to sit down.  "Come on, stand up", he says.  So I did... 

As I was still brushing off my bum from the sand, he tells me he has a question to ask --- At that point I was just confused, and then I saw his hand come around from behind him with this blue ring box, and I was speechless:  My hands on my cheeks,  over my mouth,  trying to keep it together, smiling and laughing with joy but thinking how I didn't see it coming ---and the first thing I say to him and our friends: "Are you serious?!" hah I couldn't BELIEVE it!  Chris still kneeling down, I realized I didn't actually answer the question... I said YES! and then he stood up to give me the biggest hug and kiss.  Our loved ones were filming us and capturing the moment, which I'm SO grateful that we have this to remember.  It really was so beautiful, quaint, and overlooking a gorgeous landscape.

He picked out such a timeless ring, that I know will be cherished forever.  We talked about rings before, and just knew that we wanted it to be timeless to pass on to children one day.

Still today I'm so surprised at how slick he was with planning all of that and getting everyone in the know - except me of course.