Pack Like A Pro With Photographer Nicole Hill

Pick up a few packing tips from this professional photographer and world traveler!

You’ve been admiring all of those dreamy images from our FP Escape (powered by Yogascapes) to Nicaragua, have you? The woman behind the photos is pretty dreamy, too. Nicole Hill is Cali-bred and travels the world, shooting for the likes of Stonefox, Threadsence and Rocky Barnes. She’s an up-and-comer in fashion photography, with a penchant for snaps that portray true summer lovin’ beach vibes. As a fervent globetrotter, we wanted to know, how does she pack? What does she bring? How does she pack her equipment? And perhaps most important – how does she maintain a vibrant healthy lifestyle while on the road?


When packing for a location shoot I tend to keep my baggage as minimal as possible. I always travel with a ton of camera gear so carrying on all my belongings is never an option. Checking a bag can be risky, especially when traveling internationally, so I always keep my essentials with me and check everything else. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.


1) Since you never know where your checked baggage could end up, I tend to play it safe with my carry-on and wardrobe choices. When boarding the plane I dress for the destination and always pack an extra change of clothing. Tip: lightweight breathable fabric tops like nylon or polyester dry really fast. If you lose your luggage and need to wash your clothing nightly, these items will dry in minutes. Yes, those are Tapatio packets in my pocket.  I used to carry an actual bottle of Tap in my purse with me at all times until I discovered these bad boys.  No matter where you are in the world, you can take any food from bland to beautiful in one simple step. Can’t leave home without ‘em.

2) Use a large tote as one of your carry-on items. This is my go-to bag for trips because it comes complete with everything I need. Inside the tote is a large removable pouch and a small attached pouch for easy access to your passport, credit cards, itinerary and plane tickets. It makes traveling a lot easier when everything is easily accessible. It is also the perfect size and comes with a detachable cross-body strap (helpful for when your arm falls asleep because you overstuffed your bag).


3) Use your large pouch for easy access to your in-flight essentials when everything else is packed away. Pictured are a few of my must-haves when flying. One of my favorite ways to pass the time on a long flight is listening to Trevor Hall and brainstorming shoot ideas in my notebook. It helps me zen out so I feel refreshed when I land.


4) Shooting with film is always fun, but traveling with it can be tricky! For starters, NEVER check your film in your luggage or it can get fogged and ruined by the x-ray machines. Since I have film anxiety, I like to keep my film in a clear pouch so I have it all in one place for TSA to easily hand-inspect.  Film should stay away from carry-on x-ray machines whenever possible, but it’s usually safe on speeds less than ISO 800 as long as it only goes through once or twice. Don’t believe me? Try checking your vacation photos in your luggage. Your trip to Hawaii will soon resemble a blizzard in Antarctica.


5) Dr. Bronners Pure Castille Soap is life. It smells amazing and you can use it on anything – your body, your hair or your wardrobe.  This soap completes the ultimate hobo shower all in one jar!


6) Traveling takes a toll on your body – i0f you’re in a new place, trying new food, staying out late, having a drink or ten and not going through a normal routine. If you don’t take care of your body you’re going to pay for it later. To keep my immune system functioning at its best, these are my go-to life saving products. I shake up some Perfect Fit Protein and Green Vibrance every morning to keep me alive on long shoot days. It’s a perfect combo and the Perfect Fit tastes so good that it masks the “green taste” pretty well. I also make sure to carry a water bottle of electrolyte Nuun tablets to stay hydrated throughout the day, Emergen-C in case I start feeling a little off and Cliff Blocks for that extra energy boost.


Check out Nicole’s Website and follow her on Instagram @NicoleLHill_

Photos by Renata Stone & Nicole Hill


  1. Just saw the free people vegan slouchy tote just had to have it. Its also great to carry baby items!!!!! Its bigger than i thought. Thank you Nicole and Free People Valencia

  2. So cute …love all the essentials and so proud of you NIcole! you look beyond amazing in that last photo.

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