Inside the camera bag of Gili Yaari


Gili Yaari is an Israel-based photojournalist specializing in documentary and news photography. In his work, Gili focuses on social and humanitarian issues as well as on contemporary Israeli issues. 

Gili’s works were published in New York Times, Time, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Corierra Della Serra, The Guardian and Financial Times among other international and Israeli magazines and daily papers.

Since 2007 Yaari is a contributing photographer for the Jerusalem based press photo agency Flash90. Since 2013 he is a contributing photographer to NurPhoto.

Yaari has participated in several group exhibitions in Israel and worldwide. His work was awarded in various international photography competitions like ‘Sony World Photography Awards’, ‘Prix de la Photography Paris’ (PX3), ‘International Photography Awards’ (IPA) and Moscow International Photography Awards (MIFA) among others. [Official Website]

What’s in your camera bag?

My approach for carrying my photography gear while traveling the globe is based on versatility. During transportation in flights or on the way to the places I am based, I carry a lot of stuff that I don’t carry while I am out there photographing. I also hang only one camera on my shoulder in order to freely carry my luggage. I have a large Lowepro AW trekker backpack to put all my gear inside during transportation and I carry a smaller Lowepro Photo Sport BP AW for my day trips.

My full list of gear while traveling, carried in my larger bag, includes two Nikon camera bodies, D810 and a lighter D600, 17-35mm F2.8 lens, 35mm 1.4 lens, 70-200mm 2.8 lens, A X2 teleconverter, spare batteries, spare memory cards, a laptop, card readers, chargers for everything, cables and backup drives.


When arriving to my base I switch to a lightweight formation. During my day trips I hang two cameras on my shoulders, usually with the 17-35mm and 35mm lenses. In my backpack I carry the 70-200mm and the teleconverter, to extend my range in case I will have to shoot from a distance (although I really rarely use it).  I sometimes carry my laptop while shooting, in cases I am shooting issues that should be transmitted from the field. In that case I will add the laptop charger. I also carry spare batteries and memory cards, my press ID card and lens cleaning wipes. I choose this specific bag model due to the fact that in addition to it’s protected compartment for camera gear it is lightweight and has many pockets and compartments for personal stuff like wallet, water, snacks and some clothes.

What’s the most surprising thing you carry?

I always carry ear plugs. I am very sensitive to noise and find my self often in noisy situations.

What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?

Obviously it is one camera body with one wide lens (probably the 35mm one).  No pictures without it.. Next thing would be my smartphone which I constantly use for navigation and information.

What are some of the details that you find essential for your style of bags?

My bag must effectively protect the gear. It must be lightweight and comfortable to carry. Durability and rain protection is also very important.

What are the important things for protecting your camera gear?

The bag should be very well padded. It should also support dividing the internal space into padded smaller compartments so the gear won’t move inside.

Can you give me the essential carry kit when traveling the globe (bags, accessories etc.)?

While on move, in flights or moving from one base to another, use one large carry bag for all the photography gear, laptop and accessories. Carry a lightweight smaller day pack in your luggage  and use it for the daily trips, when returning to the same base, hanging your cameras on your shoulders.

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