The Knack Pack for Traveling Photographers | Interview with Mira Zaki

Mira Zaki, a traveling photographer and writer, recently shared her experience with Knack. In this review, Mira describes how she uses her Knack Pack as her go-to bag for carrying her photography gear, clothes, and even her laptop while traveling, and why it's an essential item for her #OneBagLife.

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Since launching the Knack Pack, an expandable laptop backpack with a separate, hidden travel compartment, we’ve received great feedback and reviews from hundreds of Knackpackers.  From teachers to business professionals, people from all over the world are writing to let us know how they’re living their best #OneBagLife.

Most reviews come through on our website, with a number showing up on the Knack Facebook page.

This new detailed review from Mira Zaki, caught our attention – we loved reading about compliments from TSA agents!  Mira leads a fascinating life as a travel photographer, and the Knack team thought it would be fun to share her #OneBagLife story with you.

Facebook review of the Knack Pack as a carryon bag for photographers

Becoming a Professional Photographer

Mira Zaki is an American-Egyptian traveling photographer, writer, and photojournalist, whose work has been featured in various publications – from The New York Times to The Food Network.

Mira Zaki professional traveling photographer

Mira found photography when she was 8-years-old.  “I just fell in love with photography, and I felt like I had an incredible way to express myself without saying a word.  And then I went to college for it! I think photography really chose me.”

Mira was attracted to being able to express herself through photography, as well as being able to have a net positive impact on the world.  “Images are one of the best ways to communicate. They can help educate people on issues and opportunities, really informing the viewer on things going on in the world.”

New York Food photographer Mira Zaki

How Does One Become a Traveling Photographer?

“Traveling photographer” is a dream job for some, so we had to ask:  How does one become a traveling photographer?  It seems like a pretty sweet gig!

Mira laughed when asked this, saying, “There’s no one way to become a travel photographer.  Mostly, I planned trips and then pitched to publications and brand clients before going. I also sell my photos when I come home, so it’s a continuous process of outreach and building relationships.”

She added,  “Most print publications work on a 6 month lead time, so you need to be conscious of that when pitching.  But digital publications are always looking for content.”

Mira also sells her work to stock photography websites, but that’s about to change.  “I’m working on my own stock photography website,” she shares. “Stock photography websites take a big percentage of sales, and I want to offer high quality and diverse images.”  With her own company, Mira will be able to book trips based on the demand that she sees from her customers, eliminating the need for a middle-man.

Traveling humanitarian photographer, Mira Zaki

Travel Tips for Traveling Photographers

Based in New York, Mira is a globetrotter.  “I have been to Spain, Portugal, Norway, Arizona, Texas, Morocco, Seattle and Southern California this year,” she shares.  “I’ve got South Korea on my agenda in November!”

Being constantly on the road means that she’s really learned how to travel with all of her photography gear.  “I’ve learned how important it is to check for travel restrictions on drones and photography equipment when travelling internationally,” she shares.  “I had the toughest time in Morocco. Drones are illegal in Morocco, and I was temporarily prevented from entering the country because of my photography equipment.  They saw it and assumed I would have a drone. It ended up working out, but I wish I had known that before arriving!”

Besides checking travel restrictions, Zaki never checks her bags.  “I always carry my gear onto the plane,” she shares. “One of my travel photography teachers told students to always pack a pair of undergarments in your camera bag – because you never know!”

Mira Zaki International Photographer

“Of course,” she added with a smile, “my Knack Pack has the luggage compartment, so I can bring my clothes along with my gear.”

Using the Knack Pack as a Photographer

Having high quality equipment is important for Mira, but that’s not just limited to cameras.  “I have been in a number of car accidents, where I was rear ended,” she shares. “I have to be mindful of how I carry bags, as my lower back can hurt quite badly.”

Having an ergonomic bag that distributes weight evenly is crucial.  “I can carry my Knack Backpack all day, full of gear, with no problem,” she explains.  “Getting in and out of taxis, running across airports and as my bag that I use on location.  The straps keep the bag balanced.” Photography gear is heavy, and Mira regularly carries between 30 and 40 pounds of gear in her bag.

Mira decided on the large Knack Pack for her travels.

Photographer using Knack Pack as work bag and carryon backpack

Mira took us on a mini-tour of her bag, discussing what she puts where:

  • Top Pocket:  Business cards, ear plugs, and an eye mask.
  • Front Triangle Pocket:  Screen cleaner, universal adapter and smaller cords
  • Mesh Pockets:   CF cards and CF card readers, and electronic attachments for her Macbook Pro laptop.
  • Main Compartment:  Camera and two lenses
  • Expandable Luggage Compartment: Clothing and shoes  

“I really appreciate how everything is so easy to access, so I don’t have to search through a zillion pockets,” she shares.  “I had the hardest time finding a camera bag that also has a sleeve for my laptop, and the Knack Travel Backpack does it all. I’m able to be on location one day, and edit from a coffee shop the next, without packing or checking extra bags.”

Thank you for taking the time to share your story, Mira!  Do you want to be interviewed for the One Bag Blog? Leave a review on our website or Facebook to be considered!

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