Hey there, I’m Jeremy, and my journey into the kingdom of travel started as a spontaneous decision in 2016. At 18, I tossed aside the traditional college route, pocketed a humble $200, and set off from the vibrant shores of Goa, India, armed with nothing but a trusty backpack.
Fast forward 8 years, and I’ve woven my way through around 50 countries, turning each adventure into a chapter of a story etched in diverse cultures and unforgettable encounters. While I hit pause on my once top-ranking Travel Blog, my passion for exploration continues to burn bright – the wanderlust isn’t just a fleeting phase for me; it’s become a way of life.
Amidst the myriad experiences, I stumbled upon the profound impact of photography. It evolved from a mere click of a shutter to a means of preserving the very soul of my journeys. Each photograph isn’t just an image; it’s a frozen moment in time, encapsulating the emotions, cultural nuances, and sheer beauty of the places I’ve been. Photography became the silent storyteller of my adventures, allowing me to revisit those moments and share stories that transcend borders.
Through this article, I’m excited to take you into my world, where we will explore the art of crafting the perfect travel photography gear. It’s a journey with lessons on the importance of having the right tools in your kit. Together, we’ll navigate the essentials, the must-haves, and the game-changers that have elevated my travel photography game. So, buckle up as we embark on a visual odyssey, turning fleeting moments into timeless memories.
Best Travel Cameras (Main Bodies)
1. Sony A7R III – Main Camera Body
My transition from a Canon enthusiast to a Sony advocate marked a pivotal moment in my photographic journey. The Sony A7R III, with its 42.4-megapixel full-frame sensor, has become the kingpin of my gear arsenal. This compact mirrorless marvel excels in high-end landscape photography, offering unparalleled image quality. It’s technological prowess, often setting industry benchmarks, makes it an ideal companion for the discerning travel photographer.
While the A7R III might be overkill for some, cost-conscious travelers can explore the equally impressive Sony A7 III or the Compact A6600, delivering remarkable performance for capturing travel memories.
2. Canon EOS R5
Adding diversity to my toolkit, the Canon EOS R5 boasts a 45-megapixel full-frame mirrorless design. Dual card slots and compatibility with Canon EF, EF-S, and RF mount lenses make it a versatile choice. This camera promises longevity, ensuring it remains a reliable workhorse for years to come.
3. Canon EOS 6D
My Canon EOS 6D is a backup body for a journey back in time. Despite its age, this full-frame sensor camera delivers commendable ISO performance, built-in GPS, and Wi-Fi capabilities. Its outstanding image quality and reliability make it a worthy companion for situations that demand a secondary camera.
4. Panasonic Lumix G9
While I haven’t fully embraced a mirrorless setup, the Panasonic Lumix G9 holds a special place in my gear lineup. Its mirrorless configuration offers incredible image quality in a compact form, perfect for blending into crowds during street photography. Features like 4K Photo mode, sensor-based image stabilization, and a touchscreen LCD add to its allure.
Verdict: Choosing the right travel camera body is a pivotal decision for any photographer, and it largely depends on individual preferences, shooting styles, and budget considerations. However, the Panasonic Lumix G9 is an excellent choice for photographers prioritizing compactness and innovation. Ideal for street photography and situations where portability is critical, it offers a unique blend of features catering to various creative needs.
Best Travel Lenses
1. Sony 16-35mm F2.8 – Wide Angle Lens
In the realm of lenses, the Sony 16-35mm F2.8 takes the spotlight, occupying my camera 75% of the time. This wide-angle lens caters to my love for expansive landscapes, allowing me to encapsulate the grandeur of nature. Its versatility extends to decent portraits at 35mm and F2.8, making it a reliable choice for various scenarios, including night and star photography.
2. Canon EF 16-35 f/4 IS L – Wide Angle Lens
Adding a touch of Canon to my lens lineup, the EF 16-35 f/4 IS L has earned its place for delivering stunning landscape and perspective shots. Renowned for its sharpness and image stabilization, it has become reliable when the situation demands clarity, especially at the corners. This lens excels in portraying architecture, interiors, and subjects that thrive on a broader perspective.
3. Canon EF-S 10-22mm – Wide Angle Lens
Catering to the nuances of crop Canon bodies, the EF-S 10-22mm has been a longtime favourite. Unfortunately, this lens, incompatible with full-frame bodies, was my go-to choice for wide-angle shots. Its affordability and lightweight construction make it an attractive option for photographers working with crop sensors.
4. Sony 24-70mm F2.8 – Medium Zoom Lens
For moments when a bit more reach is required or when traveling light, the Sony 24-70mm F2.8 steps into the frame. While not as wide as the 16-35mm, it strikes a balance, often serving as my go-to landscape lens. The added advantage of zooming in for distant subjects or compressing backgrounds makes it an invaluable tool. Its prowess in portrait photography further solidifies its status as an all-around performer.
4. Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM – Telephoto Zoom Lens
When wildlife beckons or the need arises to capture subjects from afar, the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5 steps into play. While not a constant presence in my kit due to its weight, it excels in wildlife and outdoor portraits. The lens’s ability to compress expansive landscapes brings a unique perspective to mountainous terrains. Occasionally, I enhance its range with a Sony 1.4X teleconverter, which is particularly beneficial for safari photography.
5. Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II L – Telephoto Zoom Lens
Widely regarded as Canon’s masterpiece in the telephoto zoom category, the EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II L holds its ground as a heavyweight in my collection. The lens’s exceptional speed throughout the focal length range and sharpness make it a joy to use. The four stops of Image Stabilization render my tripod almost unnecessary, making it a go-to choice for portraits, events, wildlife, and sports photography.
6. Canon EF 85 1.8 – Prime Lens
For a shift in perspective and a dive into the world of prime lenses, the Canon EF 85 1.8 comes into play. The wide aperture of 1.8 opens up possibilities for captivating portraits and night photography. The lens encourages a thoughtful approach to composition, thanks to its ability to play with depth of field. While it might be a bit too generous with depth of field wide open, a slight stop down to 2.2 ensures a balanced focus.
7. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM – Macro Lens
For those moments of intricate exploration, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM steps in. Whether capturing product details for blog posts or immersing in the miniature world of flowers and insects, this macro lens with 1:1 magnification is indispensable. While a pricier “L” version exists, my occasional forays into macro photography don’t warrant the additional expense.
8. Panasonic X-Series Lumix 12-35 f/2.8 OIS – Walk-Around Lens
Completing the trio of lenses for my Panasonic gear, the Lumix 12-35 f/2.8 OIS stands out as a walk-around lens. It hits a sweet spot with a focal equivalent of 24-70, offering versatility from slightly wide to slightly zoomed in. This lens, combined with the wide-angle and telephoto options in my Canon gear, ensures I’m well-equipped for 95% of the shooting situations I encounter.
Verdict: For travel photography newbies, I recommend the following lens lineup for a game-changer photography experience:
- Sony’s 16-35mm F2.8 nails landscapes and night shots.
- The Sony 24-70mm F2.8 strikes a sweet spot for various scenes.
- Canon’s EF 85 1.8 excels in portraits, while the EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro dives into details.
- Panasonic’s 12-35mm f/2.8 is a perfect walk-around for Panasonic gear.
Remember, a compact and versatile kit is the key to stunning travel captures.
SPECIALTY EQUIPMENT AND DRONES
1. AKASO Brave 7 LE – Waterproof Action Camera
While my SLR enjoys its share of adventures, it’s not always cut out for extreme photography or videography. For such moments, the compact and rugged AKASO Brave 7 LE action camera steps in. Its compact size, remarkable image quality, and waterproof housing make it my companion in environments where exposing my SLR to risk is out of the question. The ability to control it via Wi-Fi from a smartphone adds to its versatility, making it an essential tool for anything that demands a bit of rough handling.
2. Sony RX100 V – Compact Camera
The Sony RX100 V takes the spotlight when discretion and portability are paramount. A compact camera with professional-level features, it effortlessly slips into my pocket. With a large 1″ sensor, a fast f/1.8 aperture, full manual controls, and rapid autofocus, this little powerhouse proves that you don’t need to compromise on quality when opting for a compact camera. The ability to shoot in RAW adds to its appeal, ensuring I have creative control over my images even in a compact form factor.
3. Mavic 3 Pro – Drone
Despite not being a dedicated videographer, including a drone in my kit has expanded my photographic horizons. The Mavic Pro, known for its compact size, stability, and remarkable image quality, has become an integral part of my toolkit. Learning the art of flying took some time. Still, its unique perspectives, especially in RAW format, make it a remarkable tool for capturing shots that would otherwise be impossible. Whether it’s revealing landscapes from above or adding an aerial dimension to my travel stories, the drone has become an indispensable creative ally.
4. Insta360 – 360-Degree Camera
Injecting a dash of creativity into my shots, the Insta360, a 360-degree camera, opens up a realm of possibilities. This compact accessory, compatible with my Android smartphone, allows me to experiment with unique shots, from creating tiny planets to capturing fisheye perspectives. The fun lies in its ability to provide a different type of visual storytelling, adding an immersive and engaging dimension to my photography.
1. Peak Design Straps
Recognizing the limitations of the standard camera strap, I opted for the flexibility and comfort offered by Peak Design straps. Currently, my Peak Design arsenal includes the Slide Camera Sling/Neck and shoulder strap, a camera clip, and a hand clutch strap. These straps are not just about carrying the camera; they are a statement of durability, flexibility, and a commitment to a lifetime of photographic adventures.
2. Vanguard Alta Sky 49 – Camera Bag
The quest for the perfect camera bag led me to the Vanguard Alta Sky 49, a meticulously designed backpack that accommodates all my gear with lenses attached. Its well-thought-out layout ensures a snug fit for the camera, lenses, tripod, and additional essentials.
Whether I’m trekking up hills, navigating through mud and rain, or simply strolling through a city, the Alta Sky 49 has proven to be a reliable companion, withstanding the rigors of globetrotting. If you can afford it, the Nomatic Peter McKinnon Camera Backpack is worth it!
3. Lens Filters
Guarding the front of my lenses is a crucial task, and UV filters play a pivotal role in this protective mission. Opting for quality over economy, I’ve chosen the B+W 77mm XS-Pro MRC UV filter for its easy maintenance and minimal impact on image quality. In the realm of polarizing filters, the B+W 77mm polarizing filter earns its keep by enhancing skies, making clouds pop, reducing reflections, and adding a touch of magic to portraits.
Stepping into the realm of creative control, my toolkit includes Haida ND filters—a lesser-known brand that has garnered positive reviews. The kit comprises 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop filters, offering up to 19 stops of light reduction. These filters empower me to capture the silky flow of waterfalls, create dreamy cloudscapes, and exercise precise control over incoming light.
A cornerstone of stable and deliberate photography, tripods are essential for various scenarios, from landscape photography at higher apertures to night-time shots and time-lapse photography.
The Alta Pro 2+ 264CT, paired with a Vanguard BBH-200 head, serves as a versatile companion, allowing quick gear transitions with its Arca compatibility. For travel-specific endeavors, the VEO 2 Go 256HCBM steps into the spotlight. Its compact and lightweight design caters to the demands of hiking and weight-conscious trips. I’m also a huge fan of the Peak Design Tripod!
5. Wireless Remote – Pixel TW-283/E3
Long exposures, self-portraits, or intricate time-lapse photography often demand a hands-free approach to shutter control. The Pixel TW-282/N3 wireless remote steps in, providing wireless control of the camera from a distance of up to 100 feet. Its versatility extends to various shooting situations, offering convenience and precision when needed the most.
6. Memory Cards
In the dynamic world of digital photography, where every moment is captured in high-resolution RAW format, the choice of a memory card is not merely a technical decision but a crucial investment.
Embracing the steadfast reliability of SanDisk, my preference lies with their 64GB memory cards boasting a class 10 rating and a commendable speed of 80MB/s. This deliberate selection isn’t just about storage capacity; it’s a strategic decision tailored to the specific demands of my camera’s writing speed.
While there are faster alternatives, this practical approach of aligning the memory card’s capabilities with the camera’s operational limits ensures efficiency and smooth functionality. I truly believe that SanDisk has become my indispensable ally in capturing, preserving, and cherishing my most precious moments.
Spare Batteries: The bane of running out of battery power mid-shot has been averted by carrying at least one extra battery for each camera. The Canon 6D relies on the Canon LP-E6, the Lumix on the DMW BLC12e, and the drone on the DJI Intelligent battery.
Hard Drives: The mammoth space consumed by RAW files necessitates external hard drives, and I travel with three ruggedized ones. The Transcend 2TB USB 3.1 External HDD has proven reliable and swift, ensuring my photos are safe and accessible.
Dry Bag: Unorthodox but essential, a dry bag serves as a protective shield when shooting in unpredictable weather or embarking on water-based adventures. Inexpensive yet invaluable, these bags ensure my gear remains dry and functional in all conditions.
Selfie Stick – Bluetooth Selfie Stick: Acknowledging the casual side of photography, the Anker Bluetooth Selfie Stick adds a touch of convenience. The wireless connectivity eliminates the hassle of wires, and its compact folding design makes it an ideal companion for spontaneous travel moments.
Lens ball: Infusing an element of fun into my photography, the 80mm glass lens ball transforms scenes into whimsical 360-degree-like images. This creative tool adds a unique twist to conventional shots, allowing for a playful exploration of perspectives.
PHOTO EDITING AND POST-PROCESSING
Behind every stunning photograph lies the magic of post-processing. Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop have been my steadfast companions in this realm, offering unparalleled control and creativity. Lightroom’s intuitive interface facilitates quick adjustments to exposure, color balance, and sharpness, while Photoshop, with its more advanced features, allows for intricate retouching and manipulation. The synergy between these two powerhouses ensures that each image reaches its full potential, transforming raw captures into visual masterpieces. For aspiring photographers, investing time in understanding these tools is akin to unlocking the secrets of digital alchemy.
Guide to Photo Editing Software
While Adobe’s suite stands tall, there’s a burgeoning array of photo editing software catering to different needs and skill levels. For those exploring alternatives, options like Capture One, DxO PhotoLab, and Luminar offer robust features and user-friendly interfaces. The choice ultimately depends on personal preference and the project’s specific requirements. As the world of photo editing software continues to evolve, staying abreast of emerging tools that might align better with individual workflows is worthwhile.
Travel Photography: Exploring the World, One Frame at a Time:
Now, let’s talk about the magic of travel photography – because who doesn’t want to turn their wanderlust fuelled adventures into visual masterpieces? Here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way:
- Timing is Everything: Ever tried capturing a sunrise or sunset in a new location? It’s like nature’s way of giving you a perfect backdrop. The soft, warm hues can transform any scene into a breathtaking moment. So, set that alarm a bit earlier or linger a bit longer – it’s worth it.
- Embrace the Local Flavors: Travel photography isn’t just about landmarks; it’s about the soul of a place. Dive into local markets, streets, and traditions. Capture the essence of daily life, and don’t shy away from interacting with locals. Sometimes, the most compelling stories unfold in ordinary moments.
- Pack Light, Shoot Smart: Okay, confession time – I used to be the guy with a gazillion lenses dangling from my neck. Lesson learned: keep it simple. A versatile lens, like a good zoom, can cover many scenarios. And if you’re feeling adventurous, throw in a prime lens for those artistic close-ups.
- Mastering Night Photography Settings: Now, night photography – the mystical realm where city lights and starry skies take centre stage. My go-to setting? A wide aperture, like f/2.8, lets in as much light as possible. Pair that with a longer shutter speed, but not too long to avoid those pesky star trails unless that’s your jam! I often play with a slightly higher ISO for cityscapes to brighten up the scene. Oh, and a sturdy tripod is your best friend in the low-light game – it keeps everything crisp and sharp.
Keep Your Photography Sidekicks in Top Shape on the Road
Alright, fellow shutterbugs, let’s talk about how to maintain the fitness of our heroes of photography gear. Here are some tried-and-true maintenance tips to ensure your gear stays in top-notch condition, no matter where your adventures take you. Always remember, “a well-maintained camera” should be your travel photography mantra!
- Cleaning Ritual: Dust and smudges are the arch-nemeses of crisp photos. I always carry a lens pen and a microfiber cloth. A gentle circular motion does wonders. And yes, the classic photographer’s move of breathing on the lens and wiping it with a cloth? Still works like a charm.
- UV Filters are Guardians: Invest in quality UV filters. They not only protect your lens from scratches but also act as a shield against unexpected rain or dust storms. Plus, they’re way easier to clean than your actual lens.
- Camera Coats: Rain or shine, your camera needs protection. I’ve got a rain cover for those unexpected downpours and a camera coat for prolonged exposure to the elements. Think of it as a stylish raincoat for your gear.
- Desert Sand Hack: Ever shot in a sandy desert? Seal your camera gear in plastic bags when not in use. It’s not glamorous, but it keeps the fine sand from infiltrating every nook and cranny of your precious equipment.
- Storage Wisdom: I store my gear in a cool, dry place when not in use. Moisture is the enemy, folks. Silica gel packs are my silent protectors against the dreaded camera mould.
- Gentle Camera Bag Handling: Treat your camera bag like it’s holding fragile glass. No tossing it around like a gym bag. I’ve even got a padded insert for extra cushioning because, let’s face it, travel can be a bit bumpy.
- Power Play: Always carry spare batteries. There’s nothing worse than the dreaded low battery signal when you’re about to capture a breathtaking sunset. I rotate them regularly to avoid any unexpected power disappointments.
- Plug-and-Play Essentials: Power outlets might throw you a curveball depending on where you are jet-setting. Invest in a reliable international adapter to juice up your gear wherever you roam.
Lens Cap Ballet:
- Cap Keeper Trick: Losing lens caps is practically a photographer’s rite of passage. But fear not! I use those nifty cap keepers that attach to the camera strap. No more fumbling around or, worse, losing them in the depths of my camera bag.
Wrapping Up: A Journey Through My Gear
Embarking on exploring travel photography gear is akin to diving into a territory where technology meets artistry. Every piece of equipment, from the primary camera bodies to the tiniest accessory, shapes the narrative of my visual stories. The journey began with the Sony A7R III, a technological marvel that laid the foundation for my shift from Canon. Its 42.4-megapixel sensor, coupled with the compact form factor, epitomizes the fusion of power and portability.
Lenses, the eyes of my photographic vision, offer a spectrum of perspectives. The Sony 16-35mm F2.8, a wide-angle marvel, captures sweeping landscapes, while the 24-70mm F2.8 weaves the tapestry of versatility, seamlessly transitioning from wide vistas to intimate portraits. The FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM, my telephoto companion, brings distant subjects into crisp focus, be it wildlife on the plains or mountain peaks shrouded in mist.
Tripods and stabilisation, the unsung heroes, anchor my vision in reality. The Peak Design Travel Tripod, a lightweight yet sturdy ally, facilitates long exposures, star photography, and the meticulous framing of landscapes. In the world of camera bags, the Peak Design Travel Backpack reigns supreme, offering a harmonious blend of functionality, comfort, and weatherproofing.
But the saga extends beyond the confines of the primary toolkit. The Canon EOS R5, a 45-megapixel mirrorless wonder, stands tall as a reliable backup. The Lumix GX8, a stealthy mirrorless companion, excels in inconspicuous shooting, capturing fleeting moments with finesse.
Specialty equipment introduces a layer of creativity and adaptability. The Akaso Brave 7 LE dives into the heart of the action, capturing moments that defy conventional photography. The Sony RX100 V, a compact powerhouse, proves that size does not impede quality. The Mavic Pro, soaring above landscapes, unfolds a new chapter in visual storytelling. The Insta360 Air, a pocket-sized 360-degree marvel, adds a dash of playfulness to the narrative.
Camera accessories, from Peak Design straps to the Vanguard Alta Sky 49, epitomize the fusion of form and function. Lens filters, essential guardians of image quality, add nuance to the visual language. From the versatile Alta Pro 2+ 264CT tripods to the travel centric VEO 2 Go 256HCBM, ensure stability across diverse terrains.
Wireless remotes, memory cards, spare batteries, and hard drives form the backbone of seamless shooting experiences. In the realm of the unexpected, the dry bag, selfie stick, and lensball inject spontaneity and creativity into the photographic journey.
Photo editing software, led by Adobe’s dynamic duo, opens the gateway to a world where raw captures transform into visual symphonies. While Lightroom and Photoshop lead the charge, alternatives like Capture One, DxO PhotoLab, and Luminar offer unique canvases for creative expression.
In conclusion, the evolution of my travel photography gear mirrors the dynamic interplay between technology, creativity, and personal exploration. Each piece of equipment is a brushstroke on the canvas of my visual narratives, capturing the essence of diverse landscapes, cultures, and moments. As technology advances and new frontiers beckon, the journey remains an ongoing quest for the perfect frame, the elusive light, and the untold story waiting to be unveiled.
Travel Photography Gear FAQs
1. How can I begin my journey into travel photography?
Embark on your travel photography journey by embracing spontaneity and exploring diverse locations. Consider starting with a reliable camera, even a smartphone, and gradually invest in more advanced gear as your passion grows.
2. What role does photography play in travel experiences?
Photography is a powerful means of preserving the essence of your travels. Each photograph becomes a storytelling tool, capturing emotions, cultural nuances, and the beauty of different places. It allows you to revisit moments and share stories that transcend borders.
3. What are essential camera bodies for travel photography?
Depending on preferences and budget, consider versatile and compact camera bodies like mirrorless options (e.g., Sony A7 series, Canon EOS R series) for high-quality images. Compact and innovative options like the Panasonic Lumix GX8 are also excellent for portability.
4. Which lenses are recommended for travel photography?
Invest in a variety of lenses for versatility. A wide-angle lens (e.g., 16-35mm) is great for landscapes, a medium zoom lens (e.g., 24-70mm) offers flexibility, and a telephoto lens (e.g., 100-400mm) is ideal for distant subjects.
5. What special equipment enhances travel photography?
Include gear like action cameras (e.g., GoPro) for extreme activities, compact cameras (e.g., Sony RX100) for discretion, drones (e.g., DJI Mavic Pro) for aerial perspectives, and accessories like a dry bag for protecting equipment in unpredictable weather.
6. What camera accessories are essential for travel photographers?
Essential accessories include comfortable camera straps, a durable camera bag that accommodates all gear, lens filters for image quality, tripods for stability, wireless remotes for convenience, and spare batteries and memory cards to ensure uninterrupted shooting.
7. How necessary is post-processing in travel photography?
Post-processing, done through software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, enhances the quality of images and allows for adjustments to exposure, colour balance, and sharpness, unlocking the full potential of RAW captures.
8. How to handle airport security checks with camera gear?
Carry your camera gear in a well-padded bag and be prepared to remove it during security checks. Consider getting a TSA-approved lock for added security, and always check airline regulations for specific guidelines on carrying photography equipment.
9. Is investing in high-end camera bodies for quality travel photos necessary?
While high-end cameras offer advanced features, you can capture stunning travel photos with mid-range or entry-level cameras. The key is to understand your camera’s capabilities and master the art of composition and lighting.
10. How to click engaging travel photos?
Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Use leading lines to draw attention and pay attention to framing. Capture candid moments to add authenticity to your shots. The rule of thirds is a classic composition technique that often works wonders.
Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API