Essential Travel Photography Gear List

Posted on August 09, 2018 by Helen Oakes | 0 comments

You’ve booked your long anticipated holiday and now you need to decide what to take with you on your travels. Pack too much and you are weighed down lugging gear around that you may not even need. Pack too little and you are caught short when you want to get that amazing sunset or travel shot.

Your bags are packed and you’re winging your way to your destination. Oh wait, did you charge your camera batteries, do you have a charger and plenty of memory cards? With a bit of careful planning you can prepare for that once in a lifetime holiday and get some amazing photos.

You don’t need to carry the kitchen sink and take a tonne of gear. You’re traveling, so light weight is best. Carry these essential items to capture your holiday memories.

Essential Gear:
  • Camera:
    Whether you take a DSLR, mirror-less camera or a compact, take the camera you know best. Remember the camera you have with you is the best camera for the job. You don’t want to be fiddling around trying to figure out how to operate your camera when you are already traveling. In addition, a top end camera doesn’t always translate to perfect photos, it is the composition, focus, lighting and lens that will make or break a photo.
  • Camera Bag:
    If you have a large DSLR then you may invest in a camera bag that can fit not only your camera gear but some clothing too. Most airlines allow you up to 7 kgs as carry on. Don’t make your carry on camera bag too heavy though as having to place this bag in stowage is not a good option and is likely to cause you damage with a broken camera or bag.

    Some good travel bag options are Think Tank or Lowepro. These bags come in large and small sizes and all sorts of designs so will suit most travelers.
  • Camera Strap:
    It is definitely worth investing in a good quality camera strap. Peak Design make wrist straps so you can keep hold of your camera at all times. You hook the wrist strap over your wrist and you are ready to shoot at a moments notice. Plus the camera will be safe in your hand or securely hanging on your wrist. If you prefer to put your camera over your shoulder then Blackrapid have a good range of shoulder straps for many uses.

  • Lenses:
    A workhorse lens that covers wide-angle to mid-range is a great travel lens. A 24-70mm or 18-55mm depending on your camera model, is a good starting point. With these ranges you will capture landscapes at the wide end and portraiture at the 70mm range.

    Sydney Harbour Bridge
    Carrying a zoom lens will cover subjects you want to get in close to without being obtrusive. I would recommend 70-200mm or the 70-300mm telephoto if you want more range. These lenses cover a broad range of situations and should be enough for most occasions. You can always use your legs and get closer if you have a shorter lens. 

  • Memory Cards & Card Reader
    16GB and 32GB memory cards are great sizes to travel with. What size cards you take with you will also depend on the format you are shooting in. RAW are much larger files therefore they will take up more space on your memory card.

    Depending on whether you are downloading your images or not while you are traveling, you may choose to take lots of memory cards or alternatively you can take a small portable hard drive. I generally use a memory card a day so I budget for this when traveling.

    If you are downloading your images to your laptop you will need a card reader to transfer them. I have the Silicon USB 3.O All-In-One Cardreader.
  • Batteries & Charger
    Take at least 2 or 3 batteries with you so you can charge on the go and have a battery in your camera. You will also need a battery charger and a power plug that fits the voltage of the country you are visiting.

  • Lens Cleaning Kit:
    If you keep a lens cleaning cloth, some wet wipes & a lens blower in your bag you should be covered for most situations. I sometimes get caught short without having my cleaning cloth with me as I take it out of my bag too often. There is nothing worse than a dirty lens that you can’t clean and then you have to spend time post processing dirt spots off your images.

  • Small Tripod
    Invest in a small tripod and you won’t regret it. When you need to eliminate camera shake for long exposures or evening shots you will need a good tripod. Gorilla Pods are great for hard to balance spots and uneven ground. They are small and compact and don’t take up much space.

    Evening shot at Manly
    If you want something a little sturdier to support a DSLR, you can’t go past Manfrotto Tripods. The high end Manfrotto tripods can be heavy but they are built to last. 
  • External Hard Drive
    If you want to download your images and  have limited memory card space, a hard drive is great to store you photos on and to use as a backup. The Seagate Backup 2TB External Hard Drive is what I carry around with me. This drive is amazingly thin and lightweight and great for when you are traveling. 

Extra accessories:

  • Cable Release
  • Flash
  • Cellphone 

In conclusion:

Packing for travel can be a daunting task. Do you have everything you need or have you packed too much? Take these 10 essential photography items and you will have your bases covered. This list can be added to once you have already traveled and you’ve worked out what you have used and what you may need for your next trip. It is often trial and error but this is a good starting point.

If there is anything you think should be added, please let me know your thoughts.


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