Travel Photography Gear
This article provides an in-depth guide on the essential equipment for travel photography. It could offer tips for choosing the right equipment based on portability, durability, and image quality.
Whether you’re new to travel photography or a veteran in the field, gaining an external perspective of essential equipment and its schematics is always valuable. By keeping up with trends in the field and seeing the gears other travel photographers use and value the most, you can broaden the scope of your knowledge and gain insights into new innovations and best practices.
In this article, you’ll discover what Travel Photography is, who a Travel Photographer is, Travel Photography Tips, the gear needed for Travel Photography, and the skills needed to become a Travel Photographer.
What Is Travel Photography?
Travel photography is a form or genre of photography that captures events, historical buildings, landscapes, people, etc, in a specific place or destination, i.e., it captures the story of a place. It is a term used to describe the types of photographs that are taken while traveling. The objective of a travel photographer is to capture his or her adventures and experiences through the lens of a camera for documentation for future purposes.
Also Read: Tips for Taking Instagram-Worthy Photos.
On this note, who is a Travel Photographer?
A travel photographer is a professional who works in various industries, photographically capturing different geographic locations, cultures, and customs. Travel photographers typically work as freelancers or for a company and take photographs of certain events or experiences.
Travel Photography Tips
You should remember a few things when shopping and packing for new gear.
- First, remember that travel photography involves a lot of traveling. Therefore, the lighter the load, the easier your movement will be. Sometimes, getting that perfect shot might mean hiking up a mountain or camping out for a while, and bringing heavy gear or equipment is not advisable. You don’t need too much gear if you’re a newbie or just starting out as a travel photographer. Start with a decent camera (a wide angle or all-round zoom lens) and a tripod.
- Second, taking good or perfect pictures does not depend solely on your travel photography gear alone. You need to consistently practice and grow by learning new skills.
Travel Photography Gear
As a newbie in travel photography, you might be confused about what gear to take with you during a travel shoot. Obviously, the lighter gear is preferable, and the most commonly used gear includes:
The first and most important gear is your Camera. Everything begins with choosing the right Camera. Without this, you’re probably just going on a tour instead of travel photography. There are many Cameras, but deciding on the perfect one for you isn’t easy, as it depends on your budget, preferences, and how much you are willing and ready to carry around. Some professional photographers may even take two Cameras, one with a wide lens and one with a long lens, to spare themselves the hassle of switching lenses. However, if you already know the type of pictures you want or are interested in capturing or are just starting out, it’s advisable to invest in and choose one high-quality Camera that is most suitable for you.
For example, the DSLR Camera captures crisp images in low-light situations. However, due to its bulky nature, it tends to be heavier than other cameras. Unlike the DSLR camera, the mirrorless camera doesn’t have a mirror inside and, therefore, can be lighter and smaller, which makes it preferable for travel photography.
But remember that the Camera is just a tool, and having a fantastic Camera doesn’t imply that your pictures will automatically be perfect. Getting that perfect picture depends on other factors like lighting, focus, composition, settings, etc.
A good Tripod is essential for a travel photographer, especially if you want to capture low-light situations or long-exposure shots. Your Tripod needs to be lightweight but sturdy enough to hold the Camera. Carbon Fiber Tripods are generally more expensive but are lighter and stronger than their Aluminum counterparts, which are not as sturdy but are less expensive. In other words, look for travel-friendly Tripods.
Certain effects are hard to obtain without proper Lens Filters. For example, when capturing/taking a shot of an Ocean, a Glacier, or a Waterfall, Lens Filters bring out the glare or reflection in the water or ice. When choosing Lens Filters, you must ensure they are adaptable to your lens. To do this, you check the diameter. There are a few types of Filters that are commonly bought during travel, viz:
- UV Filters: These Filters are indispensable when using a Film Camera. Without one, photos will have a blue tint after development. UV Filters are expensive, but they will protect your lenses from long-term damage/permanent damage even if you’re working digitally.
- Neutral Density (ND) Filters: They neutralize bright light to eliminate over-exposure, especially if you plan to create effects requiring wider aperture or slow shutter speed. Therefore, if you intend to shoot in the daytime, use a Neutral Density Filter. They are used for long-exposure shots to create motion blur, such as waterfalls.
- Circular Polarizing Filter (CPL): They eliminate sun flares in your shots, reduce the reflection and glare of water, and add color and contrast, especially to blues and greens. This makes post-production much easier, especially during editing or a time crunch.
- Multiple Memory Cards\ Hard Drives: Raw digital photos take up much space, and relying on local Wi-Fi for cloud storage while overseas is not advisable. Therefore, bringing a portable hard drive with large storage space during travel cannot be over-emphasized and is extremely important. Transferring your photos from your camera’s memory card to a laptop or portable hard drive with large storage space, e.g., 1TB, will save you a lot of trouble.
Others, which are auxiliary travel photography gear, include:
Investing in a good travel camera bag is essential for your travel photography gear. Your camera bag should be good quality, comfortable, lightweight, durable, and large enough to accommodate all your equipment. Depending on the situation, various camera bag types have their advantages. For example, small bags are better for crowded places such as Malls, Markets, Parks, etc. While large bags are more practical for hiking in the mountains or the wilderness, and since you’ll be carrying them around at all times, a backpack is preferable to a shoulder bag.
- Batteries: Always carry at least two fully charged batteries with you. Charging between shoots wastes time, so having at least two fully charged batteries is always advisable. This way, you can quickly swap out the batteries whenever one runs out.
- Laptop or Tablet: They are very useful for editing your pictures post-editing. Choose a laptop that is light but professional.
- External microphone: Your camera’s internal microphone won’t be sufficient if your focus as a travel photographer is on content creation, especially video creation. On this note, a compact external microphone is necessary for travel photography content creators and influencers.
- Outlet Adapters: At the end of your photo shoot, you’ll need to charge your batteries and Laptop or Tablet.
- Cleaning Materials and Weather Protection: When practicing travel photography, your gear will be exposed to dust, dirt, rain, UV rays, etc. Using proper cleaning materials and protective gear will prevent further damage, as taking good care of your camera equipment is a necessity if you want to get the most out of it.
Skills Needed To Become A Travel Photographer
- Flexibility: Improving flexibility can help you adapt to unexpected changes in your planned locations, events, and travel schedule. Flexibility enables you to complete your tasks accurately, effectively, and efficiently. Opportunities vary based on location, and being flexible will take you a long way. The more willing you are to travel or relocate quickly, the more travel photography opportunities you will have.
- Resilience: As a travel photographer, you must be organized, flexible, and adaptable to time constraints. .e.g., staying late or waking up earlier than usual to capture shots of a particular event, place, or person. As a travel photographer, you should also be prepared for delays, lost directions, language barriers, etc.
- Good Communication Skills: Outside your proficiency in photographic techniques, your ability to communicate effectively is essential to your success as a Travel Photographer. The ability to communicate with strangers and ask for directions in unfamiliar places will aid your growth as a Travel Photographer.
- Time Management: As a travel photographer, managing your time effectively and efficiently to increase productivity and establish your reputation is important. Effective time management involves strong organizational skills and controls how you divide and use your time.
- Attention to Details: This is vital when editing your images and aids your productivity level by reducing the occurrence or likelihood of errors. As a Travel Photographer, your attention to detail and recognition of potential areas for improvement can set you apart.
If you are an amateur travel photographer, content creator, or influencer, it is usually difficult to determine the best camera equipment or the necessary travel photography gear to bring with you. But even as an experienced photographer, it’s always wise to keep up-to-date with the newest travel photography equipment and learn what others use.