Last updated on April 4th, 2023
Travel photography is a passion that has grown exponentially in recent years, and you’ll need the essential travel photography gear if you want to pursue this hobby or career. Whether it’s the National Geographic photography or the Instagram style, capturing the beauty and emotion of distant places has become a hobby for many.
Over 1 billion people travel internationally annually. And since nearly everyone takes photos, these same international travelers can be considered travel photographers.
But you need the right travel photography gear to take epic photos in any part of the world. But what exactly makes the list of the best travel photography equipment?
As a passionate traveler, I’ve researched and compiled a list of must-have equipment. From cameras and lenses to tripods and lights, here’s what you need to take amazing pictures wherever you go.
Best Travel Photography Gear Guide
Are you ready to explore the world through your lens? Travel photography is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable hobbies out there. It allows you to capture stunning moments and create art that will last a lifetime.
But before you start snapping away, it’s vital to ensure you have all the right gear for your journey.
From cameras and lenses to tripods, filters, bags, and more — here is a comprehensive travel photography gear list so that you can be prepared for any situation.
First, let’s start with the camera itself. While there are many great travel cameras on the market, I highly recommend investing in a quality DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera or a mirrorless system.
They give you more control over your settings when shooting manually.
They also have interchangeable lenses that allow you to capture almost any scene — from landscapes to portraits and everything in between. Read our camera buying guide for more information.
Recommended Travel Camera: Nikon Z6 II
Equipped with a 24.5-megapixel BSI-CMOS sensor and 14 fps continuous shooting, this robust full-frame digital camera captures sharp details and vibrant colors in any environment.
The large 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD makes it easy to preview shots on the go or share them instantly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
With its array of versatile lenses, you’ll be able to take breathtaking shots from every angle and capture special moments like professional travel photographers do.
Whether going on an adventure or documenting your daily life, the Nikon Z6 II will become an essential part of your travel photography gear list.
The next item on our essential travel photography gear list should be wide-angle and telephoto zoom lenses.
These are great for shooting sweeping landscapes and, depending on the situation, can also capture close-up details of things like architecture or wildlife. I recommend using either an 18–35mm lens or an ultra-wide angle 10–18mm lens for maximum versatility for landscapes and at least 70-200mm for telephoto shots.
Recommended Lens: Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Lens
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens is the perfect choice for amateur and professional travel photographers who need flexibility and versatility when shooting in different environments. It also pairs well with the Nikon Z6 II camera.
The lens features an impressive zoom range from 24mm to 200mm, making it ideal for capturing distant subjects or vast landscapes.
It also has a fast autofocus speed with advanced vibration reduction technology that helps reduce blur and camera shake while taking handheld photos or video; this allows you to capture crisp, clear images even in low light settings.
Whether you’re shooting landscapes, nature scenes, sports events, or anything else on your journey, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens will ensure you get the shot.
3. Lens Hood
Whether you’re a professional photographer or someone who loves to capture memories, a lens hood is an essential accessory for anyone shooting on the go.
The purpose of a lens hood is to provide shade from the sun, wind, and rain, which can all affect the quality of your photographs.
Moreover, lens hoods are designed with flares in mind, removing lens flares that create blurs and shadows in your photos.
Add in the fact that they are lightweight and easy to store and transport, and it’s no wonder the professionals working remotely always have one with them.
Investing in a lens hood might be your best decision regarding travel photography.
Some lenses come with a lens hood, whereas others need to be purchased separately.
4. Lens Filters
For any budding travel photographer, a lens filter is an ideal accessory to capture stunning images on your journey.
Various filters, from those that create special effects to those blocking out specific light frequencies, can help you achieve the perfect look for your image.
You’ll appreciate the UV protection, which prevents sunlight from burning out detail and helps preserve all those precious memories you’ve captured on film, making sure they last a lifetime — even in harsh sunshine.
Not only will a lens filter improve the quality of pictures taken in any location, but it will also add versatility to your creative repertoire and can be used with different lenses for great results — give it a go and see just how diverse shots can look when using different filters.
With such an affordable item helping to ensure your happy snaps make lifelong keepsakes, adding a filter to your kit is an excellent idea for any travel photographer.
If you’re interested in long-exposure photography and want to blur the water or the sky, K&F Concept makes some awesome neutral density filters at a reasonable price.
5. SD Card
Size matters when choosing an SD card for those epic travel photography sessions.
A high-end SD card with a minimum capacity of 64GB helps ensure that your photos are always safely stored and won’t be lost due to a lack of space or other technical issues. Spending the extra money on a giant card also allows you to take more images without feeling restricted by limited memory.
These cards come equipped with next-level write and read speeds, making them perfect for traveling photographers who only have time to wait for slow file transfers.
Investing in a quality 64GB SD card is worth the money — you will have photos saved safely, and you’ll be able to capture every moment while expressing yourself creatively.
6. Camera and Lens Clean Kit
Regarding travel photography, the last thing you want is a spotty image that does not do the moment justice.
A camera and lens cleaning kit on hand should be an essential item on your travel photography gear list. This will ensure that you always capture great shots no matter the conditions, as you can quickly remove dust and dirt from your lenses or sensors.
Furthermore, keeping a kit with you when traveling will help guarantee head-turning photos while giving yourself peace of mind knowing that your equipment is clean and dust-free.
One piece of gear that you should consider investing in is a tripod. A tripod will help you take more stable photos and make it easier to capture the perfect image.
Let’s dive into why a tripod is vital for travel photography and how to choose the right one for you.
Stability is key when taking pictures on the go, especially when capturing landscapes or long exposure shots. If your camera isn’t properly stabilized, it can cause blurry or distorted images, which no photographer wants.
With a tripod, you can ensure that your camera stays still while allowing you to adjust to different angles and heights. This way, you have more control over the composition of your shot without having to worry about wobbling or shaking while shooting.
Additionally, tripods allow you to take longer exposures and use slower shutter speeds which can be great for creating motion blur or low-light photography.
When selecting a tripod for travel photography, several factors need to be taken into consideration, such as weight, size, and material type.
First, you want to pick one lightweight but sturdy enough so that it won’t sway in windy conditions or vibrate too much when shooting handheld.
Additionally, it should be compact enough so that it won’t take up too much space in your bag yet is still extendable enough to get the perfect angle for each shot.
Lastly, depending on what type of environment you’ll be shooting in (indoors vs outdoors) will determine what material type you need; aluminum tripods are usually better suited for outdoor use, while carbon fiber tripods are better suited for indoor use because they absorb vibrations better than aluminum ones do.
Recommended Tripod: Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod
The Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is the perfect solution for travelers looking for an ultra-portable, lightweight, and compact tripod.
Weighing only 1.29kg (2.81lbs), this tripod is highly portable and easy to transport.
The carbon fiber construction ensures strength without adding bulky weight, and its 4-section legs make it easier to adjust the height with minimal effort.
Its secure and adjustable ball head provides a firm grip on the camera, making it ideal for even the most demanding photography needs thematic mapping sessions.
With quick setup times, you can be up and shooting in no time, making this tripod perfect for photographers of any skill level who are always on the go.
8. Camera Backpack
Next up in our travel photography gear guide is a camera backpack, as it provides easy access to your equipment, plenty of space for all the necessary items, and comfortable cushioning to protect your belongings while moving.
Not only that, optimal weight distribution ensures that you won’t be weighed down while trekking or shooting under challenging environments.
A dedicated backpack designed specifically for travel photography will ensure you have everything you need when you’re out on the road chasing that perfect shot.
Recommended Backpack: Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack
The McKinnon Camera Pack is the perfect mix of utility and style, making it the ideal travel companion for any photographer. This 35-liter bag expands up to 42 liters, providing plenty of storage space for your DSLRs, lenses, clothes, and other essentials.
It also fits a 16-inch MacBook Pro, so you can easily edit on the go. The adjustable harness ensures comfort during any trek, while durable materials guarantee your belongings will stay safe even in harsh conditions.
Whether exploring far-flung locations or just taking a stroll around town, this backpack has everything you need to snap stunning shots and tell stories.
You can also purchase a camera backpack under $100.
9. Speedlite (optional)
Suppose you’re a travel photographer looking to raise your game to the next level. In that case, a camera Speedlite is an excellent way to add a professional touch.
With a powerful built-in flash and adjustable power settings, Speedlites can freeze motion and fill in dark shadows on your photos, creating dramatic images that draw viewers in.
Speedlites can also be used creatively for off-camera flash and light painting techniques, giving you more options for experimentation when shooting on location. So, investing in a Speedlite is the ticket for those who want to take their travel photography to the next level.
10. Laptop (optional but recommended)
A laptop is a vital component of a successful photo shoot.
The laptop offers an easy way to organize and edit photos for high-quality results on-demand, and it can also provide gear needs such as extra storage to back up photos or programs for creating slideshows and watermarking your work.
With more people traveling than ever, having a laptop in tow will help create memorable photoshoots you can show off during your travels — and beyond. Read our guide of the top laptops for photography.
Alternatively, you can transfer images from your camera to your smartphone to edit images. This method saves space in your carry-on luggage and makes your travels more lightweight.
11. Cloud Storage (optional but essential)
A cloud-based storage solution is ideal for storing, sharing, and collaborating travel photos.
With cloud storage, you can access your photos from anywhere in the world with an internet connection, eliminating the need for external hard drives.
It also provides a secure environment to back up your photos so that you don’t have to worry about losing anything while you’re away from home. Unfortunately, tourists are targets for theft, especially in developing nations. Uploading your photos to the cloud at the night’s end helps secure your travel images.
In short, cloud storage is essential for any serious traveler photographer who wants ultimate control of their digital library. And you should consider investing in cloud storage for your photos.
If you don’t travel with a laptop, you can use your smartphone to upload your photos to the cloud, and some cameras also have built-in apps to support this.
The Ultimate Guide to Minimalist Travel Photography Gear
As a minimalist travel photographer, you know the right gear’s importance. But when it comes to packing for a trip, it takes time to decide what is essential and what can be left behind.
Fortunately, with the proper knowledge and advice, you can have all the photography gear you need at an affordable price, even everything, at less than $1000. Let’s break down what you need to be successful while traveling.
Use a Mirrorless Camera
Mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly popular for travel photographers because they are lightweight and compact compared to DSLR cameras.
Additionally, many mirrorless cameras offer excellent image quality at a fraction of the cost of a DSLR camera.
You can find mirrorless cameras for under $1000 that come with all the features necessary for excellent travel photography, such as autofocus and built-in stabilization.
Lens Options For Minimalist Travel Photographers
When choosing lenses for travel, one should remember that less is more.
You only want to carry around several heavy lenses if you have to.
A standard zoom or all-in-one lens should provide enough range for your needs while on the road.
If you’re looking to save even more space in your bag, consider investing in an ultra-wide angle lens or a prime lens — both options will save weight while still providing quality images for landscape photography.
SD Card Storage Solutions
SD cards are relatively inexpensive these days, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem getting a decent 64GB SD card for under $20 (or even cheaper). With this storage capacity, you’ll take hundreds of photos without worrying about running out of room on your memory card.
And by using multiple cards, you won’t have to worry about losing your photos if something happens to one card during your travels.
Tripod & Camera Bag
A tripod is another essential piece of equipment for any travel photographer’s arsenal; it will help steady shots when taking pictures in low light conditions, but it can also help stabilize video footage.
Fortunately, plenty of tripods are available under $100; make sure that it has enough stability and flexibility for your particular needs before making a purchase.
Additionally, invest in a camera backpack that fits all your equipment while also being lightweight and comfortable — camera backpack prices can typically be bought for less than $100, depending on the desired size and features.
Regarding minimalist travel photography gear, quality can come at a lower price.
By carefully selecting which items are essential and focusing on budget-friendly options without sacrificing quality images or durability, anyone who loves taking pictures on their travels can enjoy their journey without breaking the bank
With this guide as a starting point, plus some research into potential discounts, you should have no problems finding everything you need at reasonable prices.
With the right gear, travel photography becomes easy and fun — no matter where your journey takes you. So make sure to invest in quality equipment before embarking on your next trip, and get ready to capture some fantastic memories.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you travel with photography gear?
Traveling with photography gear can be daunting, but with the right equipment, it can be a breeze. One option is to use a dedicated travel backpack such as the Nomatic McKinnon Camera Pack.
This sleek backpack protects your precious camera gear with its padded compartments and offers easy access to your belongings with its innovative organization system.
With comfortable straps and a stylish design, this backpack is perfect for any travel photographer.
Is an iPhone enough for travel photography?
When capturing your travel memories, an iPhone can suffice for minimalist travel photography. With the latest models boasting multiple camera lenses and advanced editing tools, you can easily snap and edit photos on the go.
However, if you’re looking to capture intricate details of the night sky, wildlife, or landscapes in high dynamic range, you should invest in a more advanced camera system.
Ultimately, whether an iPhone is enough for travel photography depends on your preference and style. But remember to underestimate the power of your smartphone — with a bit of creativity and some basic photography skills, you can capture stunning travel memories using just your iPhone.
What lenses should a travel photographer have?
A wide-angle and telephoto zoom lens are two must-have lenses for any travel photographer.
A wide-angle lens allows for capturing sweeping landscapes and cityscapes, while a telephoto zoom lens allows for closer shots of subjects in the distance.
However, an all-in-one lens could be the solution if you want to carry only one lens. With an all-in-one, you can have the versatility of both lenses from one compact and easy-to-use piece of equipment. Whether you go with separate lenses or an all-in-one, having the right lenses is crucial for any travel photographer looking to capture stunning and dynamic images.
Liya Kravchenkin is an experienced portrait photographer. She has worked with clients worldwide and has even traveled to more than 50 countries. Liya loves photography because it allows her to capture a moment that can never be repeated. Liya also enjoys traveling, learning about new cultures, and seeing the world’s unique natural wonders. Her favorite travel memories are from swimming with dolphins in the Galapagos and eating cheesecake in New York City.