Traveling is absolutely marvelous. Capturing those unforgettable moments and breathtaking vistas through photography is the ultimate means of preserving and sharing those memories. I’m frequently asked about the camera gear I bring on my adventures, so I thought it would be worthwhile to share with you my favorite travel photography gear and a few invaluable tips for creating stunning vacation photos.
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I’m Sarah, and traveling is my ultimate passion. As a child, I embarked on adventures with my parents, later explored the world with friends, and in recent years, my partner has become my travel companion-in-crime. Wherever I journeyed, my camera was a constant companion, capturing images of anything that caught my eye. These photographs became the gateway to reliving those remarkable moments.
This drive led me to immerse myself in the captivating realm of photography. I learned the art through YouTube tutorials and enrolled in various courses, but the real key was simply dedicating myself to extensive practice and experimentation. This journey allowed me to bid adieu to my 9-to-5 job and step into the role of a photographer, capturing the most extraordinary destinations and unique accommodations.
In this blog, I’ll unveil my favorite travel photography gear.
My favorite travel photography gear
Camera and lenses
As a travel photographer, I rely on a full-frame mirrorless camera system to deliver the utmost in quality and versatility. My top camera choice is the Nikon Z6II. This camera impresses with its compact, lightweight design while consistently delivering outstanding performance across a range of conditions. Here’s a glimpse at some of my preferred lenses for capturing the essence of my travel adventures:
- Versatile lens: NIKKOR Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 – This lens serves as my workhorse and sees the most action during my travels. Covering a focal range from 24mm to 70mm, it’s the ideal choice for a wide variety of photography styles, whether it’s capturing landscapes, portraits, or street scenes. The f/2.8 aperture ensures crisp and vivid photos, even in challenging low-light scenarios.
- Wide-angle wonder: NIKKOR Z 14-24 mm f/2.8 – When it comes to architecture, interiors, and breathtaking landscapes, this wide-angle lens is an indispensable tool. Offering an ultra-wide-angle perspective and the same impressive f/2.8 aperture, it enables you to craft striking and dramatic compositions.
- Zoom magic: NIKKOR Z 70-200 mm f/2.8. – If you’re planning to document wildlife or distant subjects, this zoom lens is an absolute must-have. With its substantial telephoto reach and generous f/2.8 aperture, you can capture stunning close-up shots.
While I’m well-equipped, it’s important to note that you don’t need an extensive setup to take fantastic photos. I still use my smartphone, an iPhone. 15 Pro, which produces remarkable results. Smartphone cameras have made significant advancements in recent years. Furthermore, I employ my smartphone for creating video content, as short videos have become increasingly popular on social media. A smartphone is a convenient and lightweight tool for quickly producing high-quality video content, and apps like CapCut make it easy to craft compelling videos in no time.
Drone photography is absolutely exhilarating and is rapidly gaining prominence in the realm of travel photography. With the plethora of exceptional drones now available, equipped with top-tier cameras, you can effortlessly capture breathtaking aerial shots. The market offers a diverse range of drones, from budget-friendly beginner models to high-end professional machines. It’s essential to select a drone that aligns with your needs and skill level. For travel photography, it’s advantageous to have a lightweight drone, so keep an eye on its dimensions and weight.
I recently acquired a DJI Mini 3 Pro drone, and I must admit, I’m still in the process of mastering the art of piloting this remarkable device and capturing awe-inspiring footage.
Prior to embarking on a journey with your drone, it’s of paramount importance to familiarize yourself with the local laws and regulations pertaining to drone usage. Some countries have specific guidelines and restrictions, such as no-fly zones or permit requirements. Ensure strict adherence to these rules to preempt any potential issues.
Must have photography accessories
A tripod is indispensable for achieving stability, particularly during extended exposures, macro photography, or when creating time-lapse sequences. It ensures your camera remains perfectly still, effectively reducing vibrations and resulting in sharper images. I personally use a Sirui tripod, known for its lightweight and portable design.
When it comes to capturing video content for my social media platforms, I place my trust in my iPhone. The convenience and exceptional quality of today’s smartphone cameras are truly remarkable. During solo journeys, I always bring along my Joby GripTight GorillaPod PRO 2, a compact and versatile tripod that can be securely attached to almost any surface.
It’s essential to have an adequate supply of backup batteries, particularly during lengthy photoshoots or when you’re on the go. Running out of power halfway through a fantastic moment is the last thing you want. I always keep 2 extra batteries (Nikon EN-EL15c) on hand.
Bonus tip: When traveling, don’t leave home without a universal adapter universal travel adapter to ensure you can always charge your equipment.
Ensure you have ample storage for all your photos. Carrying multiple SD cards is a wise choice, especially if you’re planning to capture a substantial number of images.
The Nikon Z6II is equipped with two memory card slots, one for XQD cards and one for SD cards. I place my trust in Sony Professional XQD G series 120GB cards with an impressive speed of 440 MB/s for my XQD cards. I have two of these in my kit. As for SD cards, I prefer the Sandisk Extreme Pro 128 GB. Over time, I’ve amassed quite a collection of these. Prior to embarking on any journey, I ensure I have an ample supply of these cards for extra backup. I make it a practice to format my SD cards only after I’ve finished editing all the photos and have safely stored them in duplicate.
Beyond the essential equipment, the right camera bag is of paramount importance. A well-designed camera bag not only safeguards your camera and accessories but also keeps everything meticulously organized and readily accessible. Whether you favor a shoulder bag, backpack, or suitcase-style carrier, the appropriate camera bag guarantees secure and convenient transport for your gear, wherever your journey takes you. It stands as a practical addition to your photography kit. I personally own a variety of camera bags, and I select one based on the specific purpose at hand. When on the road, my go-to choices are often backpacks or shoulder bags.
An external hard drive is a vital component for safeguarding your precious photos. You wouldn’t want to risk losing all your images due to a malfunctioning memory card or unexpected events.
While I’m on my travels, I place my trust in the LaCie Rugged Mini 2TB external hard drive to seamlessly back up my photos each day. This ensures that I maintain a secondary copy of my files, both on the SD cards and on the external hard drive. As an added layer of security, I usually also save them in iCloud, just in case any mishaps befall my equipment.
After capturing your photos, the editing process often plays a crucial role in photography. I personally rely on the Adobe Creative Cloud, which provides access to both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
For those who are not yet well-versed in photo editing, I highly recommend investing in Lightroom presets. In simple terms, presets are like photo filters that can be applied to a photo to give it a more professional appearance. They come pre-loaded with adjustments created by the preset’s creator. Over the years, I’ve developed my own presets that I use for editing all my travel photos. This not only saves me a significant amount of time but also ensures that I don’t have to start from scratch. I’m more than happy to share these presets with you! You can find my Lightroom preset collection here.
Tips for amazing vacation photos
Now that you’re acquainted with my favorite travel photography gear, I’d like to share some valuable tips to help you capture breathtaking vacation photos:
- Plan your shots in advance: Before setting out on your journey, create a list of the places you want to visit and the types of photos you want to capture. This planning will enable you to use your time and gear effectively.
- Play with lighting: Lighting can be a game-changer in photography. During the early morning and late afternoon, often referred to as the golden hour, the light is soft and warm, resulting in stunning photos. Don’t hesitate to experiment with backlighting and shadows.
- Mind your composition: Think about the composition of your photos. Techniques such as the rule of thirds and symmetry can help you create compelling and well-balanced images.
- Embrace patience: Don’t rush to snap a photo. Take your time to observe your surroundings and wait for the perfect moment. Sometimes, the most remarkable shots come to those who are patient.
- Edit your photos: Photo editing is a potent tool for taking your images to the next level. If you seek a quick and effortless editing process, consider using Lightroom presets.
If you want to learn more about travel photography and discover my top tips, I recommend checking out my e-book, where I share all my secrets and insights. Above all, don’t forget to have fun during your journey and enjoy every moment!
May you have a wonderful and successful time capturing your next adventure. Traveling offers the ultimate chance to experience and immortalize unforgettable moments. I trust that this blog will provide you with a better understanding of the travel photography gear you need.
Do you have any questions about my travel photography gear? Let me know in the comments below.
Thank you for reading.