Travel and photography go so wonderfully together. Through the lens, you are challenged to capture the soul and the spirit of the places that you visit.
As we were packing our bags for our big trip to Madagascar, it inspired me to write this post about the essential items that you need for travel photography.
When you are travelling a lot, it’s really important to pack carefully, as you’ll have to carry everything around with you, which can get very heavy during long days exploring. But you also don’t want to pack too lightly and forget essential items.
Whist equipment never makes up for skill in photography, the following basic things are essential for travel photography in my opinion:
Camera batteries – and lots of them!
This may seem obvious and boring, but if you are seriously getting in to travel photography, having a supply of spare batteries is essential. Out in the wilderness you may not have the chance to charge your batteries and in cold weather battery life is greatly reduced. Make sure you have plenty of spare batteries so that you are never lift without power. There’s no point in having a camera if it has no power! If you are using your mobile as your main camera, then make sure that you have a spare power pack and your charger.
Just as with batteries, have more memory cards than you need. Especially for a long trip, instead of taking one large memory card, take a few smaller ones. If something happens to one of your cards, you will only lose a small amount of your images instead of everything.
A lightweight laptop and external hard drive
Now this may seem like overkill, but I like to be able to back up my images to an external hard drive as soon as possible to reduce the risk of any files getting lost/damaged.
A good camera bag to keep everything organised
Keeping your camera and accessories clean, dry and protected is vital if you want your equipment to last. In the bag you should also make sure you have appropriate cleaning materials should your camera get wet or dirty.
The following items are by no means things that you can’t live without in order to take great travel photos, however they can certainly be a great help and will allow you even more creative freedom:
As with many things in life, you get what you pay for! A good lightweight but sturdy tripod will enable you to get long exposure shots and will allow you to take time-lapse sequences.
Camera with Manual Mode
Having a manual mode, even on a compact point and shoot camera, will allow you much more control over the exposure of your images.
Neutral Density (ND) filters
Along with a tripod, ND filters reduce the amount of light entering the camera to allow you to use longer shutter speeds without overexposing the image.
If your camera takes interchangeable lenses, you might want to consider a wide angle lens if you are interested in landscape photography or a telephoto lens if you would like to take wildlife shots. Most DSLRs come with a wide angled zoom lens, usually an 18-55mm. A suitable first telephoto lens would be something like a 70-200mm to give you a good range of focal lengths.
If you camera equipment is worth a few hundred or more, make sure that it’s covered in your insurance policy. If not, you might want to consider a separate insurance policy for it.
If you would like to improve your travel photography, check out my online course which is currently on sale for just €9 and start learning today.