Photography Equipment Essentials for Travel Blogging
By : Eva Chung -
Photography is a great way to capture memories and share them quickly. I love being able to show friends and family the travels that I’ve gone on and seeing places I want to go next. However, living vicariously never matches up to seeing and experiencing things in person, but it does get pretty close with some basic photography equipment!
To get the best content, I have a variety of photography equipment essentials that I use listed in this post. But to be clear, you don’t need to best equipment to get the best photos or videos. It does improve the quality, but there’s no need to buy the most high-end products. It’s the photographer that makes the photos great.
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Obviously, the first thing you need is a camera. Get one that suits your needs and budget. It can be a phone or simple point and shoot for quick snapshots to remember memories, or a more heavy duty one like a DSLR that can shoot in RAW and give you more editing capabilities. This is what I have in my camera kit:
Canon EOS Rebel T4i
I’ve had this camera in my photography equipment pack for years. I bought it in 2012 and it’s served me up until now and many years to come. I’ve brought it to all my travel destinations and even use it to film my Youtube videos. A lot of better cameras have been released and I would like to upgrade eventually, but it’s currently not in my budget. If you’re looking for a similar camera, I’d recommend the Canon EOS Rebel T6i because you can connect your phone to it to use it as a remote. That means no need to re-buy a camera remote every time the battery runs out!
These are some lenses that are good for starting out. You don’t need all 3 at once. I bought them over time because they can get pricey. However, having all 3 in your photography equipment kit are good for covering some general bases.
18-135mm Kit Lens– This is the lens most cameras come with if you buy a set. It’s very flexible and can get many different kinds of shots. It’s also useful because you can zoom in quite a lot so there isn’t a need to walk up to whatever you’re photographing. It’s no wonder it comes in a camera set, because it’s one of the most versatile lens.
50mm f/1.4 Prime Lens– If you’re looking for a lot of depth of field with bokeh, this is the perfect lens. You can get a really crisp foreground in contrast to the blurred background with this lens. The only downside is that you have to stand quite far from the subject. I also find that because it is f/1.4, it is able to let in a lot on light, making it great for taking photos in more dimmer areas.
10-18mm Wide Angle Lens– This is great to add into your travel photography equipment for photos in more confined or busy areas. You’re able to get more into the viewfinder without the photo looking too fish-eyed if you set it to max wide angle. This has also become one of my favourite lenses for travel and fashion photography because I can take a photo of the subject, while still being emphasized on the architecture or environment. As a plus, you can also get really long looking legs with this lens!
Accessories are something that usually get neglected. Although they may not be 100% necessary, they do come in handy in terms of comfort, flexibility, and emergencies, so they’re a must for photography equipment!
Neck and Shoulder Straps– The starter strap is never comfortable. It can cut into your neck, isn’t padded, and just screams the brand name from a mile away. If you’ll be carrying the camera on you a lot instead of in your backpack, I’d highly recommend investing in a comfortable and padded one to add to your photography equipment. You won’t regret it.
Polarizing Filter– Nobody likes washed out photos. Everyone loves to see the details and vibrant colours. If you’ve ever seen reflective water, it’s beautifully detailed with ripples and dimensional hues of blue. However, when you go to take the photo, you’ll find it can look very washed out and with a lot of the white reflections on the water instead of the deep blues. Having a polarizing filter can get rid of that and take more rich photos. Just make sure to check the size of your lens to ensure it will fit!
Lens Cleaning Kit– This is something overlooked, that people usually don’t think to bring around. I brought mine around because it’s so compact and fits easily into my travel backpack. This is one of the photography equipment items I didn’t think i’d end up using often, but we often found ourselves using it a lot in more dusty areas like the Grand Canyon. We had to clean out our sensors often on location because of all the lens switching.
Rode Video Mic Pro– My Canon T4i doesn’t have a very good in-camera microphone. I found myself needing to buy an external one. Without one, the audio is very static-like and just not high quality enough to my standards. With an external mic, you can control the sound a lot more and get a clearer audio file. This microphone was great for it’s price.
Dead Cat– It’s a strange name, I know. It’s the fuzzy cover many videographers have on their camera. It can range in sizes depending on if it’s for a built-in microphone or an external one like the Rode Video Mic Pro. The ones pictures above do not fit into a Rode Video Mic pro. It acts as a wind filter for the audio. That means no more ear-killing wind gusts in your audio!
Gimbal– This is a pricey one to add toy our photography equipment. It’s mainly used for videography and getting smooth, cinematic shots. The gimbal above is a fairly ‘light’ one, but the weight can take a toll over time if you’re not used to carrying a lot of equipment. On the plus side, it’s very compact and can fit into majority of camera bags with ease. If you plan on buying a Gimbal, I’d also highly recommend buying a stand. It will make balancing the camera on it much easier. The stand pictures above is not intended for gimbals, so may not hold it up securely, but it looks similar to that.
Travel Camera Bag– Specifically, I have a Caden backpack. It’s a little pricey if you’ve never bought a backpack meant for cameras, but it’s well worth it. If you aren’t carrying it for camera gear, you can slide out the bottom, push the padded velcro flap down, and convert it into a regular backpack. Otherwise, it’s great for pulling electronics out from the side at the airport when traveling. If you have a 15 inch laptop like me, it’ll be a tight fit, but it will fit nice and securely in the laptop section. I’ve gotten so much use out of this that I don’t regret buying this at all. If it’s not for you, I have some other suggestions above that you might want to put your photography equipment in!
Extra Batteries– Just incase you forget, these are a must. Make sure the batteries are correct for your camera before you buy them! On trips, you’d think your battery would last, but sometimes the life will deteriorate without you noticing because of the frequent uses. It’s just all around better to have 2-3 spares in your photography equipment arsenal.
GoPro Hero 5
This camera was purchased for travelling so I could use it underwater and for vlogging. The Canon T4i doesn’t have very good audio when taking videos and can get heavy if I bring the microphone with me, so a second camera was necessary. However, I have read reviews that this camera claims to be waterproof up until a certain depth, but still potentially gets water inside. So to be safe, I did also buy a waterproof case.
With every GoPro, you need some accessories for it to latch onto. Here are some that I own, but just choose whichever you think you’ll be using for your action or casual shots.
Waterproof case– As mentioned before, my Go Pro Hero 5 claims to be waterproof to a certain depth, but reviews state otherwise. Instead of risking it, I bought a waterproof case.
Dome– I didn’t find out about the existence of this until after our Puerto Rico trip. This is great for when you’re going to tropical locations or places with water and want a half underwater and above water shot. It adds a great dynamic to photo taking. I’d definitely recommend adding this to your photography equipment arsenal.
Extension Stick– Otherwise known as a selfie stick, but for Go-Pros. In busy areas, it’s nice to suspend above the crowd as you walk so it doesn’t get in the way of you walking, or anyone else, as long as you hold the handle to your chest.
Head mount– This is mainly for those who love action-looking shots and hands-free recording. It’s simply a mount or attachment you can put on a helmet. Alternatively, you could get a head strap and put it directly on your head. This is a great addition to your photography equipment.
Waterproof Handle– I didn’t think I’d use this as often as I did, but it’s a nice sense of security when using your Go Pro underwater. The handle is hollow, so you don’t have to worry about dropping your camera, having it sink, and losing it forever. It just floats on the water’s surface. It’s also nice to have a grip and strap when swimming instead of grasping the camera in your palms. You’ll often find these coupled into other Go-pro accessory sets for cheap, so it might be more bang for your buck if you bought a set instead of buying this individually or your photography equipment.
What’s in your photography equipment bag?
Want to see what types of travel photos my photography equipment produces? Check these out:
- How to Get the Best View in Split, Croatia
- 16 Instagram Worthy Places on Texas Tech University
- 4 Days of Activities in Puerto Rico
Also follow me on Instagram @itsevachung to see more photos!