Travel Blogger Photography: What’s In My Camera Bag?
One of the most frequently asked questions over on my Instagram account is about my photography gear and which camera and lens I use the most when travelling. Naturally, I decided to put everything in a blog post for you guys, to explain what exactly I use as well as how and why I use it. Travel blogger photography has sure come a long way since the days we all just snapped selfies on beaches in Thailand and I’m all for it. It is, after all, one of the most beautiful ways to capture a moment, a culture or an experience and there are certainly many of those when travelling.
While travel blogger photography and editing is a large part of what I do, I still wouldn’t call myself a professional photographer. I’m still learning, we all are. I would definitely call myself a self-taught photographer and what I know today I’ve learned from various blogs, YouTube videos and friends. Let me know in the comments below if you’d like me to share some more resources.
I started my travel blogger photography journey with a very limited budget and used the equipment I could find around me until I was committed enough to invest in the best equipment. If you’re really interested in photography and your goal really is to take some of the best travel photos possible, invest in the best equipment you can afford. It pays off because let’s be honest, the world of photography is saturated and if you want your work to be noticed you’ll need to take the best pictures you possibly can.
I also want to mention that you don’t need ALL the gear. To get started and even to take your photography to the next level all you need is one camera body and one lens. While you’ll find a lot of different equipment in other travel photographer’s bags I like to keep things simple and carry around just what I need and use.
Yes, I’d love underwater housing for my camera but is there any point lugging it around the world with me when I’d use it just a handful of times a year? Probably not.
Anyway, without further blabbing, here’s a very detailed list of everything that’s in my camera bag from my main camera body to all the accessories I use.
*This ‘travel blogger photography’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top quality content for free.
My previous gear: I didn’t always start out with the equipment I have now and this was just an upgrade that we made this year. Prior to shooting with Sony I used a Nikon 750D with the Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 and Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 . This gear was actually a hand-me-down from my dad as he upgraded to lighter equipment. I shot with this camera for a good three years and most of my content pre-2020 was actually shot on the Nikon 750D. I believe Nikon no longer make this model but the Nikon 850D is a great, similar option- in fact, it is a little better.
Right now I use the Sony a7Riii. I’ve had this camera on my bucket list for such a long time and I finally managed to get it in New York this year. This is a mirrorless, full-frame, high-resolution camera and one of the best in the Alpha series for resolution. At 42.4 megapixels the resolution is amazing and it has one of the best autofocus of any camera on the market meaning it can quickly focus onto any moving wildlife or sports scene.
As a mirrorless camera the body itself is much lighter than reflex camera bodies (the lenses make it heavy) and it’s also smaller and less bulky. If I had a smaller lens I could easily fit this camera into a small handbag or purse.
My only qualm with this camera is the focus joystick which I find quite stiff and difficult to use sometimes. I have missed a few shots in the past because of this because I haven’t been able to get the focus right fast enough. All in all, though it is probably the best camera I’ve ever used and I’m more than happy with it. It’s probably not the best entry-level camera and it costs a pretty penny but for me, the spend has totally transformed by photography.
At the moment I use just two lenses. They are both good quality, heavy lenses which is why I only have two- I probably wouldn’t be comfortable carrying more with me in a backpack all day. The lens that I use the most, or my main lens is the Sigma Art 24-70mm f/2.8. This lens is sharp, versatile and sits on my camera body most of the time. It’s great for landscapes, portraits as well as food and product photography. While prime lenses might have better image quality, I find that the 24-70mm is the perfect range for all kinds of travel subjects. It’s a really sturdy, good quality lens but it is a heavy one.
Photos taken with the Sigma Art lens:
My second lens is a beast but I love it. It’s the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM. I love taking photos of details when I travel, especially from city viewpoints and with this lens you can really zoom into details. The bokeh this lens gives is fantastic and the image quality and detail are even better than the Sigma. It’s a winner for wildlife photography, city details and just general situations where you can’t get closer to your subject. The only downsides are that this lens is expensive and very heavy. The costs are similar to the camera body and it weighs just under 5lbs but with the image quality, it gives I wouldn’t swap it out of my kit.
Photos taken with the Sony 70-200mm lens:
Even though I don’t use it too often I also have a drone. I have the DJI Mavic Air. This drone is now a few years old and I know that since its release DJI have gone and developed some amazing new technology related to image resolution especially with the new Mavic 3 or the Mavic Air 2 and also included 5K video.
Vantage points from the sky always amaze me as they are so different compared to the photos you can get from the ground. Many of the DJI drones pack quite small and they are light so even if you have a little space in your camera bag it might be worth looking into the one, not to mention they are fun to fly too. I probably need to update mine and the new Mavic 3 is definitely on my list.
I always travel with two 5TB LaCie Rugged hard drives and I have a few more in London too. Not having a home base right now means that I’m always lugging around most of my drives. I try to buy the largest hard drives possible, space-wise to reduce the need to have to travel with 5 hard drives rather than 2.
I loved the rugged hard drives from LaCie because they are much more resistant to crashes and smashes than other hard drives. I feel that they protect my content well and I’ve never had any problem with them.
Neutral density filters are essential for great travel blogger photography and in every niche really. If you’re shooting outdoors you really need a good way to control the amount of light hitting the sensor. Yes, you can change the camera settings but having a variable neutral density filter makes this even faster. I only have an ND filter currently for my main lens the Sigma Art 24-70mm. The ND filter I have is the PolarPro 82mm Variable ND Filter and I love this one as it’s such great quality. It really is a must for videography and shooting in 4K.
iPhone 12 Pro
I almost never use my iPhone for the photos you see on my Instagram feed but it is incredibly useful for stories and videos for stories and reels. The image quality is amazing and so is the video stabilisation on the iPhone and with each updated model it just gets better.
Yes, they are expensive but investing in an iPhone will automatically up your content creation game. There is no doubt about that.
I personally prefer the Pro versions of the iPhone due to that extra wide-angle lens which is great for travel video and photography, especially when in a relatively small space.
I have two tripods that I use for various travel and photography situations. My main tripod is the Manfrotto Element Traveller. It’s one of the best on the market, especially for travellers because it packs down super small- small enough that it fits into the drinks bottle compartment of your backpack.
I love this tripod and I’ve got nothing bad to say about it. It even supports my camera with the heavier 70-200mm lens but I do have to use extra counter-balance weight, normally my backpack.
Having a tripod is essential for solo travel as well as a few other travel situations like nighttime photography or any low-light situation like the cenotes of Mexico. They help to stabilise the image massively and therefore reduce shake and unintentional image blur. Many people often ask me if I travel with a photographer on my solo trips and the answer is always no, it’s my tripod that takes all my solo photos.
The second tripod is the Joby GorillaPod 3K tripod. This is much smaller and compact but it’s not for every type of shot. It’s great for vlogging, taking shots from the ground upwards or other random and more difficult shooting conditions where you can’t set up a conventional tripod.
When investing in a tripod you’ll first need to think about what you’re going to use it for. If it’s solo travel or couple travel photos it’s best to get the Manfrotto Element but if you just want a small tripod for image stabilisation- something you can put on top of a wall, for example, the Joby GorillaPod is a great buy.
I don’t have a particular brand I go-to when it comes to SD cards. I generally buy the fastest and largest ones I can afford. Right now I have four SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB Cards. With this camera I don’t go for any SD card lower than 128GB due to each image being 42 megapixels, I definitely need the space. Their speed is 170 MB/s and they do sometimes get jammed up when I’m shooting continuously for a minute or so but they generally work well for me.
I’m not easy when it comes to camera bags, in fact, I’d say I’m super fussy. I’ve had so many in the past that just haven’t cut it and even though I’ve found a great one now, I can still think of many ways that I’d improve it.
For me, a great camera bag has to be big enough to fit all my gear while also supporting a large amount of weight without looking overly bulky. It has to be weatherproof, comfortable to wear with compartments to easily access my camera. It also needs to be functional and have space for other things other than gear like extra clothes, water bottles etc. It also needs to look good.
My current backpack is the Wandrd PRVKE Travel backpack with Photo Bundle which is probably the best backpack I’ve had so far. I know a lot of content creators use this bag. Mine is the 31L but it’s also available in 21L. It fits all my gear- the camera body, two lenses, drone and my laptop but it is extremely heavy with all the gear in it. It has a separate front pocket for easy access and it unzips from the side for quick camera access. It’s easy to use and it looks good too.
This model also comes with the camera bag insert for camera gear included when you buy it on Amazon. I use it most of the time but you can also remove it and use the backpack for clothes etc. This backpack is incredibly versatile. I don’t use shoulder bags for camera gear- it’s just too heavy.
Top Tips to Consider when Starting out with Travel Blogger Photography:
- Get the best travel blogger photography equipment you can afford. I mentioned this earlier and I’ll say it again here because it’s so important. There is a big difference in the photo quality of a cheap entry level camera compared to the best ones on the market and if you’re taking photography seriously then invest in your gear.
- Spend money on lenses over bodies. It’s actually the lens that does most of the ‘image reading’ so it’s better to buy a slightly cheaper camera model and spend more on lenses. You want that f-stop number to be as low as possible for what you need. The more light the sensor lets in the better quality your photos will be. Buying an expensive f/2.8 or f/1.8 prime lens is much better than buying two f/3.5 or f/5 lenses as your main lens.
- Consider buying refurbished. There is some great refurbished gear out there for a great price. When shopping for refurbished gear however you’ll want to definitely buy from a reliable source and make sure that there is a good guarantee on the item so you can return it/get it fixed if you need to
- What works for me might not work for you. Each photographer/blogger has a different set up and gear that they like to use. While many of the items on my list are pretty popular, they might not work for you. It can sometimes take some time to figure out what you like/need.
Do you have any questions about travel blogger photography or my gear? Let me know all your questions and comments below.
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals worldwide
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
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