Having the perfect travel photography gear is something that I am very passionate about. Traveling extensively over the last 8 years have taught me that it is important to combine quality and size.
As a full time travel blogger, travel photographer, Instagrammer and content creator it is absolutely vital to have gear that is user friendly and high quality!
This guide is an inside look at what I am currently using to capture all of my shots from my travels.
Let me know if you have any questions!
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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small compensation at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products or services that I personally use and have been essential for me as a travel blogger.
The Best Travel Cameras & Lenses
If you are in the market for the perfect camera and gear you’ve come to the right spot. Purchasing photography gear can be a difficult decision especially when there are so many great options out there. A lot of factors play into the decision such as weight, cost and function.
I’ve upgraded my gear over the years and can honestly say that what I am currently using is some of my favorite travel photography gear.
These cameras are the perfect blend of quality and cost while being incredibly user friendly! They are also perfect for anyone whether you are new at photography, a professional photographer or just like it as a hobby!
1. Sony A7III
I only recently upgraded to the Sony A7III in January 2019 in preparation for my year long travels through Asia. The A7III is one of Sony’s newest releases and is one of my favorite cameras I’ve ever used. We use this camera for almost all of our shots, switching between 2 different lenses.
The Sony a7III is a mirrorless, full-frame sensor camera with 24.2 MP. This means that it is significantly lighter in weight than a DSLR which is great for saving kilos in your luggage!
It can capture 10 fps (frames per second) which quite honestly is one of my favorite features as you will never miss that perfect shot! There is also the option of silent shooting which would have been ideal on my African Safari’s!
Bonus: If you’re into video, the Sony A7iii has built in 4K and capabilities of 120 fps which will give you those super smooth cinematic slow-mo videos.
Now lets talk about battery life. As a travel photographer and blogger I am often out exploring all day long. Luckily, Sony has significantly improved the battery life on their newest alpha series cameras and the a7III is no exception. They claim that you can shoot up to 710 photos on one full charge and I can confirm that to be true! However, I still will always carry a back up with me because sometimes I might forget to charge it! Plus, you never want to miss a shot!
The a7III also has weather sealing, which for me was a huge draw as you never know what the weather conditions may be when traveling.
- Always carry a spare battery so you are never in a situation where you will miss that perfect shot!
- Also, extra memory cards are super important and we always have at least 2 extras with us. Sony’s brand of SD Cards will definitely work better with the camera but the SanDisk ones will work as well and they are a bit cheaper.
- We make sure to bring our lens cleaner kit with us wherever we go because you just never know when you’ll need it and you’re shirt isn’t always the softest!
- A screen cover is a great way to protect your screen from any unwanted scratches
- A camera case/bag: Since we usually carry the camera plus the 2 lenses I found this case from Topo Designs to be the absolute best thing ever! They are a brand from Boulder, CO and their stuff is top notch!
- I also have the colorful camera strap from Topo Designs and while it’s not necessary to get a new strap it sure is fun to have one that matches your personality!
› Lenses for the Sony a7III
These are the two lenses that I am currently using and absolutely love. Since the Sony a7III is the camera I am currently using as a full time traveler/content creator and blogger it is essential that I have the right lenses to maximize the cameras capabilities.
» 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Sony lens
About 90% of our photos are taken with the 16-35mm lens, giving us those perfect wide angle shots. This is such a universal lens and the f/2.8 creates a such beautiful bokeh (those blurred background shots.) This lens was a last minute purchase and I am so thankful I got it because it really is the perfect travel photography lens.
» 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 Sony lens
The wide range of this lens is perfect for those days when you never know if you’ll need a zoom lens or not. This is an all around great lens if you are looking for something that will help you capture an animal that is far away or even zooming in on those tall mountain peaks in the distance.
We use a clear filter as a way to protect our lens from dirt, scratches and breakage. Additionally we have a polarized filter that comes in handy on bright, sunny days or when we are shooting around water.
2. Leica X-U
The main camera that I use to take my underwater photos is the Leica X-U. This innovative camera is a fixed 35mm APS-C lens with super sharp image quality of 16.2 MP even under the water. It also has a rugged design and is completely encased in a rubber housing making it shock and drop proof. This is the perfect camera for your outdoor adventures when you don’t want to risk taking your DSLR or mirrorless!
You can easily change the manual setting with the dials and the camera in general is super user friendly!
3. Canon 6D
This was the camera I started with and used for 7 years during my travels through Europe, Asia and Africa. I still have this camera and love it but switched to the Sony A7iii since it weighs less.
The Canon 6D is a full frame DSLR camera that can produce incredible images at 20.2 MP, has great functionality and is very user friendly. Partnered with the right lenses, you can take your photography to the next level. The Canon 6D has a touch screen, is user friendly and can even connect to an app on your phone to instantly download the images!
› Lenses for the Canon 6D
» 24-70mm f/2.8 Canon L lens
With so many different lenses to choose from, this can also be a difficult task. You’ll want to spend some time researching exactly what result you are wanting and what is in your budget.
This particular lens is a great range for most photographers and with the 2.8 aperture it creates a beautiful bokeh.
» 17-40 mm f/4Canon L lens
Another great range for most photographers is the 17-40 mm which will allow you to capture those wider angle shots. This lens definitely comes in handy when you are at a location that may be a bit crowded and you want to eliminate people but still capture the entire shot.
We use the wide angle lens quite a bit as its perfect for capturing buildings, waterfalls or anything that you may be closer to.
» 100-400mm f/2.8 Canon L lens
The 100-400 mm lens is an absolute powerhouse! I purchased this lens for the sole purpose of shooting wildlife during my visits to Africa. While the lens is quite hefty, it was an absolute necessity for me to be able to capture these animals up close without disturbing them in the wild.
The 100-400mm has an aperture of 2.8 making sure that you can focus in on your subject without having any distractions in the background.
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Underwater & Adventure Photography/Videography
As a travel blogger and photographer, it is extremely important to not only be able to capture photos above land but also underwater as well! While the Leica XU is still my top pick for underwater photography there are a few other (more affordable) options that would be a perfect addition to your travel photography gear!
1. DJI Osmo Pocket
I’ve mostly used GoPro’s in the past but decided to try out the new DJI Osmo Pocket. This tiny device (yes, it can fit in your pocket) has been a great addition to my travel photography gear kit. It has a built in gimbal stabilizer, crystal clear image quality and weighs almost nothing!
There are a few different accessories you can purchase for the Osmo, my favorite being the attachment that connects your device to your phone. This allows you to instantly upload photos and videos making it perfect for editing on the go! I also use this attachment to do time-lapse videos which is one of my favorite features!
› DJI Osmo Pocket Underwater Housing
The Osmo Pocket is not an underwater device, however, there is an underwater housing that you can purchase to take your photography and videography below the water! The underwater housing allows you to take the Osmo 60m deep although we haven’t tried it out at that depth just yet.
2. GoPro Hero 6 Black
I have been a long time fan and user of the GoPro’s ever since they first came out. Each time they release a new version the image quality and stabilization gets better and better. If you are looking for a rugged, action camera then this is the one to get! The current version I am using is the Hero 6 Black but they have since released newer models.
A drone is absolutely not a necessity for travel photography but it does offer a unique and fun perspective on many different destinations around the world. I’ve been using a drone for a few years now and absolutely love the different angles and creativity that I can get with this vantage point.
1. DJI Mavic Pro
I currently use the original DJI Mavic Pro and purchased it when it was just released a few years back. This has been one of my favorite additions to my travel photography gear.
The Mavic Pro has a 3-axis gimbal with 4K video camera and can even do portrait shots! Within the program you can switch the portrait shots so that you can film the perfect size for Instagram stories as well! The Mavic Pro also has a transmission range of 7 kilometers and can reach pretty far distances to get that perfect shot!
When I originally purchased my drone I also bought it with the Fly More Bundle package. The bundle came with 2 extra batteries, 2 extra sets of propellers, a soft carrying case and more! It was absolutely worth the extra cost and I would highly recommend making the investment.
The most important thing is that you’ll want the extra batteries since you only get about 20 min flying time with the drone.
2. DJI Mavic Pro 2
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 is the latest release and comes in two different versions. There is the Mavic Pro 2 which has an incredible Ziess lens on it or the Mavic Pro Zoom which now allows you to zoom in on a subject without having to get your drone too close to the object.
The Mavic Pro 2 also has an increased battery life, is quieter and can reach farther distances.
3. DJI Mavic Air
Similar to the DJI Mavic Pro and Pro 2, the Air is a smaller and more compact version. The pros are that it weighs less than the Mavic Pro and can pack up even smaller. However, the battery life is shorter and you shouldn’t fly if there are moderate to strong winds.
» Important notes about flying a Drone:
Just be sure that if you are using a drone to always check with the rules and regulations of the country that you are visiting. There are many countries and locations where drones are prohibited and you would not be happy if you got your drone confiscated at the airport.
Also, make sure you never fly over private property without asking permission first. Many places where you will be restricted from flying a drone will be in air space or in National Parks. There are many times that I will attempt to fly the drone but I will get the No Fly Zone message and the drone won’t even take off.
I also have recently seen many places posting NO DRONE ZONE or NO DRONE FLYING signs so please be respectful and don’t try to fly your drone there. There are also many destinations that are now charging extra money to fly your drone so if you really want the shot then be prepared to fork over some extra cash.
Computer Gear & Phone
My Apple MacBook is what I use to write all of my blog posts, edit my photos in Lightroom, research destinations and more! No only is the MacBook lightweight but it can easily connect to the iCloud to help store my thousands of travel photos and important documents.
I wouldn’t be able to travel without this!
iPhone 8 Plus
Currently I am using the iPhone 8 Plus during my travels. It is unlocked making it the perfect travel phone as I can purchase a SIM card wherever I am and it works without any problems. That way I am always connected at the best prices and never have to worry about being without data.
I also use my iPhone for creating beautiful Instagram stories and doing quick edits on my Lightroom app!
› External Hard Drives
An ABSOLUTE MUST when traveling is bringing along an external hard drive to back up all your images to! How devastated would you be if you were to lose all of your beautiful travel photos? I actually back up all my images to 2 different hard drives just in case one were to go corrupt or get damaged.
Your travel photos are irreplaceable so make sure you have them backed up properly. The two listed below are my absolute favorite hard drives to use. The LaCie is my favorite but it is a bit pricier. Although it is well worth the cost when you factor in how much you’ve already spent on your trip!!
If you don’t necessarily need the rugged design then another great option are the Seagate products! I have a few of these as well and they are a very good product!
› Backpacks & Camera Case
Polar Pro Drone Trekker Backpack
You’ve spent all this money purchasing your ideal camera equipment so now you need to make sure that you keep it all safe while your traveling. The Polar Pro Drone Trekker backpack is one of the best travel bags to carry all your favorite electronics. The back opens up to reveal a deep, padded section with velcro dividers that you can customize to fit your equipment. There is also the front pouch with a padded laptop sleeve and lots of extra storage for all your accessories!
Additionally, you will find a built in lock for the back section so that all of your devices are secure and safe.
Topo Designs Camera Cube
The Top Designs Camera Cube has been one of my favorite finds so far. The small padded cube has two dividers and can fit a camera body and 2 lenses. If you want to keep your lens attached to your camera body then the whole set up fits perfectly in the cube. The only exception would be the tele or long lenses as they will not fit. The camera cube will comfortably fit at the bottom of our day bag and it makes it so easy to carry around our camera while keeping it protected and safe.
Our favorite tripod brand is Manfrotto. They offer a wide range of quality products with different heights, weights and styles. Using a tripod is how we are able to take photographs together, capture night photography like the northern lights and so much more!
› Lightroom CC for Desktop
I am currently using the desktop version of Lightroom CC to edit all of my photographs for my blog and Instagram. This version costs $9.99 a month and includes Photoshop as well. If you are a beginner you can download the Lightroom app for your phone and try out the free version before buying. But keep in mind that the free version does not allow you to use all of the features such as the selective edits.
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