I’ve been a photographer for quite a while now, and know exactly what gear I need for each shoot. That doesn’t stop me from having moments of panic every time I leave the house, though. I ask myself “did I get everything?” even though I triple checked my bag the night before. The essential gear for travel photographers will change depending on who you talk to, but there are few pieces that are necessary for every shoot. Fortunately, there is a list so you don’t forget anything on your next adventure.

Essential Camera Gear for Every Travel Photographer

I am not currently affiliated with any brands shown or mentioned below. Anything mentioned here and most of the things I carry are things that I’ve had or been using for years now.

The Camera

camera gear for travel photographers - camera

To be a travel photographer you obviously need some kind of camera. It literally does not matter which camera as long as you can afford it and you know how to use it. Whether it’s the newest, fanciest camera on the market; an old refurbished one you picked up on Craigslist; or even a phone, it doesn’t really matter as long as you know how to use it.

The Right Lens(es)

camera gear for travel photographers - lenses

I own exactly two lenses for my Nikon z6ii – a 14-24mm f2.8 and a 50mm f1.8. Do I want more lenses? Yes, of course. Do I need them? Not really. The ones I currently have work great for the subjects I like to shoot.

The last thing you want while traveling is for your gear to weigh or slow you down. Having several lenses with you takes up precious room in your bag while also making it heavier. It also means more time switching between lenses in between shots. Choose one or two lenses based on which ones you’re most comfortable with and the kinds of subjects you’re shooting. This will make your trip much more enjoyable and much less stressful. It will also help save your back.

A Comfortable and Protective Camera Bag

The right camera bag is an essential piece of gear for travel photographers. My first trip as a new photographer was great but my back and shoulders were killing me by the end of every day. Why? Because I brought a cool looking messenger bag with very little shoulder padding. These days I opt for backpacks with shoulder and back padding and easily accessible gear pouches. Here’s what I look for when shopping for a new camera bag:

Comfort

My camera comes with me almost everywhere when I’m traveling so I need something I can wear all day. For me this means a backpack, preferably with a strap that buckles across the chest.

Protection

Weather can be super unpredictable while traveling so a bag with weatherproof or rain-resistant fabric is a must.

Safety and Accessibility

Keeping your camera gear safe is essential while traveling. I prefer bags that have back access so that it is more difficult for potential thieves to get into it, but still relatively easy for me to access my gear.

Batteries and a Charger

camera gear for travel photographers - batteries and charger

I always have extra batteries and a charger in my camera bag while traveling. These pieces of gear are absolutely essential for travel photographers. If your battery runs out on the first day the photography part of your trip is over. Luckily, you can find off-brand batteries for most cameras for quite a bit cheaper than name brand ones.

Memory Cards

Memory cards are absolutely essential for travel photographers so make sure you have plenty of them with you. I like to use cards with 64 GB to 128 GB. This gives me plenty of room to capture a few days worth of photos before I have to plug in a new one. I also shoot on a camera that has two memory card slots so my photos are also backed up. You don’t have to buy the most expensive memory card – a mid-tiered priced one will do just fine – just make sure it’s the right kind of memory card for your camera.

A Tripod

camera gear for travel photographers - tripod

Every time I travel without a tripod, I almost immediately regret it. So these days, no matter where we’re going, I have one with me just in case. You will want one if you’re doing any kind of night photography, shooting waterfalls, and even for landscapes and architecture. The good news is travel tripods exist. They’re a bit shorter and much lighter weight than a standard tripod and they pack down pretty small. In most cases you can attach them to your camera bag then never worry about it until you need it. I use this guy and it works great for most of my travel photography.

Weather Protection

Many cameras these days are built to withstand most weather conditions. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll withstand a torrential downpour, or constant moisture from a wet bag. Here’s what I bring to help mediate this:

A Ziploc or Plastic Grocery Bag

If I actually have my camera out in wet conditions, I usually have it wrapped in a Ziploc or plastic grocery bag. Just poke a hole in the bottom of the bag to put your lens through then wrap it around the rest of the camera. I leave it open in the back to get to the view finder and any buttons I need to change settings. I also hold the back of the camera against my body unless I’m actively shooting.

If I’m out and about on a rainy day with my camera bag, more often than not my camera will be in a plastic bag. I like that little bit of extra protection. Once you’re somewhere dry however, make sure to remove the bag from the camera so everything can dry out.

A Rain Cover

Most camera bags offer some kind of weather protection, however in many cases they are not fully waterproof. The good news is most camera bags come with a rain cover of some kind to help further protect from the weather.

An Umbrella

If I’m shooting landscapes or houses on a rainy day, an umbrella is kind of the last piece of the puzzle to help me get the best shots. I’m typically not using it to keep myself dry, but rather to keep rain drops off my lens while I’m snapping a shot. Just make sure to hold it high enough to keep it out of frame.

A Cleaning Kit

A cleaning kit is a must have piece of gear for every travel photographer to help keep your camera and lens clean. If you’re not switching lenses too often you won’t have to worry much about your sensor getting dusty, especially if you had it cleaned before you left. However, your lens is another matter. You’ll probably want to clean your lens at the end of every day to remove dust and dried water droplets. A small bottle of lens cleaner and microfiber cloth are really all you need for this.

Cash

If you carry your wallet on you at all times you might not think about having a backup stash of cash in your camera bag. Keep a bit of local currency and your native currency in your bag just in case your wallet get lost or stolen or left at the hotel.

Essential Gear for Travel Photographers

Gear is important no matter what kind of traveler you are. Having the right gear can make or break your trip. Use this list to help make sure you have everything you need for your next photography adventure.

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Author

Hey there! My name is Leah and I'm a photographer, blogger and wanderer from north Texas. I've been doing photography for nearly a decade now and absolutely love it. My day job is real estate photographer and in my free time you can often find me at a park taking pictures of leaves and flowers. Outside of that my fiance and I love to travel. We spent nine months backpacking through Europe and now spend our free time attempting to plan and going on shorter trips both in the States and abroad.

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