Travel photography has been something I have been slowly working on over the years. As much as I cringe when I look back at the photos in my older blog posts, I also refuse to get rid of them. It’s just proof of how far my photography skills have come over the years.
I’m no professional, but I would say I’m a pretty decent hobby photographer. I’ve gotten pretty good at taking self-portraits and have received many compliments of my travel and landscape shots as well. I call it a work in progress, but I’m pretty happy at what I’ve been achieving lately.
That being said, as much as I love taking travel photos I refuse to travel with a ton of camera gear. Yes, I love my pictures but I don’t want to be weighed down by lenses and accessories. I don’t want to stress about thousands of dollars of camera gear getting lost or stolen. I just want a few things that are easy to carry around but allow me to take some great shots along the way.
So, for those who are wondering what’s in my bag when it comes to camera and photography equipment, here’s what I travel with.
Nikon Z50 Mirrorless Camera
This is my new baby as of April 2020 and I absolutely love it. I did have a Nikon DSL-R that I got back in 2012 but… I never used it. At least not how I should of. I took it on a trip with me in 2015, proceeded to drop it and break the body AND lens, and after fixing it basically left it at home since. It was too heavy and bulky and didn’t suit my travel style. I also didn’t really learn how to use it.
My Z50 was a much-needed upgrade. I was enticed by the lightweight body that promised to be more travel-friendly. Plus, I told myself that with so much downtime in 2020 (thanks COVID19!) that I would finally take the time to learn how to take proper pictures. Not just shoot on auto mode.
I choose the Nikon Z50 because I was already familiar with Nikon cameras. It also meant that I didn’t have to buy new lenses, just an attachment to fit my original lenses to the new mirrorless body. A much cheaper option in the long run.
Overall, I’m thrilled with this camera. I’ve played with it tons around my home and cottage and taken it with me on a road trip. I find it super user friendly, love the touch screen, and it’s Bluetooth compatible to I can shoot remotely through an app on my phone.
Preferred lenses + attachments
Sony Cybershot DSC-WX500
Before I had my mirrorless, when I left my DSL-R at home, this was the camera I travelled with. I loved it then, and I love it still. It’s tiny and lightweight but takes great photos. Plus, it’s Bluetooth friendly so can connect to my phone through an app which allows me to take photos remotely. While it doesn’t allow you to change lenses, it does have a pretty powerful zoom.
If you aren’t sure you want to invest in a bigger camera, I highly recommend this little guy (or an upgraded model). It’s been very faithful (and durable!) for me over the past few years.
I don’t use my GoPro often but I have it handy for underwater adventures like snorkeling or scuba diving. I currently have the GoPro 5 model which is a bit older but still works really well. It took amazing photos and videos when I went swimming with whales in Tonga back in 2018. In fact, my GoPro actually took better photos than my friend’s big camera with its underwater housing. Her’s focused on the debris in the water while mine picked out the whales. That was pretty surprising!
GoPro Accessories I use regularly
iPhone (current version: Xs)
I’m an iPhone girl and I actually love the ease of being able to use my phone to take photos. I currently use the iphone 10x and while the quality may not be as good in many respects as other cameras, but there is a lot to say about the convenience of smartphone photography! If you haven’t yet, check out my post on smartphone photography tips.
Smartphone accessories I use
I held off on getting a tripod for ages but after trying (and hating) selfie sticks I decided to bite the bullet. Expect it really wasn’t too bad because travel tripods don’t cost nearly as much as you think they do, at least mine didn’t. I have a Sony tripod which is lightweight and can pack up pretty small. Small enough to throw in a small backpack for the day. It’s probably my most-used travel accessory since I do so many self-portraits, but I’m also loving it for night photography. I will say because it is so light, it does wobble a bit in very high winds. But, for the most part, this is a pretty sturdy little guy that’s ideal for travel.
The model of my Sony Tripod seems to now be discontinued, but it’s very similar to this one (mine just doesn’t have the remote).
Tripod Accessories I use
I have a terrible habit of dropping cameras. My DSL-R wasn’t the only one that’s fallen out of my hands so I need it to be on a strap. My little Sony has a wrist strap but the mirrorless came with a neck strap that I hated. I find it hurts my neck and is always in the way. Instead, I have a Joby body strap. I keep it loose and turn it to the side so it falls at my hip; still close to my body and easy to access but not always in the way. For me, it’s a lot more comfortable and durable so my camera feels safer.
External Hard Drive
While the above list is my main equipment I also always make sure to travel with an external hard drive. I have two actually, one I leave at home that I store everything on as my ‘back up’ and one I travel with so I can save my photos on as I go. Not only is it good for backing up photos, but it also helps me save the space on my laptop.
And that’s it! Yes, it may seem like a lot for an average traveller but, remember, taking photos is also part of my job and once you consider that, it’s really not much compared to many others in the industry.
If you have any further questions about my experiences with any of these things, let me know! I’m always happy to answer your questions.
PS: Looking to up your travel photo game? Consider signing up for KelbyOne photography classes. I’ve found lots of helpful tips and tricks for self portraits, landscape photography, photo editing and more from these classes. Learn more here.
And if you are looking to get any of your travel photos printed and turned into wall art, check out BestCanvas.ca. I gave their photo canvas and MIXPIX tiles a try and was thrilled as to how well they turned out. Good quality, bright and vibrant colours, and very affordable pricing. Check them out here.