I often think of my travel blog camera less like a piece of equipment and more like a second limb. Wherever I wander, it’s always by my side.
Since I’m often asked what I shoot with, I thought I’d reveal the travel photography essentials in my bag of tricks.
I’ll be sharing everything I currently use as well as some important lessons I learned throughout my travel photography journey.
However, photography equipment isn’t one-size-fits-all, so just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will be right for you.
There are many factors at play, including experience level, the type of content you want to make, your budget, etc.
I encourage you to use this guide not as an “answer key,” but as a roadmap to your next goal.
So whether you’re a novice photographer or you’re looking to level up, this guide will help you determine where to invest.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
Before we dive into the travel blog camera and accessories I recommend, I want to briefly discuss the difference between equipment and experience.
First off, it’s important to understand that photography accessories are merely tools to help you achieve a desired result. In other words, the equipment is only as good as the experience behind it.
Just as you wouldn’t hand a child a guitar and expect him to play like Jimi Hendrix, you shouldn’t purchase equipment and expect to be a pro.
In fact, although photography is part of my livelihood, I hesitate to refer to myself as professional because I’m still learning!
What matters more than anything – including how expensive your equipment is – is that you practice using it regularly.
In addition, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting small and then upgrading as you progress in your travel blogging career.
In fact, this can be an effective way to see if you like photography (and want to stick with it) before making a larger investment.
When I look back at when I started, I didn’t have half of the equipment I do now. Frankly, I didn’t even know most of it existed.
It wasn’t until I fell in love with the process of creating photos that I became interested in leveling up.
Just know that wherever you are in your travel blogging journey right now is exactly where you’re meant to be.
The “right” travel blog camera can help you reach your goals, but only if you’re willing to put in the work.
The key is that you’re always learning, evolving, and having fun!
The camera body should be one of your main considerations when selecting a travel blog camera.
Without a solid base to build from, the rest won’t do you much good.
That said, with all of the options on the market, choosing a body can often feel overwhelming.
The first choice you’ll need to make when selecting a travel blog camera is whether you want to go mirrorless or DSLR.
While the styles are inherently different, there are considerable arguments for both sides.
Mirrorless cameras consist of a single, removable lens and a digital display but no reflex mirror.
As a result, when light passes through the lens, it travels straight onto a sensor where it’s then processed and displayed.
Mirrorless cameras are often sought after for their lightweight, compact bodies, making them desirable for travel.
However, I’d argue that they leave much to be desired.
For instance, you’re significantly more limited in terms of lens mounts and attachments with this camera style.
Alternatively, a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) has a reflex mirror inside that bounces light into an optical viewfinder. With this camera style, you can see exactly what you’re capturing through the viewfinder, unlike with a mirrorless.
The main benefit of a DSLR camera is the versatility, quality, and backwards compatibility of the lenses you can use with it. This results in higher quality photos than what a mirrorless can provide.
Although I can speak at length about the pros and cons of each style, that could be an entirely separate article.
Instead, I’ll leave the comparison short and sweet, as there are many more travel photography essentials to discuss!
In the meantime, you can read more about the differences between mirrorless and DSLR cameras here if you’re having trouble deciding.
While the best camera for travel blogging is obviously subjective, I am team DSLR for life. Personally, I’d never want anything else.
In fact, I often joke that my Nikon D750 is my baby!
This full-frame camera checks off all the boxes for me:
- Beautiful image quality
- Awesome HD video capabilities
- Built-in WiFi sharing
Although the camera body is one of the foundational travel photography essentials, I’d argue that lenses are actually more important.
The right lens used at the right time can make the difference between an average photo and one that leaps off the page/screen.
Here are the lenses I use for my travel blog camera, ranging from wide to telephoto.
A wide angle lens is one of those lenses that you don’t realize you can’t function without until you have one.
After purchasing our 20mm, I don’t know how we managed to do hotel collaborations without it.
With its wide field of view, it’s ideal for close-ups when you still want to capture a lot of your environment.
It’s my go-to for hotel rooms and interior spaces.
In addition, it’s also great for narrow streets where your photographer can only shoot from a few feet away.
Use Case Example: Photographing your Instagram-worthy brunch.
We recently upgraded to the Tamron SP 24-70mm and I’m so excited to start using it!
After previously using a Sigma that wasn’t the correct size for our sensor, we finally decided to take the leap.
(We mistakenly ordered the Sigma back in 2019 and have been using it until now. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a wonderful lens; it just wasn’t intended for our camera body.)
However, since we were always using our Sigma, we knew it was finally time to get the correct lens for our body! Now we won’t be limited by the cropped field of view needed for the lens to properly compensate for our camera body.
This 24-70mm lens is definitely the most versatile of the options on this list. In fact, I guarantee you’ll be whipping out this zoom lens as often as we will!
To say I’m thrilled about this recent purchase is an understatement!
Use Case Example: Capturing yourself in front of a building when you want to appear larger than an ant.
I firmly believe that every photographer should have a solid 50mm prime in their bag of tricks.
In terms of quality, it’s hard to beat a prime lens.
The 50mm is perfect for portrait shots, provided you can get enough distance between yourself and your photographer/tripod.
Use Case Example: Creating a crisp portrait for your Instagram profile.
If you’re looking to photograph landscapes or wide open spaces, a telephoto lens will be your best friend.
Our telephoto has the longest focal length of all our lenses (70-300mm), meaning it zooms in the farthest.
This can make for some super dramatic landscape shots, capturing a level of depth and detail unrivaled by the others.
However, given its long focal length, it’s only appropriate when you and your photographer/tripod can greatly distance from one another.
Use Case Example: Shooting a mountain far off in the distance.
A good-quality camera strap will be super handy for those long days exploring a new city – or for when you’re simply tired of holding your camera.
Personally, I love going “hands-free” while traveling because I usually need my hands for carrying photoshoot props and miscellaneous items.
Sometimes you want the convenience of a strap, but the ability to quickly manipulate the camera without it being tethered to you.
In this case, I highly recommend getting a quick release camera strap. This way, you can quickly unholster your camera and shoot at whatever angle you see fit.
When it comes to solo travel, a high-quality tripod will be your bestie.
Frankly, I’m actually looking to upgrade my tripod to something a little higher-end.
That said, there’s a wide range of tripods to suit all use cases and budgets.
The most important element to look for in a tripod is one that’s sturdy, yet lightweight.
Essentially, you want one that’s reliable on uneven terrain and during high winds, but you don’t want the added weight.
Have you ever broke a sweat trying to set up your tripod on a precarious place like a ledge?
Well, sweat no more.
As useful as a standard tripod is, sometimes you’ll require something a little more versatile.
That’s where the JOBY GorillaPod comes in.
This amazingly flexible sidekick is meant to be molded and manipulated to suit your unique and out-of-the-ordinary needs. Use it to hug curvaceous surfaces, grip staircases, and fit into the nooks and crannies an ordinary tripod can’t reach.
It’s also super lightweight and easily collapsible, so it’s perfect for traveling.
Having a trusty remote is key for taking your own photos with a tripod.
This allows you to set up the shot and get in place without having to run like a maniac to beat a timer!
If you’re looking to do nighttime photography or shoot in low-light or unevenly-lit areas, you’ll definitely want an external flash.
This is favorable to the built-in camera flash, as you have more control over the light and where you direct it.
This convenient attachment adds light when conditions are too dark, whether at night or when daytime light is limited or unpredictable.
There’s nothing that puts a damper in a photo session faster than a dead camera battery.
While it may seem unlikely, it happens more than you may think, especially if you’re outside shooting for hours.
To avoid this annoyance, make sure to get yourself a reliable battery grip. A multi battery power pack conveniently houses back-up batteries and attaches directly to the bottom of your camera.
This handy extension means you can shoot with confidence instead of rushing to get the shot before your battery runs out!
Speaking of batteries, I always make sure to carry a few spares with me when I’m shooting.
These spare batteries fit perfectly into your battery grip so you won’t have to worry about losing them.
Memory cards are not something most people put much thought into until it’s (often) too late…
However, if you’re planning to shoot a lot of content regularly, it’s important that your memory cards are up for the task.
Given how inexpensive storage space is, I recommend looking for cards that are at least 128GB, if not larger.
In addition, card quality is another important factor to consider.
For instance, a cheaper card won’t write files as quickly. As a result, your card may not be able to keep up with the speed at which you’re shooting.
You should also keep in mind that there’s a growing number of cameras with two memory card slots. Given this, you have the flexibility of using one as a back-up or for overflow from the first card, for peace of mind.
While I admittedly don’t use my GoPro Hero5 nearly as much as I’d like, it’s unmatched in aquatic settings.
Whether you’re shooting in the rain, capturing the perfect dive, or embarking on a snorkeling adventure, this is your trusty co-pilot!
This handy camera is waterproof up to 33ft underwater (without housing) and has both photo and video capabilities.
It’s also super small and lightweight, so it’s a cinch to transport.
Now that we’ve covered all of the outdoor travel photography essentials, let’s talk indoor equipment.
Sure, as a travel blogger, you may think that indoor gear is unnecessary.
However, you’d be surprised how often it comes in handy.
Utilizing professional indoor lighting can make your work stand out and give you a leg up on your competition.
With all of these beautiful photos you’ll be shooting, you need to make sure to give the files a proper home!
Now I’ll admit, file storage was something I gave zero thought to when I first started my travel blogging journey.
I’m actually embarrassed to admit that I used to upload my photos from my travel blog camera directly onto my computer! (Total rookie mistake!)
While it may seem convenient in the moment, trust me when I say, this is not an adequate long-term solution.
Not only will the files consume your available storage space, but your computer will start running super slow.
This can be especially problematic if you’re shooting in raw (which you should be, by the way).
Enter the answer to all of your photo storage problems – an external hard drive!
This small-but-mighty solution houses a tremendous amount of photo data without stripping your computer of precious space.
Simply plug it into your computer, copy the files you want from your memory card onto it, and you’re set.
When you’re on-the-go, you’re going to need somewhere to store your travel blog camera and all of your other accessories.
That’s why it’s critical to have the right camera backpack.
As someone who’s cycled through different packs over the years, I can say my PRVKE Travel and DSLR Camera Backpack by WANDRD has been a game changer.
This backpack is a zipper-lover’s dream. It has so many handy (and hidden) pockets for convenience and safe-keeping.
Not only is it perfect for lugging camera equipment around, it also makes the dreaded airport security check process so much easier.
You can actually unzip the back of it to remove a handy “storage cube.” This cube has individual pockets to house your travel blog camera and all of your lenses.
So when it comes time to remove your electronics from your bag in security, you’ll whiz through this otherwise arduous process.
The backpack even has a convenient little passport pocket!
And in case you’re wondering – no, this post is not sponsored by WANDRD – I just really love this backpack.
Well, there you have it, folks! My whole kitten caboodle of photography gear (at least for now).
Funnily enough, my husband and I have a running joke that we’ll never really be “done” purchasing camera equipment.
Instead, it’s one of those things that we’re always reassessing and improving upon as we go.
In fact, don’t be surprised if this photography equipment list doubles a year or so from now…
In any case, I hope this post was helpful whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to upgrade existing equipment.
Now tell me, what travel blog camera are you currently using and what’s on your equipment wish list? Let me know in the comments below!