When traveling, nobody wants to get stuck carrying around a ton of baggage. But, it’s important to have what you need at all times! To bring or not to bring? That is the question. Unfortunately, you have to make some tough calls when it comes to packing light, and your camera gear is no exception. Here are a few travel photography must-haves when packing for your next trip!
A few basics. Never leave home without:
● Your camera. Whether it’s your iPhone, a point & shoot or DSLR, have a camera handy at all times! You just never know what’s going to happen!
● An extra battery (or a few). Especially handy when shooting in cold temperatures!
● Extra memory cards. There’s nothing like running out of space when you get to the top of the mountain. Bummer.
● Lens cloth / lens wipes. Keep your lens clean and free from dust, fingerprints, moisture, etc. Zeiss makes some really convenient pre-moistened lens cleaning wipes you can use and toss.
● Camera bag / backpack. A padded case or backpack will protect your gear from any bumps along your adventure. Manfrotto has a long line-up of bags for any occasion. And, in the case of extreme weather (ie. rain, snow, sand), pack a plastic bag or fancy rain cover to keep your camera safe from the elements.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT GEAR. When you’re on the road, there’s a time and a place to lug around that heavy DSLR with additional lenses while there are plenty of moments where your camera phone is all you need. Consider your travel style. Will you be on an epic road trip, with the ability to throw whatever you need in the backseat? Or, will you be on your feet all day touring European villages or walking city streets, carrying everything you need on your back? Will you travel independently, having all the time in the world to be creative and artistic? Or, will you be on a tightly-scheduled tour, hopping on and off the bus with just five minutes at each scenic overlook and landmark? When choosing the right camera for the job, decide what’s most important to you—quality, convenience, weight, portability, ability to change lenses, video specs, the list goes on.
Buy the best camera you can afford. Technology is changing fast. Don’t skimp on a bargain camera that you’ll have to replace in a year. In general, you get what you pay for. The more money you spend on a camera, the better quality you will get. Often when you go up in price, you get more manual features, with buttons that are easily accessible to use, so you can quickly adjust your camera settings. Lower-end cameras may have some of these same features, but they are hidden deep in the menu, so they are harder to change on the fly.
Come prepared for the situation. Whether you are in the middle of a snowstorm, underwater filming fish, or capturing a memorable sunset, here are some tools that will come in handy.
1. Use your environment. Keep your eyes peeled for railings, rocks, staircases and other natural surfaces that you can use as tripods. Lean your body against a wall or leverage your camera strap against your neck to get extra stabilization while shooting. Of course, always shoot with two hands on the camera and glue your elbows to your chest for added support.
2. A small, lightweight travel tripod is a great accessory, especially if you want to take portraits on self-timer mode or capture long exposures at night or in low light. Manfrotto’s new Befree travel tripod series is pretty slick. If you can swing it, splurge for carbon fiber, you’ll save in the long run by having less weight to lug around. Also, investing in a ball-head will save you time when leveling your shot with the horizon, which means you’ll have extra time to take more pictures!
3. Selfie Stick. These are great fun, especially if you’re traveling alone or at the mercy of random tourists with mediocre picture-taking skills. Instead, take matters into your own hands and bring a selfie stick. It’s a must if you have short arms, and gives you access to shots outside of your wingspan. Get shots of yourself from the front, the side or the back, as you hike up that mountain. Experiment with different angles, snapping from high above at a concert or low to the ground while biking.
4. Specialty Accessories. Have no fear when traveling into the sand, snow or water. Specialty cameras like GoPro and Sony ActionCam capture pictures and video and come prepared for every adventure. Waterproof housing allows you to chase after fish underwater or capture an epic powder day on snowboard. What’s really fun is that you can mount the camera to your head, your chest, your wrist, your surfboard, your car windshield, or even your dog. There are mounts for all. In other words, there are no excuses NOT to get the shot! 😛
The most important thing when it comes to packing for any trip is to only bring what you need. Too much stuff will weigh you down. Not enough stuff will limit your creativity. Find balance, and you give yourself the opportunity to capture beautiful images on your next trip, and have an amazing time doing it!
With a camera in hand and pen behind her ear, Juliana Broste, is a freelance travel video journalist, always ready to capture the moment. Her filmmaking adventures have taken her across the globe. Come along for the adventure and follow “TravelingJules” on: