A Packing List for Travel Photographers
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A Packing List for Travel Photographers


Whether or not you’re packing for a brief pictures highway journey or a multi-week sojourn, it may be difficult to be sure to have all the required camera gear, with out overloading your luggage! On this information, I’ve laid out an inventory of the gear that photographers ought to pack on each journey.


Relying on simply how a lot of an emphasis your journey locations on pictures versus leisure or household time, you may select a unique camera system. I definitely go on some journeys with nothing however my cellphone, however realistically, if you happen to’re studying Photography Life, that’s in all probability not sufficient for you!

Gone are the times after I’d journey with a DSLR equipment and a number of heavy zooms. For journey pictures, it’s higher to go along with a light-weight mirrorless camera – doubtlessly APS-C, with Fuji main the way in which with their wonderful crop-sensor cameras and in depth lens lineup, or Micro 4 Thirds. However full-frame mirrorless can be fairly light-weight, and something just like the Canon EOS R6/R6 II, Nikon Z5/Z6/Z7 sequence, Sony a7 sequence, and so forth., would make an important selection for journey. Even the newer DSLRs just like the Nikon D780 aren’t too heavy.

You in all probability have already got your camera of selection, so I’ll transfer on to the following part – lenses.


Extremely Large

For what I shoot, an ultra-wide is indispensable on any journey. Nonetheless, every further lens is extra weight and bag house consumed, so select rigorously.

Should you’re not planning any astrophotography, the slower aperture ultra-wides are an important selection. I actually loved the ultra-portable Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4, in addition to Sony’s 12-24mm f/4 and Canon’s 14-35mm f/4 – all nice lenses that don’t weight an excessive amount of. For APS-C, the identical concept holds, plus the 1.5x crop issue in fact. Fuji’s 8mm or 10-24mm are good light-weight choices, whereas Sony APS-C customers have the nice 10-20mm.

For astrophotography if you happen to’re making an attempt to journey light-weight, I really suggest sticking with any of these lenses I simply talked about, not going with one thing heavy like a 14-24mm f/2.8. Then, use star stacking to common out the noise and get high-quality outcomes.

But when weight isn’t your #1 consideration, you’ll definitely have a better time of Milky Method pictures with large-aperture wide-angle lenses like a 14mm f/1.8 or 14-24mm f/2.8, plus a full-frame camera. (APS-C shooters have a extra restricted vary of choices right here, however it is determined by the model.)

NIKON D810 + 16-35mm f/4 @ 22mm, ISO 500, 1/25, f/4.0

Regular Zoom

Whereas I take into account a midrange zoom to be important, I do know some photographers choose to only go ultra-wide and tele, maybe leaving the midrange to a 50mm prime. Should you’re like me, and like a midrange for the flexibility and adaptability, there are some nice, travel-friendly choices.

The Sony 20-70mm is certainly one of my favorites as a result of it’s large sufficient that you could be not want a devoted ultra-wide. Nonetheless, the flip aspect is that if you happen to choose one thing like a 24-120mm f/4 as an alternative (or a superzoom that goes to 200mm or past), it’s lengthy sufficient that you could be not want a devoted telephoto! Midrange zooms are extraordinarily versatile for journey pictures, particularly in the event that they attain exterior the usual 24-70mm zoom vary.

Nikon Z5 Image Sample #21
NIKON Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 97mm, ISO 100, 1/80, f/8.0


Should you’re happening a visit the place telephoto topics are important, like a safari or wildlife heavy journey like Alaska, there’s no substitute for attain. However on a extra typical journey, you’ll in all probability be coated with a light-weight 70-200mm f/4 or 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 sort lens. These lenses present lengthy focal lengths with out weighing down your bag, however they definitely don’t have the attain or most aperture of one thing like a 400mm f/2.8.

Your selection of telephoto lens is actually going to be dictated by your topic. Should you’re a Nikon shooter, we’ve acquired a full information to the perfect telephoto lenses for Nikon that goes into the issues for completely different topics. However if you happen to want an unique supertelephoto prime, you in all probability already know. It’s going to make journey tougher, and also you’ll have to be very cautious about airplane measurement/weight necessities, however it’s hardly inconceivable.

NIKON D810 + 70-200mm f/4 @ 180mm, ISO 800, 1/320, f/7.1


Similar to the longer telephoto lenses, your selection of primes and specialty lenses can be devoted by what you’re capturing. Should you’re planning on astrophotography, a quick large or extremely large is important. In the meantime, a visit the place butterflies and bugs are of curiosity would name for a macro lens. Bought loads of architectural topics in your shot checklist? A tilt-shift lens can present the very best quality attainable, however the measurement and slower tempo of capturing might rule it out for most different journeys.

As a fast be aware, a traditional prime with a vivid most aperture could make an important walk-around lens when you journey. A 24mm, 35mm, or 50mm f/1.8 might work nice for occasions the place you want the smallest setup attainable – the low gentle capabilities and shallow depth of discipline would additionally make this a really helpful different to a midrange zoom. I like that loads of these lenses these days have close-focus capabilities that enable for macro, or near-macro pictures when you journey.

NIKON D810 + 105mm f/2.8 @ 105mm, ISO 640, 1/125, f/3.0

Instance Travel Lens Kits

Each journey goes to be completely different – generally you’ll be capturing extra structure, generally extra wildlife, and generally extra avenue pictures. There isn’t a good do-it-all journey lens equipment, however listed here are some prospects for Nikon, Sony, Canon, and Fuji:

  • Nikon: Z 14-30mm f/4, Z 24-120mm f/4, and Z Nikon 50mm f/2 macro. This will get you very prime quality from 14mm to 120mm, plus low-light and macro capabilities with the 50mm f/2. You possibly can substitute the 24-120mm lens for Nikon’s 24-200mm f/4-6.3 if you happen to want longer attain on the expense of a little bit of picture high quality.
  • Sony: 20-70mm f/4, 70-200mm f/4 II, and 50mm f/1.8. This equipment has nice optics from 20mm to 200mm, a vivid f/1.8 aperture if you happen to want it, and near-macro capabilities because of the 70-200mm f/4 zoom. Nonetheless, it skips out on the ultra-ultra large focal lengths, so you could want so as to add a fourth lens to your bag if you actually need that perspective.
  • Canon: RF 14-35mm f/4, RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3, and RF 35mm f/1.8 macro. It’s the same state of affairs the place you’re not carrying a lot weight, whereas nonetheless overlaying loads of focal lengths, getting a large f/1.8 aperture if you happen to want it, and near-macro capabilities. The draw back is that the midrange zoom this time is a superzoom (not a foul one, however nonetheless).
  • Fuji: 10-24mm f/4, 16-55mm f/2.8, and 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8. Nice picture high quality, a vivid f/2.8 midrange zoom, and equal focal lengths from 15mm to 300mm – what’s to not like? If you wish to do plenty of low-light pictures, you may throw in any of Fuji’s high-quality primes with out including a lot weight.

Cameras Equipment


Despite the fact that many locations have restrictions on them, tripods is usually a essential software whereas touring. I like a fundamental set of carbon fiber legs and a small ballhead – for journey work, I’m not establishing a really heavy camera, nor do I would like help for speciality gear like a star tracker.

Extremely-compact choices just like the Heipi 3 in 1 that I beforehand reviewed or the Peak Design Travel Tripod that Libor reviewed might work nice.

Tabletop Tripod/Tripod Various

Relying in your vacation spot, bringing a compact tripod different, like a Gorillapod, Platypod, or tabletop tripod could be value it. Many areas that disallow full-size tripods aren’t as strict about these miniature helps, and so they can nonetheless do loads of work in stabilizing your gear.


For journey work, I’d take into account bringing a few filters: round polarizers and impartial density filters, possibly a UV filter if you happen to’re touring in harsh situations with windblown snow or sand.

Round polarizers are helpful for each cityscapes and landscapes, whereas ND filters might help scale back the looks of crowds, or create nice flowing ribbons of water in nature. Even if you happen to don’t anticipate to make use of these filters fairly often, filters are so small and light-weight that I believe it’s not an issue to throw them in your bag whereas touring.

NIKON D810 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 45mm, ISO 64, 13/1, f/9.0

A number of Reminiscence Playing cards

Having sufficient reminiscence card capability is important. I’d counsel having a number of smaller-capacity playing cards, and bringing quite a few backups. Smaller playing cards scale back the entire variety of photographs misplaced in case your card fails, otherwise you lose it/the cardboard will get stolen. And you need to all the time convey a backup set of playing cards, particularly if you happen to’re capturing in the course of nowhere, or in case your camera doesn’t use customary SD playing cards that may be discovered at a mean fuel station. Being caught within the discipline with no technique to report photographs can be a nightmare.

If the worst occurs, and it is advisable to purchase card within the discipline, be ready to pay dearly! I’ve seen exorbitant costs for issues like easy SD playing cards, and also you’re definitely not getting the capability or speeds you may from a vendor like B&H. Newer codecs like CFExpress are going to be nearly inconceivable to seek out, except you’re in a big metropolitan vacation spot like NYC, Tokyo, or London.

Further Batteries

Similar to playing cards, lithium batteries that suit your camera are equally uncommon (and costly) within the wild. A battery might fail on the worst second, so carry at the least a few spares. This additionally permits you to shoot all day with no need to ration your pictures.

On some cameras, supplementing the camera’s battery by recharging by way of a USB-C energy financial institution is an possibility, however examine your guide to see if that applies to you. A USB-C energy financial institution can be going to take up extra space than an additional battery, though it has the benefit of having the ability to cost different units as properly.

NIKON D810 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm, ISO 64, 1/250, f/8.0


Talking of battery life, don’t neglect the charger and cords essential for all of your gear. I prefer to bundle cords with issues like BongoTies, and you may make issues even simpler by labelling them. Frequent vacationers may need to take into account shopping for a spare set of chargers and cords, and simply leaving them packed in a small bag.

Rain Safety

Whereas most camera gear has some degree of climate resistance, it’s not value testing it your self! A fundamental rain cowl could make an enormous distinction in retaining your bag or camera dry in a downpour. For the thriftiest possibility, take into account throwing a trash bag or two into the underside of your bag – you may cowl your bag and even make an impromptu camera cowl for only a few cents.

Cleansing Supplies

While you journey, gear tends to get soiled extra rapidly than typical. Alongside the standard lens cleansing material and spray, I like to recommend bringing a technique to clear your camera sensor if in any respect attainable – whether or not a swab, brush, or gel stick.

Word that “rocket blowers” which can be so fashionable amongst photographers are generally not going to make it by worldwide safety. Sure, they’re only a rubber ball, however they need to look actually suspicious on the x-ray machines – on our Photography Life workshops, we’ve had quite a few contributors prior to now must throw out their rocket blowers in airports abroad.

NIKON D810 + 16-35mm f/4 @ 16mm, ISO 800, 1/30, f/4.5

Laptop Gear

Laptop computer

For journey laptops, each the MacBook Air and MacBook Professional 14” are nice decisions, with lengthy battery life, nice processing energy to weight and an affordable selection of ports. You possibly can take a look at my information to picking the perfect MacBook, and my different information to laptops generally, however suffice to say you may’t actually go fallacious with any mannequin from these product strains.

Card reader

Whilst you can all the time switch straight from the camera, I choose a devoted card reader for quicker offloading (and to have two completely different offload strategies in case you’ve a wire fail or some other concern). They take up a really small quantity of house, and also you don’t must run down your camera’s batteries to switch. I’d counsel trying for a USB-C mannequin, each for standardizing your cords and for velocity.

A Packing List for Travel Photographers

Further Storage

The one draw back of loads of laptops is a smaller inside reminiscence, often with only one inside drive and nothing to function backup. For touring, I extremely suggest bringing alongside a pair of exterior SSDs. I’ve had nice experiences with each SanDisk and Samsung’s strains. Once more, look for USB-C interfaces to assist lower down on cables and adapters.

Charging Brick

Maintaining all the things charged up is fairly simple as of late. I’d suggest trying for a charging brick with GaN know-how. GaN, or gallium nitride, replaces some silicon parts within the charger with smaller, higher-throughput GaN parts. This all provides as much as a smaller charger that may put out extra energy. I actually like Anker’s 736 charger for the cheap value level, 100w capability, and combo of USB-C and USB-A ports, however there are a selection of GaN choices as of late.


Should you’re working a smaller laptop computer just like the MacBook Air, I’d suggest bringing a USB-C hub. The twin USB-C ports aren’t sufficient if you happen to’re making an attempt to cost, obtain, and export to exterior drives when you journey. Look for a hub that helps USB energy supply to make sure you can nonetheless cost from the ports, and take into account paying a bit extra for a extra established identify, since flaky USB connectivity might be annoying to troubleshoot when you journey.

NIKON D810 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 55mm, ISO 64, 1/800, f/3.5


Ensure you have all of the cables essential to attach your units! Take a look at it beforehand – it’s simple to look in your bag, see a bunch of cables, and suppose you’re good. Solely to spend $50 on the solely fuel station in the course of nowhere that has the cable you want.

Energy Adapters

Should you’re touring internationally, don’t neglect to pack an adapter for the completely different outlet kinds you’ll encounter. Additionally, be sure to examine voltages – whereas many merchandise can deal with each home and worldwide voltage ranges, some can’t.

Further Objects

Travel Paperwork

It’s necessary to have paper copies of all of the journey paperwork for your journey, together with boarding passes, visas, reservations, and extra. Don’t depend on the digital copy. Only recently, Southwest’s app went down at boarding, pushing app customers to the again of the road. It’s an annoying reminder of how tech doesn’t all the time work!

Buy Documentation

Should you’re bringing loads of camera gear with you, take into account together with a tough copy of your buy paperwork. Whereas it’s uncommon, customs might imagine you bought gear internationally, and attempt to assess taxes or duties on you when bringing it into a rustic.

NIKON D810 + 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58mm, ISO 100, 1/1250, f/6.3

PDFs of Manuals

Having a duplicate of your camera’s guide is usually a huge profit when troubleshooting within the discipline. For this, a PDF will suffice, and must be available in your producer’s web site.

That’s nearly all the things I’d take into account bringing on a pictures journey – clearly issues will fluctuate vastly primarily based in your vacation spot and function, however hopefully a few of the rationale behind gear decisions will nonetheless be relevant to your state of affairs. Is there something you’d usher in your gear bag that I neglected? Let me know within the feedback beneath!

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