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8 Essential Accessories for Travel Photography

Marianne Stenger
24th October 2016

If you’re heading out on your first travel adventure as a photographer, you’re probably wondering what you should pack. Of course, different photographers have their own views on what gear is essential while travelling, depending on their skill level and photography niche.

Wildlife photographers, for instance, may want to have a telephoto zoom lens, whereas architectural photographers may need a tilt shift lens and street photographers may favour prime lenses.

Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to travel photography, lugging around too many lenses and accessories can actually slow you down and become a hindrance, so it’s important to choose your gear carefully and carry as little as possible.

If you haven’t travelled much as a photographer yet and aren’t sure what you may need aside from your camera and lenses, here’s a look at the essential camera accessories you should always carry with you.

1. Camera bag

There are many different types of camera bags, from backpacks to shoulder bags to roller bags, but regardless of what type you choose, make sure it’s comfortable to carry, even while you’re shooting, and is sturdy enough to protect your expensive gear.

Another thing to consider is that you may not want your camera bag to look too fancy or you could become a target for thieves, so do some research and find a bag that will fit both your gear and your style of travel.

2. Lightweight tripod

Tripods are essential for taking pictures in low light conditions, but since regular tripods tend to be heavy and bulky, you may need to invest in a separate tripod to take with you on your travels.

The ideal travel tripod would be foldable and lightweight, while still being sturdy enough to handle the weight of your camera and heaviest lens. If you need some inspiration, check out this list on TechRadar.

3. Notebook and pen

Since it can be difficult to remember all the details of the photos you’ve taken while travelling, a little pocket-sized notebook and pen can come in handy when you need to jot down information about the people, things or places you’re photographing along the way.

4. Spare batteries

There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to capture some interesting scene only to find that you’ve run out of battery juice. Carrying a few extra batteries is a good idea even when you’re shooting in your own neighbourhood, but it becomes even more important when you’re far from home and may not have easy access to power outlets.

5. Extra memory cards and card reader

Like the spare batteries, carrying a spare memory card or two will ensure you never miss a shot due to inadequate storage space. The capacity of memory cards these days ranges from 2GB to 512 GB, so depending on how many photos you normally take; you may only need one or two extra cards. A card reader is also a must if you want to be able to back up your photos regularly while you travel.

6. Lens filters

Lens filters, like UV or polarizing filters, are generally inexpensive, and in addition to reducing glare, increasing contrast and enhancing colours, they can also prevent your lenses from getting scratched if accidentally knocked against a hard surface.

7. Travel adapter

Even if you’re bringing extra batteries, you’ll still need to charge up between photo shoots, especially if you’re planning to be away from home for days or even weeks at a time. So in addition to bringing your regular camera battery charger, it’s a good idea to invest in a high quality universal travel adapter.

8. Lens and camera cleaning kit

Your camera and lenses can get pretty dirty if you’re shooting outdoors, so a simple cleaning kit is essential if you want to get sharp photos and keep your gear in good working order. At the very least, make sure you have a few microfiber cloths and lens cleaning wipes.

Carrying a few Ziploc bags of different sizes is also a good idea, as they can be used for everything from protecting your gear to keeping things organised.