Travel Photography Gear: What Equipment do I Need to Start a Travel Instagram Page?
If you’re thinking of starting a travel page you might be overwhelmed by the amount of photography equipment you think you need to buy. The truth is that you don’t need a 101 things to start, and our advice to you is to keep it simple, keep your belongings to a minimum and you can add gear along the way as you grow. To make things easier, we are going to split our travel photography gear into 3 main categories: Essentials, Extras, and Things that make life easier.
Here are 5 essentials that you need to get started:
1. Travel camera + lens
Your camera choice depends on what your priorities are (do you value travelling light over lugging a huge brick-like camera around)? For us, whilst we do aim to travel light, we balance that with wanting to capture decent photos as well.
Some reasons why we prefer the SONY A7iii to our old camera:
Better video quality
In body stabilisation
We only have 2 lenses in our camera bag, but the main one we use is the SONY 16-35mm f2.8 to get a slightly wider angle and to fit both of us in the frame. Our photography style shows the destination as well (instead of focusing on us) and this suits us nicely. If you only want to get one lens, this is the one we would recommend.
The second lens we have Is the SONY 24-105mm f4 which zooms in a lot more which helps draw the background in – and is also good for portaits.
If you are travelling alone or even as a couple, you can’t rely on others to take a photo for you (most of the time), and it’s best to invest in a reliable tripod. We use the Manfrotto Element Traveller Tripod and can’t do without it.
Reasons we chose it
Durable (we’ve been using it for 2 years and it’s still going strong)
Easy to carry – we usually slot it into the bottle holder of our backpack
3. Memory card
4. Hard drive
This is one of the most essential things to have - you must back up your photos every single time if you don’t want to go through the trauma of losing all your hard work. We use the Samsung portable SSD T5, which is a solid slate drive and is more durable than standard hard drives. For our second back-up, we use the 2TB Toshiba hard drive which we leave at home.
5. Computer/phone for editing
Once you've captured your photos, they need to be edited. This step can transform your page from a mediocre to a stunning one. We use Lightroom for editing and you can get the mobile version for free.
↠ Presets can go a long way in making your page look uniform and getting that 'glossy instagram look' you're after.
1. Spare camera battery
There is nothing worse than running out of battery halfway through your shoot and not being able to continue! Go prepared.
↠ We use this SONY spare battery.
Drone footage is not necessary to start a travel page, but it does add a different dimension to your photography. We use the MAVIC 2 Pro, but with more restrictions being implemented as more people buy drones, it has become harder to take your drone to various destinations!
↠ Every country has different drone restrictions and you may need to apply for a permit, please check before you travel.
3. Polar Pro Mavic 2 Pro ND Filters
We use ND filters on our drone when filming in different light conditions. These filters help us to capture greater detail in harsh light conditions. Again, not absolutely necessary but as you get more confident in flying your drone and want to take it a step further, the Polar Pro ND filters are great.
4. Go Pro + Go Pro Dome
You only need a gimbal if you are also trying to capture video content. We use the Zhiyun crane plus.
Clearly not necessary if you are only into photography, but if you are aiming to create travel vlogs, We love the RODE on-camera compact microphone.
Things that make your life easier
1. Lightning to SD card reader
This SD card reader is useful when you’re on the go. You can easily transfer images from your memory card straight to your phone to have a look at them without getting your computer out. Downsides to this - it's not a 2-way transfer.
2. Portable phone charger
We have relied on this so many times during our travels. Obviously not a necessity, but definitely makes your life easier when you can’t find a wall plug to charge your phone up – we have even connected it to our laptop as a last resort.
3. A decent backpack
What you want is a backpack with plenty of storage space and compartments, with a dedicated area for your camera gear. This really makes your life easier when you want to grab your camera quickly without having to put your bag down and take everything else out before you can get to your camera.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY)
What is the best camera for beginners?
When we started out we had no idea what camera to buy, but we knew we wanted to go down the mirrorless route because of how compact the cameras are as well as their electronic viewfinders - in the end we opted for the Fujifilm XT-2. This was the PERFECT first camera for us, for so many reasons, but to name a few - EVF, dials on the top of the body, lenses have manual aperture dial built-in. When you're just starting out these feature easily get confusing if they are in menus or on a screen, but having them as individual manual scrollers makes life so much easier to learn!
Do I really need a drone to have a successful travel instagram page?
Definitely not! There are so many people out there with hugely successful travel accounts that never use a drone. It depends on what style of content you want to create. For example, a drone can seriously improve your videos and give you the option to capture aerial photos. However it takes up serious space in your camera bag (depending on which drone you have) and can be complicated to fly in most tourist spots without a permit.
Zoom lens or prime lens?
For beginners, definitely a zoom lens. The kit lens you get with most cameras is more than capable to capture a wide range of styles and is perfect to learn with. We only have 1 prime lens which usually stays in our camera bag because we prefer the versatility of the zoom lenses. If you have never tried a prime lens you might find it hard to get the frame that you want and can result in disappointment in post production. Definitely start with a zoom lens!
Can I edit my photos on my phone?
Yes! All of our presets are mobile compatible and can be used to edit with one click on your phone. We use them to edit on our phone all the time. It is not necessary to have a powerful laptop just to edit your photos.