It’s your first trip out of the country as a real “photographer”. Your clothing is packed. Your suitcase is at the door. Now there’s only one question:
What photography gear do you bring?
You’re headed out on your next adventure, and you want to come back with lots of great photos. Your clothing is packed. Your suitcase is at the door. Other than your camera and lenses, what other camera gear should you bring?
I could write an article about the top 20 photography accessories you should bring with when travelling, but for those shorter adventures, and my goal of trying to pack light (although I have a really hard time not filling my bag with gear!), here’s my top give photography accessories you shouldn’t leave home without.
Depending on your destination, what you’re shooting and what kind of camera you’re using, consider this a decent jumping off point.
Tripods are probably the single most useful photo accessory you can own, helping to capture everything from crisp landscapes to long exposures of the night sky. One of my favourite tripods that I own is the Manfrotto BeFree One (carbon model). It also comes in a more affordable aluminum version. Designed to be ultra-compact and lightweight, Befree One is the most portable Manfrotto tripod: it fits into hand luggage and backpacks and it is easier to carry than any other tripod of its kind.
Remote shutter release
I never leave home without my remote shutter release. This affordable accessory lets your sap photos without physically touching your camera, therefore reducing any blur caused from bumping your camera. And of course, a remote shutter release is handy if you want to include yourself in the photograph.
I’m more interested in the ability a remote shutter release provides to take photos using long exposures. It allows you to keep your shutter open for long periods without having to touch your camera.
Situations When a Camera Release is Useful
- When using Telephoto Lenses
- Doing Macro Photography
- Shooting Multiple Exposures
- Using Slow Shutter Speeds due to Lack of Light
- Using Slow Shutter Speeds to Create the illusion of Movement
- Capturing momentary Bursts of Light
- Shooting HDR Images
Extra batteries and memory cards
In an age of low-cost cards, high-resolution sensors, and HD video, too much, it turns out, is never enough. I usually use 32GB memory cards. If something were to go wrong (e.g. a corrupt card or loss of the card) I’d prefer to have a smaller card instead of a large card (e.g. 128GB) to avoid losing fewer photos. Also, ensure that you’ve got enough batteries for the trip. It’s a good idea to give your batteries a proper charge overnight and don’t forget any special adaptors that might be necessary for your destination if you’re travelling internationally.
These might not be the first accessories you think of, because they’re not particularly exciting, but without them a wet or dirty lens can ruin your photo outing. I would recommend packing a few microfibre cloths, lens cleaning solution, a lens pen and a rocket blower. Don’t let specs of dust or dust ruin your epic photos!
In addition to cleaning your lens, it’s always proactive to use a UV filter for your lens. Maybe I’m being a bit extreme but I don’t even use a new lens until I’ve attached a UV filter to it. I’d rather replace a cheap filter than an expensive lens.
Neutral Density (ND) filter
ND filters are often spoken about with a sense of mystery and some people think that they’re reserved only for professional photographers. Okay, so maybe I used to view them that way, too. But I don’t anymore.
Basically, ND filters are really dark pieces of glass that you attach to your lens, just as your would other filters. They allow you to shoot long exposures even in bright daylight. These filters are simple: they block light. The darker the filter, the less light enters the camera, and the longer your shutter speed will need to be for a proper exposure.
There are two main reasons why ND filters never leave my camera bag. First, they’re the secret to taking amazing milky-smooth waterfall photos when used with a tripod. Second, when you use a tripod, and shoot long exposures you can make tourists magically disappear from the foreground of your landmark photos (this won’t work if people are standing still very long though).
I don’t want to mislead you – buying an ND filter isn’t particularly simple. They come in many different darkness levels, helping landscape photographers get the perfect exposure for a particular shot. I would suggest beginning with a 9-stop filter and don’t forget to buy one that matches the size of your lens.