Travel Photography 101 – What gear do I need?

Cameras and travel go hand in hand. You wouldn’t dream of taking a bucket list trip without also bringing along something to document the journey, right? But upgrading from the camera in your phone or a basic point & shoot can be a daunting task. Different kinds of travel have different documentation needs! Before you go ahead and get that new camera, make sure you read these tips to get the best option for your adventures.


Optrix by Body Glove™

Remember how we said upgrading from the camera in your phone, up there? That may have been a bit of a lie. There are some truly amazing kits out there to help you make the most of your phone camera, and you won’t believe the quality you can get! We worked with Optrix by Body Glove™ in 2015 to give the winner of our #travelcutsDOC FilmFest an outstanding prize. Their phone cases & lenses are truly like nothing else! Keep your phone safe while still taking on all the adventure activities you love – like scuba diving, rock climbing, you name it. Plus, they’ve got tons of compatible gear so you can wear your phone, strap it to your bike, or secure it on your helmet. Pair it with a couple interchangeable lenses and you’re set. How’s that for an upgrade?

Haven’t got an iPhone? Try out Photojojo’s magnetic lenses, tested with a wide variety of current smartphones.


Photo by Ladan Takow


GoPro has made a name as the rugged camera company, and it’s a well deserved reputation. If you’re an aspiring videographer and you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get into when travelling, the GoPro will be your best friend. You don’t have to worry about damaging it in the same way you would a DSLR, and your phone won’t have to play two roles. Of course, you won’t be able to Snapchat your adventures as you would with a phone kit, but with the right skills, you’ll get a video worthy of millions of subscribers on YouTube.

Like the idea of wearing your camera, but don’t need the ruggedness of a GoPro? Try out the Narrative clip, a discreet clip-on camera that allows you to essentially stream your life.



If you’re serious about your travel photography, a DSLR is the way to go. The least lightweight, least portable, and most expensive of your options, there’s no comparing the quality of images and videos you’ll get with this kind of camera. Even within the category of DSLR, there’s a HUGE range of options for you to choose from. For beginner photogs, start out with an entry-level body like Canon’s Rebel series or Nikon’s D3XXX series. There are many many many camera brands down there, and it really all boils down to personal preference. I have a preference for Canon because the longevity & ubiquitousness of the EF mount means I can use lenses from the 80s & 90s on my own modern camera. The one thing people often forget: it’s about the photographer, not the camera. The best photographers in the world can still get a good image from an older, low-end camera – and the worst can take an EOS-1D X and get an image that looks like your grandma took the shot (unless your grandma happens to be a professional photographer. In which case, you have a cool grandma.) Don’t spend all your money on your camera body, because the REAL cost investment is on your lenses. Most camera bodies come with a “kit” lens, usually an 18-55mm zoom lens suitable for basic shots. With clever skill, this is all you need, but we still recommend you grab 2 other lenses: a prime lens (fixed focal length; non-zoom), and a telephoto lens. We could go on and on endlessly about lenses, but the gist of it is: work with the bare minimum while you improve your skills, and then consider getting the “fancier” items. Protip: you can often get a great bargain buying your camera body and/or lenses gently-used.


Want to get into serious photography, but not sure you’re ready for the investment of a DSLR? Try out a bridge camera. These cameras often have more options, better sensors, and better lenses than your average point & shoot, without the pricetag of a DSLR. In some cases, a bridge camera may even be preferable if you’ve already maxed out your carry-on luggage and can’t bring a camera bag as your personal item.

Because you would never, ever, ever check something so important as your camera, right? Promise us: no matter what camera you choose, you will always bring it as a carry-on.

Now that you’ve got the gear, it’s time to hit the road! Visit us at and let’s start planning the photo-worthy adventures you’re going to have.

Written by Deanna Gregorio, Brand Specialist at travelcuts.


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