Travel Photography Equipment, Tips & Accessories – Photography is not only a great job, but also probably the most common hobby in the world. Even if you don’t call yourself a photographer, you are one! How many times have you used your smartphone to take a photo, or even just a selfie? Probably almost every day…
And above all, what would a holiday be without souvenir photos? Whether for yourself, your family, your friends or social media, holiday photos are simply part of modern times. A photo can be taken quickly and easily, but the disappointment afterwards can also be great. Because in order to take really impressive photos on vacation, you should pay attention to a few points. In this article we explain the most important tips for travel photography and tell you which equipment you definitely need.
This guide is also ideal for influencers, bloggers and people who want to take good photos for social media. We also deal with the common formats from 2022 / 2023 and tell you how you can get even more attention on social networks with great travel pictures.
Travel Photography Equipment – Update 22/23
If you already have your equipment for travel pictures and videos, then simply skip this point. But if you are currently looking for a new camera, a smartphone, a drone or an action cam, then you will find our current top products for travel photography here.
Cameras for Travelers
We have been shooting with the Sony a6000 and the Sony SEL 10-18mm lens for several years. Since we mainly photograph landscapes, only the wide-angle lens came into question for us. A decision that we have not regretted to this day (despite the very high price of around €800 at the time).
If you are looking for an all-rounder lens, we can recommend the Sony SEL 16-70. Here you have a good wide angle, but also a considerable zoom range.
Since we have had the camera for many years and a lot is happening, especially in the field of photography, we would like to present the currently recommended technology here. We have put together a few current camera recommendations for the year 2023 for you here:
Canon EOS 6D Mark II
The EOS 6D Mark II is a camera for professionals. While not the handiest, the full-frame DSLR offers impressive image quality and performance. Thanks to the full-frame sensor, 1080p videos look like real cinematic movies.
Sony RX100 VII
If a full-frame camera is too big or too heavy for you, the Sony RX100 VII is highly recommended. The RX100 series is particularly popular among travelers because of its small body (10.16 x 3.59 x 5.81) and low weight (213 grams).
The Nikon D5600 is a single-lens reflex camera that combines good value for money with travel suitability. It has a good sensor with compact dimensions and a reasonable weight. The moveable touchscreen monitor and the WiFi module are useful features that make handling easier. With a suitable lens, you can take really good photos with the D5600, which will probably more than satisfy 90% of all travelers.
–> Nikon D5600
Sony A7 IV
Do you want to take professional photos but don’t feel like lugging around a huge, heavy camera? Sony also offers a remedy here. What the manufacturer creates with the A7 IV is almost extraordinary. A professional camera with a full-frame sensor in a compact body and (depending on the model) up to 40 megapixels. Of course, all of this has its price. It starts at €1,000 just for the housing, plus another €700 for a good lens. If you can afford it, there’s no better professional camera than the Sony A7 IV for travel.
–> Sony A7 IV
Action Cams for Travelers
Action cams are an absolute must when traveling these days. Not without good reason, because these cameras are extremely small, robust and the image quality is now simply unbelievably good. The small action cams can now also take photos. Action cams are the best choice for action videos, vlogs and other moving recordings. On many of our trips and excursions, we often only use the action cam for videos and photos.
DJI Osmo Action 3
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is the latest offshoot from DJI. The compact action cam convinces with a very good image quality at a reasonable price. The Osmo Action is more than €100 cheaper than the competition from GoPro. The Osmo Action 3 can now record 4K videos with up to 120FPS and features such as Horizon Steady and Rock Steady allow extremely stable video recordings. We are particularly impressed by the quality of the sound recordings and the wind suppression. We are currently on the road with the Osmo Action 3 and are completely convinced of this camera.
GoPro Hero 11 Black
The GoPro Hero 11 Black is also one of the newest products in the field of action cams. The Hero 11 Black offers a higher resolution than the Osmo Action 3, but in our opinion the extra charge is not worth it for normal 4K videos. However, the 8×7 image sensor is a fine thing, since reels in 9:16 format can be extracted relatively easily from landscape shots without any loss of quality. In general, the Hero 11 Black is technically the better variant, but for us it is not worth the extra money. On top of that, we’ve been DJI fans for a long time anyway.
Drones for Travelers
Now we come to the type of camera with which, without a doubt, the most impressive shots can be taken. Drones have become indispensable in travel photography and videography. The birdseye perspective allows to take extremely impressive images that would not be imaginable from the ground. Even areas that are difficult to access can be reached very easily with the camera drone and imaged effortlessly. We can recommend the following two drones to travelers in 2023 without hesitation.
DJI Mini 2 (Price tip)
The DJI Mini 2 is our current travel drone, mainly because of its extremely compact dimensions. The price/performance ratio is definitely excellent with the Mini 2. In addition, crashes can be better coped with on cheaper models, which is a great relief when used regularly and for risky flight maneuvers. Cinematic landscape shots can also be taken well with 4K and 30FPS, but you will definitely reach the camera limits with fast flight maneuvers. Here are 30 FPS not enough in order to take smooth video shots.
–> DJI Mini 2
DJI Mavic 3
The Mavic 3 is the top product among the more compact camera drones. It has a variety of sensors and functions that make flying safer and easier. It also offers an image quality of up to 5.3K. If you want to record in the usual 4K, you can also capture extremely fast scenes with up to 120FPS. The Hasselblad dual camera also offers an exploration mode, which enables 28x hybrid zoom, making it easier to select the best image section in flight.
–> DJI Mavic 3
Tip: If you need a little more image quality but don’t want to miss the compact dimensions, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is state-of-the-art. For hobby travelers and bloggers / vloggers who only want to fly the drone every now and then, the DJI Mini 2 should be completely sufficient and can also be easy on the wallet.
Taking Photos and Videos with your Smartphone
Smartphones are getting better and better, and not just in terms of performance. Even the cameras of the small devices no longer need to hide, because they now do an excellent job. 4K videos can now also be recorded with a decent FPS rate, so even for bloggers and influencers there is nothing wrong with taking travel shots with your smartphone. The pictures and videos taken there can also be shared extremely quickly on social networks, so everyone can take part in your trip.
According to test reports, the following smartphones currently offer the best camera:
iPhone 14 Pro Max
- 48 MP Camera
- 2 Tele / 1 Ultrawide
- Up to 3x optical zoom
- 4k (60FPS)
Google Pixel 7 Pro
- 50 MP Camera
- 1 Tele / 1 Ultrawide
- Up to 5x optical zoom
- 4k (60FPS)
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- 108 MP Camera
- 2 Telecameras
- Up to 10x optical zoom
- 8k (24FPS)
- 4k (60FPS)
–> S22 Ultra
Image & Video Formats
The right image format plays an important role, depending on the use. This is the only way you can perfectly stage your shots and avoid ugly picture edges. We have summarized all currently valid image and video formats for your travel recordings here.
- Full Width: 2400×1600
- Post-Sidebar: max. 336 width
- Upright images: max. 1000 width
Insta & Facebook Bilder
- FB Post: 940×788
- Instagram Post: 1080×1080
- Instagram & FB Story: 1080×1920
- Shorts: 9:16
- Regular Videos: 16:9
- TikTok: 9:16
- Instagram: 9:16
- Facebook: 9:16
Tip for bloggers: Depending on the website, design and image section, you can manually adjust the height of the image. In particularly long and image-heavy articles, we tend to use lower-height images in order to create a better overview.
Travel Photography Tips
Now that you know everything about the best technology and the right image format, we’ll tell you a few tips and tricks for travel photography. With just a few simple steps, you can turn a boring photo into an unforgettable and beautiful photo that will certainly have potential to go viral on social media. You should definitely consider the following points when creating your shots.
One of the the most important things in photography is the light. You can’t have a nice photo without the right light. It is not without reason that photographers often wait for hours just to take a single photo. For example, if you want to take a photo of the sunset or sunrise, the time plays an important role. Once the sun goes down, it’s far from over. The most beautiful light awaits you 30 minutes before or after sunset. At this hour, the sky also takes on picturesque colors that are simply stunning.
A good light also increases the quality of the shots. Good exposure plays an important role, especially with smartphone cameras. Also, if possible, you should never take pictures against the light, otherwise your pictures will simply not come out well.
Bad weather doesn’t mean bad photos
The weather doesn’t always play along. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take nice photos. Bad weather is often a great way to create a different mood. The sun does not always have to shine on holiday pictures to get the perfect picture. Depending on the subject, cloudy days are often even more interesting.
One of the most important elements is the foreground. You can be on the most beautiful beach in the world, but without the right composition, it will look boring. Therefore, make sure that you get some variety in the picture. Of course, it always depends on the right composition, but the foreground is an important part, even if the actual focus should be on the background.
Even if there is no possibility of creating a foreground on site, we always try to find, for example, a stone or a branch that we can use for the picture. But it can also be a person. Don’t just stand your girlfriend/boyfriend down, let him/her sit on the floor with his/her back to the camera. Drinks and cocktails on tables or in the hand or other objects that match the motif are also popular.
Try a different angle
Many photographers are too lazy to move for a photo. So the rule is that you just pull out your camera, hold it straight and press the shutter button. This perspective often fits, but it is best to take 2-3 different pictures from different perspectives. Climb an elevation, or lie down on the ground and shoot as low as possible. The change in perspective can have extremely large effects on a successful image composition.
Underwater photography is one of the most difficult disciplines in travel photography. The poor lighting conditions, the one-sided ambient color and often boring underwater landscapes are the reasons for this. It is all the more important that you play with the motif underwater. The foreground can also significantly enhance a picture taken in the sea. Make sure you also have good lighting conditions, as this is the only way you can ultimately get the best quality out of your camera. Modern action cams often even have a dive mode, which makes it easier to take good pictures.
A really good picture manages to captivate its viewer and create a mood. In travel photography, you often want to create a desire for a place or present it in a particularly unique way. This usually only succeeds by emphasizing the magnificence of the place with certain elements. So a picture in an empty cave can hardly inspire anyone. But if you place a person under a beam of light, the same cave suddenly becomes an Instagram hotspot.
For example, you can show the size of the place in the picture or create a mood. Enclosed you will find a small selection of our favorite travel photography images, which we think are extremely well done and all of which capture a wonderful atmosphere.
Drone Photography & Videography Tips
Aerial shots are often very impressive and new developments in the drone market have made them affordable for everyone. The beauty of a landscape can often only be fully captured with a drone. You should definitely observe the following tips for photo and video recordings with drones.
Obey the local laws!
Although flying a drone is legal in many countries, there are a number of rules to be observed. Flying at airports or around military installations is usually strictly forbidden and can be subject to extreme penalties abroad. You should therefore definitely find out about the local drone laws, especially in countries governed by the military or dictatorship! In some countries around the world, flying with a drone is even completely forbidden, and there are even known cases where tourists have ended up in prison.
Use a drone insurance!
Another important point is a drone insurance. You should definitely insure your drone worldwide. So you are protected against personal injury and damage to property of third parties. If you own an expensive drone, comprehensive drone insurance can also make sense. This pays for damage to your aircraft. From our point of view, Helden.de has the best insurance for drones, unfortunately it seems to be only available for people living in Germany.
In order to achieve the best recording result with the drone, you should always film with at least 60 FPS when recording videos. Unfortunately, not all drones can do 4K with 60 FPS, such as the DJI Mini 2. Then you should adjust the motif and the flight speed. Slow cinematic shots work well even with 30 FPS. But as soon as it gets a little faster, you get a stuttering in the picture relatively quickly. In the end, only an upgrade to better hardware will help here.
The motif is the most important point when photographing and filming with the drone. Although many beaches and landscapes almost automatically look breathtaking from a bird’s eye view, you can spice up the motif with people, animals or other elements. Enclosed you will find a few examples of a good choice of motif when photographing with the drone. For video recordings, you should plan your flight route in advance in order to achieve a smooth video capture.
Camera Setup Tips
With the right settings on the camera or drone, you can also get a lot out of a picture and really master travel photography. The following tips on the recording settings can help you to take particularly good pictures when travelling.
Shoot in RAW mode: Almost every camera has a RAW mode, which means that the image is not processed in the camera. With JPEG recordings, the camera automatically determines the image and processes it somewhat. This is sufficient for normal photos, but if you want to edit the picture in depth afterwards, you will quickly reach the limits and lose a lot of quality. In RAW mode, however, you have a lot more leeway, which is particularly noticeable in image processing. Here you get the maximum out of the photo. However, the disadvantage of RAW files is that they are very large and cannot be used directly. Extensive processing is therefore always necessary.
Manual settings: Forget the automatic mode! Become master of your camera yourself. The biggest mistake is always and everywhere to take pictures in automatic mode. It’s better to practice and get to grips with your camera and shooting in manual mode. If you can set the exposure and aperture yourself, then you can get completely different photos that would never have been possible in automatic mode. In the end, only a little basic knowledge and then a lot of practice helps here. Just try it out, no master has fallen from the sky yet!
Let’s be completely honest – it doesn’t work without post-processing! Polishing up the images is a must, especially in travel photography. This is the only way to display colors beautifully and get the most out of the image or video. There are very different approaches to image processing. While some try to get close to reality, others want to create particularly impressive images. With these in particular, you can get significantly more attention on social media channels. We can therefore recommend the following tips for image and video editing.
First you need the right image editing program. Everyone is familiar with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom and it is certainly the most powerful professional tool on the market. However, we do not use Adobe for our images, but what we believe to be much simpler yet very powerful software.
Luminar Neo is an image editing program that gives you an extremely large number of options and supports you in editing with artificial intelligence. In this way, you can easily save even extremely bad pictures or even make extensive changes. In this way, disturbing objects or people in the picture can be simply erased or the entire atmosphere can be changed by changing the sky.
We use Luminar Neo for almost all of our images and can recommend this program to all bloggers, influencers and also all users in the private sector. Luminar is available as a subscription or with a fairly cheap one-time payment. For just under $100 you get Luminar Neo permanently for 2 devices. Individual licenses are even cheaper.
The Luminar marketplace is particularly interesting, where you can buy new presets, sky textures or other functions and filters, and thus expand your toolbox step by step.
Videos are becoming more and more important and especially the short reels in portrait format are the eye-catchers on social media. Drone shots in particular are ideal for breathtaking videos that will draw attention.
Nowadays, it is especially important to use short and fast cuts, hardly anyone watches videos that last minutes where nothing happens. The right accompanying music is also a decisive factor. In the world of social media, hits rotate almost weekly. If you then use these songs in your reels and videos, you often have a much better chance of appearing in the algorithms of TikTok, Insta & Co.
There are now many good programs for cutting videos. Final Cut Pro is very popular among Mac users, but it also costs a whopping 299.99 Dollars. From our point of view, however, it is not necessary to buy expensive editing programs, we have tested many alternatives and we particularly liked two options for video editing in the field of social media.
An example of a cloud-based solution would be Canva. The design program can only be used via the browser with an Internet connection, but offers an image and video editor. There are already many good templates as a starting point for your posts and reels. There is also an extensive sound, image and video database for pro users. Canva is one of our top choices when it comes to editing images and videos in the cloud.
If you also want to cut videos offline, you can use the free video editor CapCut. This is available for Windows, Mac OS and even mobile devices. It is also available as a browser version. CapCut also has an extensive music and sound database that can be used for the videos. CapCut can be synchronized with the TikTok account, which is very handy.
We’ve been using Final Cut Pro for a long time, but have now completely switched to CapCut and Canva as these options are cheaper or even free and can be used on any operating system.
Useful Equipment & Travel Photography Accessories
There are different accessories for almost every situation. Whether it’s a flash, filters, lenses or batteries, you simply can’t have everything with you when travelling. Nevertheless, you should not get on the road without the most important accessories for travel photography. Here are our tips for the best accessories in the travel photography sector.
Tripod: One of the most important accessories when traveling. Especially long exposures or timelapse shots cannot succeed without a tripod. For action cams, but also normal cameras, modern octopus-style tripods are ideal, which can even be flexibly attached to poles, railings or vehicles.
ND filter: In order to take a long exposure of several seconds or even minutes during the day, you need an ND filter. The filter darkens the image, so you need a longer exposure. Especially moving objects like waterfalls generate a cool effect on the photo (see below).
Batteries: There is nothing more annoying than empty batteries. Drone pilots in particular should never travel without 2-3 spare batteries in their luggage. An additional battery is never a mistake for the action cam either. It has already happened to us once that we lost a drone in the sea. We really wanted to record a beautiful beach with a little battery power, but the remaining battery dropped so quickly that the drone could no longer be controlled and ultimately crashed into the sea.
Memory cards: Don’t just buy one large memory card, but rather 2-3 small ones with 32 or 64 GB. If you ever lose the camera, drone or card itself all your photos are gone! Hopefully we don’t need to mention that you should save your photos after each day… It’s also important that you choose a high-performance memory card, as this is the only way you can record smooth 4K videos. It should be at least the U3 standard with around 100MB/s!
Tips for drone accessories: Over the years we have also been able to gain a lot of experience with the drone while traveling. So spare propellers are a good purchase, especially when going to less developed countries or remote islands. A fireproof Lipo-Bag is an advantage for transport on the plane, as it allows you to transport the batteries 100% safely in your hand luggage and avoids problems with airlines.
We hope that you liked our detailed guide about travel photography and, above all, that it was helpful. We have summarized all our experiences from more than 10 years of blogging. We wish you a lot of fun and lots of great pictures and videos on your travels!
What are your best travel photography tips? Leave us a comment below!