Most people think of using a camera when traveling, and many photographers trace their obsession with photography to the moment they became intrigued by shots they had taken when traveling or on vacation.
Although it can be similar to nature photography, there are some unique challenges associated with travel photography. What equipment should you bring? Should you bring an SLR or a point-and-shoot? Digital or film? Only you can figure out the answers to those questions, but with a little thought, your decision-making can be simplified.
If the purpose of your travel isn't exclusively to do photography, you may want to think twice about bringing along an SLR with many lenses and accessories. These items are heavy and expensive, and going through customs and long airline check-in lines with them may be an extra aggravation you don't need or want.
Many good photographers will bring along a good point-and-shoot with a long telephoto lens in these situations. Digital cameras lend themselves to travel, as images from memory cards can be uploaded to online albums and the card's memory cleared for the next day's shooting. Film photographers must be careful that their exposed rolls are not handled poorly or exposed to X-rays during their travels.
If the purpose of the trip is primarily to do photography, of course you will bring along your best camera equipment and be prepared to deal with any inconveniences that may arise. Your reward will be fabulous pictures that will undoubtedly be worth the trouble. You will still have to decide whether to bring film or digital, point-and-shoot or SLR, but after reading the previous chapters your decision should be a great deal easier to make. No matter what sort of camera you decide on, one piece of equipment that is absolutely essential is a backup camera. The further you are from home, the more important spares become. Telephotos are essential, too, because if you drop or break one, you lose a lot of shooting capacity. If you bring a lighter, slower, and cheaper zoom, like one of the compact 28–200mm zooms as your one-lens backup system, you are well covered.
If you decide to take your camera equipment on the road for some serious shooting, the following list is a good starting place for planning what you'll need to bring:
For All Photographers
A sturdy camera case
A shoulder bag, preferably weatherproof
A sturdy tripod light enough to be easily portable
Extra batteries and film
For Digital Shooters
Extra batteries and memory cards
Power converter for rechargeable batteries
If you will be traveling overseas, don't forget to bring a converter for your battery charger.
Obviously, before you decide to spend the money, time, and energy travel photography requires, you need to do your research. There are many options and resources available to travelers. Whether it's a major travel adventure or a family vacation, the more you know about the location, the better your pictures will be.
A major source of information is the library, where you can look through back issues of
In addition to print publications, there are numerous online travel magazines such as