Travel photography may be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding traveling jobs out there, but it definitely isn’t a walk in the park. It has its own set of unique challenges. You’re not just a regular traveler—you go from place to place lugging around a lot of heavy and bulky equipment such as cameras, lenses, and tripods. Because you’re often on the go, your power supply and internet connection can get erratic at times, and these two things are some of the essentials to getting your job done.
So what does a photographer who frequently travels have to do?
Whether you’re taking travel photos to make money or just for leisure—and with the challenging demands that come along with being a travel photographer—having the right gear in tow can save you from a lot of trouble. Your choice of tools and devices can spell the difference between a smooth-sailing and a disastrous location shoot. Equipping yourself with travel photography essentials can make your life a lot easier on the road, on mountains, or wherever you go.
What exactly do you need to have in your luggage to help you take great travel photos with ease? Here are six must-have items for every travel photographer:
Rechargeable batteries should be in every travel photographer’s kit, as many gadgets are battery-operated, including the controllers we use for our cameras and some portable lighting equipment.
When you’re in another country, it can be a pain in the neck to look for shops that sell rechargeable batteries. Add to that the possible language barrier with locals, and you’ll be wasting time searching for batteries instead of spending the day shooting the beautiful scenery along the way.
A great solution to battery problems is having a set of rechargeable batteries ready for your travel, such as Panasonic’s Eneloop. Since these batteries can be charged multiple times, you can power them up in locations where a power outlet is available.
Unlike other rechargeable batteries that drain when not in use, the Eneloop batteries last long—retaining up to 70% of its power even after long periods of not being used. If you get the pro version, you’ll retain 85% of its power even after a year of storage and twice the number of external camera strobe flashes. Thus, you can keep a pack or two in your camera kit for months so that you always have spare batteries ready.
Eneloop can also be reused up to 2,100 times, which means less wastage and less cost.
Portable Wireless Charger
Portable wireless chargers are heaven-sent for those who take pictures with their smartphones. Because taking photos can drain a smartphone battery quickly, it’s important to constantly charge your phone on the go.
While there are hundreds of wireless charging stations spread all over several major airports in the U.S. and other parts of the world, it’s still a good idea to invest in your own portable wireless charger. Why? Because you can’t be sure when you’ll have access to a wireless charging station.
With portable wireless chargers like BEZALEL’s Prelude, you can also avoid the hassle of having to dig into your carry-on bags and luggage during flights and layovers just to charge your device. You can just grab the Prelude from your bag, look for a flat surface to place it on, and put your phone on top of it. Weighing only 4 oz., this portable wireless charger won’t add much weight to your travel bag.
GoPro Hero4 users will be glad to know that the Prelude can also be used to extend the life of their action camera.
Global Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
Travel photography has come a long way from just taking pictures for postcards and brochures. It has also become a source of income for many travel bloggers and professional photographers who need to submit their photos to their clients at the soonest time possible.
This is where a portable Wi-Fi hotspot like the GlocalMe comes in handy. GlocalMe uses Cloud SIM technology, which was developed to be the world’s first 4G free roaming Wi-Fi hotspot. It works in 108 countries and provides 2GB of browsing data, which means you can practically use it wherever you go.
It’s also globally unlocked, so you don’t need to bother with finding the right SIM size and configuration when you’re in a foreign country.
Design-wise, it looks very classy with its white and silver exterior—somewhat like the older iPhone and iPod models. It also comes with a soft case that allows you to pack it in an organized way into your travel bag.
Aside from being a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, GlocalMe can also be used as a power bank, which is a very useful feature should you forget to bring your charger with you.
To set up your device, all you have to do is create an account through the website or by scanning a QR code and select your preferred method of payment. Then log in using your details, connect, and enjoy surfing.
Universal Power Adapter
When traveling, it’s likely that there’ll be limited power outlets available for your use. This can be very frustrating if you need to charge or plug many gadgets. This is where the Outlets to Go 300 comes in handy. It has three built-in outlets and two rapid-charging USB ports to charge your small devices. Its sleek rectangular design and compact size make it travel-friendly, and its retractable plug makes it easy to stow this device in your bag.
This gadget also eliminates the hassle of carrying messy cords because it plugs directly into the wall. It’s compatible with 220 volts, which is the standard used by many countries around the globe.
Storage Expansion Card
Ask any Macbook user what their go-to device for added storage is, and they’ll all probably answer the TarDisk. This small solid state device provides permanent onboard storage for MacBook Air/Pro through an SDXC port. It’s a mini device that fits in your SD drive and expands the storage of your MacBook in an instant.
Storage-wise, the Tardisk is available in either 128GB and 256GB, both of which you can use for the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. You may also chance upon older 64GB TarDisk models still being sold by a few retailers. There are six designs available that vary in length and width, so to find the one that’s most compatible with your Macbook model, use the selector software available in the brand’s official site.
Best of all, the TarDisk is temperature proof (-13°F to 185°F), waterproof, shockproof (500Gs), and magnet proof (3000 Gauss), making it a durable and reliable travel companion. You won’t have to worry about your data being compromised during airport security checks because it’s also X-ray proof.
So whether you use your laptop to post-process your photos on the go or just as an extra storage device to free up space in your camera, this small storage expansion card will be a big help.
Digital Luggage Scale
Although it may seem not to have anything directly to do with photography, a digital luggage scale is useful before you embark on your trip. It’s convenient to have your own scale and know the weight of your check-in luggage prior to the trip, so you won’t have to risk getting charged overweight baggage fees or not being allowed overhead.
The Lewis N. Clark Balanzza is a digital luggage scale that’s ideal for travelers. Weighing only 3 oz., it’s easy to carry and hold. Made of durable ABS plastic, this ergonomic device has rounded edges to make it easy to hold as you pick your luggage off the ground to weigh it.
Ease of use is another remarkable feature of the Balanzza. Just loop the strap around your luggage, pass the scale through the loop, press the power button, and pull the strap to secure your luggage in place. Then pick up your luggage with the loop, wait until you hear a beep, and read the numbers shown on the screen.
This device comes with a large backlit digital display, so you can easily read the numbers on the screen no matter what position you’re in.
Another nifty feature of this digital scale is its data lock function that affords you enough time to read the weight calculated by the device. The Ballanza is also energy saving, as it automatically turns off after 2 minutes of inactivity.
Travel photography doesn’t just show the beautiful sights around the world and tell interesting stories of people and cultures. It also teaches the photographer to see the world in a different way and translate his perception of the world into pictures. This learning process becomes more achievable when you have the right tools and gadgets to make your journey smoother, more convenient, and less stressful.