Traveling Photographer Equipment


UPDATED ON:  April 2 , 2024

Bruce, The Portrait PhotographerBruce
The Traveling Photographer

What's the best equipment for a Traveling Photographer? You can imagine my own list of travel camera gear is long.  Fortunately, the list of what you really will need is quite short.

The only two pieces of equipment you really need for travel photography are a quality compact camera, capable of high image quality,  and a wide angle to telephoto zooming lens. If you are traveling for an extended time, you may also need a spare battery and a 2nd memory card for your camera.

My clients often inquire about the camera equipment I use. My answer is different for shooting local portraits compared to the gear I take for photography when I travel. This post will help you figure out what to consider for your own travel photography

My list of past and present camera bodies, and lenses, and accessories is long. Cameras in particular become "outdated" so fast. I reluctantly force myself into buying new camera equipment all the time. ...NOT!

I have more camera gear than I need but I enjoy experimenting with photography gadgets, even when I am not shooting professionally.

Traveling Photographer Equipment History

The four cameras shown below were all my firsts in my photographic life. There were several other film cameras I used too, but I got the most use out of these 4 cameras, early on. This is long before digital cameras were even an idea in the mind of a scientist. Only the two SLRs pictured in the middle would be acceptable as travel cameras.

Nowadays, you have  far superior technology available in a large variety of sizes to quench your thirst for the type of camera you want to get.

First CameraKodak Hawkeye
First Camera

Beseler Topcon Auto 100-My First SLRBeseler Topcon
First SLR

Minolta XD-11 - My First New SLRMinolta XD-11
First New SLR

Traveling Photographer Wedding CameraMamiya 645
First Pro Camera

Most of the cameras I used listed below would not be considered as travel cameras, but remember the best camera you can take with you as you travel is the one you have with you.

Film Cameras

  • Kodak Hawkeye Folding Cartridge
  • Kodak Brownie
  • Beseler Topcon
  • Polaroid
  • Minolta 102
  • Minolta-16 Subminiature Spy Camara
  • Minolta XD 11
  • Mamiya 645

Digital Cameras

  • Olympus E10
  • Canon a620
  • Canon 10D
  • Canon 20D
  • Canon 5D
  • Canon G1X Mark II
  • Canon 70D
  • Canon 5D Mark III
  • Canon 90D
  • Canon EOS R7
  • Canon EOS R
  • Canon EOS 6 Mark II

I think just about everybody remembers their first car and their first kiss. Photographers always remember their first camera. I can still hear as a kid the kerplunk sound of the mechanical shutter on my 35mm Topcon and I can still smell the odor of the chemicals in my basement darkroom.

My Four Most Often Used Cameras

  1. I still use a Canon 5D Mark III for almost all of my location portrait sessions. I know it like the back of my hand and, despite its age, still gives my the image quality I need.  
  2. I use my Canon 90D when I want to go a little smaller and lighter,  as a back-up for paid portrait jobs. I may be selling it soon, now that I've adapted to using Canon mirrorless cameras.
  3. My G1X Mark II, is great for travel and personal social events. It fits in a pocket  or in a small waist-level camera bag and has a big 1 inch sensor
  4. The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is the 3rd mirrorless camera I've used and by far, the best. Amazing technology!

Lately I've been shooting a lot with MILCs. That's Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras, like the Canon EOS R and R7.

Now I own a lot of Canon DSLR Accessories. I've got 8 bags and cases,  7 leaping lenses, 6 fantastic filters, 5 terrific tripods (, 4 flash guns, 3 DSLRs, 2 perfect powerpacks, and one Traveling Photographer minivan. 

My Newest Lens Purchases

Unlikely that I'd use it very often for portraits, I had purchased a 150-600mm zoom lens from Tamron. Reluctantly, I sold my Canon 400mm f/5.6 prime lens for the 4x zoom versatility of the Tamron.

I wasn't thrilled with its sharpness and I sold it and purchase a Canon EF 100-400mm II and it's great for bird , wildlife, and sports photography.

There might be a few instances where I'll only be able to shoot a portrait from a great distance, but for now it's most likely going to be used for wildlife and bird photography.

I've also added 3 RF lenses: an RF 100mm f/2.8 macro, an RF-S 18-150mm, and an RF 24-104mm f/4-7.1 kit lens.

Traveling Photographer MinivanTraveling Photographer Equipment Hauler

Recommended Equipment For Travel Photography

Canon R6 M2
Full Frame Smaller than "Pro" camera bodies, but same image quality and advanced technology
Canon R100
APS-C Crop Even smaller than mirrorless digital camera bodies and a solid choice for those on a budget
Canon 24-105mm
Full Frame A solid all-purpose lens, covering wide angle and medium telephoto, and good for travel photography. For full-frame sensor digital SLR cameras
Canon RF-S 18-150mm
APS-C Crop A solid all-purpose lens, covering wide angle and medium telephoto, and great for travel photography. For crop sensor digital mirrorless cameras

How I Choose My Travel Photography Gear

I have a confession. I sometimes suffer from a relatively common disease that infects many pro photographers like me. It's  known as Gear Acquisition Syndrome, or humorously referred to as G.A.S.

Sometimes it's spurred on by the frequent release of updated versions of cameras, lenses, and other newly marketed gizmos, thingamajigs, and related accessories to use in pursuit of creating breathtaking photographs and having tons of fun doing it. 

It's the buying of more camera equipment than I can possibly use at once. Technically speaking G.A.S. is impulsive purchases. My version of G.A.S. is less spontaneous, but rather more heavily researched and analyzed. 

Bruce Lovelace portrait

Bruce Lovelace is the publisher of Bruce shot portraits full time for over 35 years. Now he shoots more travel photography.  Read more about him on the About Page. He also publishes how to articles and camera gear reviews at the  Photography Tips and Canon Geek websites.

The Traveling Photographer Location on Google My Business

You might like these Posts:

Travel Photography LocationsThe right gear makes travel photography easy