Carry what you need in your camera bag

As a travel blogger with passion for photography, I like my photos to capture the essence of my travels. Surprisingly, the question I am most often asked is ‘what is in your camera bag’?

I travel light.  Carrying around an extra 10 kilos of equipment in a backpack or camera bag is not my idea of a great day out.

The trick is to plan ahead.  Decide in advance which lens will be best suited for the shoot, take spare batteries and data cards and trust me, that’s all you will need.  There’s rarely an opportunity to re-shoot if the photos aren’t perfect, so plan well ahead.

Are you travelling?  Perhaps you’re heading on a long overseas trip, or taking a short hike in the mountains or you’re heading into the city to do shoot cityscapes.  Think carefully about the photos you want to capture and plan take the camera gear you will need.

A great tip for the light traveller is to put together some equipment basics which will cover most situations.  If you are planning a specialist shoot, change it up and swap in the gear you will need for the shoot.

Tip:  Consider creating a list of the shots you want to capture to have a clear idea of the photos you want. This will provide a clear guide to what camera gear will you need to take with you. 

Here is what is in my camera bag

Camera

Choose your camera to suit your purpose.  You don’t necessarily need the latest bells and whistles camera to take good photos.

If you simply want to share photos on Instagram or Facebook, your mobile phone will do nicely.  However, if you want to have a little more control over your camera and take family snapshots, pictures of the sunrises or sunsets, its a good idea to invest in a mirrorless or DSLR camera which will give you options.

When researching for the right camera to suit my style of photography, I considered both the mirrorless and DSLR cameras.  I needed a camera that was not too heavy, could handle processing quickly and of course, the photo quality was paramount.

The Sony A6000 ticked all those boxes.  Sony has taken mirrorless technology to those who want an uncomplicated camera which produces exceptional photographs.

With a 24-megapixel sensor, super-fast autofocus, great image and video quality, clearly the Sony A6000 has become one of the most popular mirrorless cameras on the market.  The colour is true, as is clarity and definition.  The Sony A6000 has the versatility to handle action photography, scenery, wildlife and portraits.   The majority of the photos on this website are shot with my Sony A6000.

The Sony A6000 isn’t going to cost you a fortune either.  At less than $500 AU its excellent value for money.  Check out the price of the Sony A6000 on Amazon

Read next:  Let me show you how to use your Sony A6000.

Interchangeable Lenses

Choosing a lens was equally important.  The right lens can offer depth to your photography.  I prefer to buy genuine Sony lenses and these are my current favourites.

Caving - low light photographyI prefer to buy genuine Sony lenses and these are my current favourites.

The standard Sony kit lens 3.5-5.6/16-50 as part of the Sony A6000 kit is great for capturing all types of travel scenes, cityscapes and street photography.

I particularly like it’s capacity for low light photography and love its capacity to handle sunrise, sunset and silhouettes.  Its also a great lens for indoors, poorly lit caves and forest areas which are often dark.

My other favourite lens is the Sony Zoom lens F4 18 – 105.  With far greater flexibility and range, and I’m able to capture birds and wildlife without disturbing them.  I tend to use this lens most of all because of its adaptability.  I can take a closeup shot of a bumble-bee on a beautiful flower and then pan to the distance to take a landscape shot.

Sacred Monkey Forest

I’m doing more close-up photography now so my next investment will be in a macro lens soon to complete my lens kit.

Tripods, MonoPods & Selfie Sticks

A Tripod can be useful to include yourself in the foreground or hold your camera steady for long exposures or low light photography.

Have you considered a Monopod?  They’re great for action shots as they are lightweight and have a smaller footprint.

Buy a good quality Tripod or Monopod that is lightweight (consider carbon fibre or aluminium) and easy to carry in your backpack.

Choose wisely.  It needs to be robust and sturdy.

Purchasing a selfie-stick is a great option for taking photos if you’re a solo traveler or couple and wish to include a human element. Opt for a Bluetooth release to automate your smart phone.

Camera Bag

Finding the right camera bag has been been a challenge for me.  I like to travel light so searched long and hard to find a backpack that wasn’t too bulky and sat comfortably on my back.

My current choice is a small backpack that is able to fit my camera and lens and a few other essentials without being too heavy.  The beauty of a backpack is that it frees up both hands so I can walk with my camera ready to shoot.

Filters

All of my lenses are fitted with a Hoya Pro 1 Digital UV filter. This helps protect the lens glass, especially in very harsh conditions such as the desert.

If you are taking a lot of water shots, a polarising filter is also a useful addition to your kit.

Wrist Strap

Peak Design is a brand with a number of products worth considering.  Check out their range of camera bags, straps and other accessories.

I wasn’t comfortable with the shoulder strap that came with my Sony A6000 so looked for an alternative and found this Peak Design wrist strap.  I love it.  It’s comfortable and best of all, doesn’t get in the way when shooting.

I can safely carry my camera safely attached to my wrist , ever-ready for that unexpected shot that I might need to take, quickly.

Extra Memory Cards

Make sure you carry sufficient memory cards ensuring you have adequate disk space for your photography needs.  Cards either run out of space or fail.  Be prepared for either!

It’s worth carrying a few extra cards in you camera bag for peace-of-mind.  My preference is to use 64 gb cards however there are options – 32, 64 or 128 gb cards available at very reasonable dollars.

Be sure to back-up your photos

There’s not much that would ruin a trip faster than losing all your photos.

I take enough memory cards with me so that I can cover each day I’m away on a separate card. I also take a few additional cards in case I need more than one in a day. At the end of each day I back-up my card onto a portable hard dive.

Always be prepared. Backing up your photos while on your trip is the smartest way to ensure they stay safe.  Your memory card could corrupt, or your camera could be stolen.  Don’t risk losing everything.

There are a range of cloud storage options available, so research which option is best for you.  I use portable hard drives and then upload to Google Drive for safe keeping.  I love the flexibility it provides.

Spare Batteries

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s been caught out with my battery running out of charge.  I recommend you keep 2 spare batteries on hand, charged of course!

A certain peace-of-mind factor comes with knowing you have a spare battery on hand to wrap up the shoot of the day if your battery dies.  Invariably if you don’t carry an extra battery, you can bet your last dollar that you will miss the ‘photo of the day’!  It happens every time!

Lens Cleaner

Clean lenses are essential to good photography.  There are plenty of cleaning options available for cameras and lenses, I have found it useful to keep a selection of lens cleaning cloths on hand at all times.

Buy a high-quality lens cloths with non-chemical additives to keep your lens clean.  Invest in a good quality Lens Pen which is especially useful for removing dust and loose debris from lens.

Insure your equipment

Be prepared for the unexpected.  Insure your travels, make sure you have travel insurance so you’re covered in case your camera is damaged or stolen whilst you are away.

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Whats in my camera bag

Take your camera everywhere with you.  You never know when you will need it!

What camera gear do you travel with?  Let me know in the comments below and if you are looking to take your photography to the next level, subscribe here to keep up with our latest posts.