Your summer vacations can provide amazing opportunities for award-winning travel photos. And with powerful cameras placed in phones like iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Galaxy S22 Ultra, along with a host of amazing mirrorless cameras from like Canon, Sony and Fujifilm, getting great images doesn’t mean carrying a huge bag with a kit on your travels.

Here I will take you through the basic equipment that you must carry with you during your trip, whether you are flying to a tropical island, traveling in the snowy mountains or spending a long weekend away in the local countryside.

I will also recommend some extras to consider if you want to return home with creative artwork, not just ordinary holiday photos.

Read more: I have traveled the world for years. These 7 things are always on my packing list

Choose the right camera

Choosing the right camera is basically balancing between the overall image quality and the physical size of the camera. Your phone, for example, is small and fits right in your pocket, but although high-end phones have multiple lenses and can take amazing photos, enthusiasts among you will probably want to upgrade to a suitable camera system that allows lens replacement. If you decide to use only your phone, be sure to check Page 101 of CNET telephone photography for a wide variety of shooting tips.

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Traveling photographers have more choices than ever today, with mirrorless cameras offering much smaller body sizes than traditional DSLRs from previous years. Four-thirds micro cameras like the Fujifilm X-S10 are easy to wear around your neck and control quickly so you never miss a shot. I like shooting with full-frame cameras that have larger image sensors that offer better dynamic range – perfect for highlighting these sunset photos or raising the shadows of these night images looking down old Italian alleys. .

My favorite option is the Canon EOS RP, a full-frame camera with an incredibly compact body size, making it ideal for storing in your backpack. Combined with a 24-105mm f4 lens, it can take wide-angle shots of wide landscapes and also zoom in to focus on smaller details. Having a wide magnification lens means you can probably make your whole trip with just one lens and not feel overwhelmed by the extra kit.

If you want to travel extremely light, Canon’s recent 50mm f / 1.8 lens (often called the Nifty Fifty) is incredibly small and lightweight, and combined with the EOS RP provides superb street and travel tuning, with a fast aperture that delivers beautiful bokeh. If possible, look at the camera you’re considering at a camera store and see how it feels in your hand or when you hang around your neck. If you are going to do a lot of hiking or long walks around the city, then every weight matters.

Person holding a Canon EOS RP

Canon’s EOS RP offers full frame quality, but in a very compact size, especially when combined with the small 50 mm f / 1.8 lens.

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The best tripod for travel

The tripod is not essential for any travel photo, but when the light fades and you need to slow down the shutter speed to a few seconds to get good exposure, you will need one to secure your camera. You will definitely need a tripod if you want to take these night photos overlooking a gorgeous bay, capture the stars over these snowy mountains or make these artful long expositions of waterfalls.

Bridge over water with fluffy clouds in the blue sky in the background

Using a sturdy tripod, I was able to slow down the shutter speed to capture the movement of water and clouds over the Fort Bridge.

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Again, size matters, and you need to look for a compact travel tripod that can easily fit in your backpack – or attach to the outside of your backpack. Modern materials such as carbon fiber will retain their weight, but they are also more expensive, so you will need to decide how much you are willing to spend.

As its name suggests, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a great tripod for travel, thanks to its small size when folded and light weight. I did all day walks with the one tied to my back and I barely noticed his presence – something I can’t say about most tripods. Be sure to check out my full review of the best tripods you can buy in 2022. Or, if weight is really an issue, you can even try using your own Make your own tripod.

A man carrying a backpack-style photo bag

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Suitable backpack for adventures

A special photo bag should be at the top of your list – after all, you don’t want your luxury new equipment to be knocked out and broken, do you? A good bag will have compartments to keep your camera safe and secure, but it will also allow you quick access to it. It is also important to find one that also has enough space to store other items that you will need while you are out.

If you will be out with it all day, then I recommend a backpack with two straps, not a bag with one strap. This will distribute this weight on both your shoulders and provide you with comfort for longer. Look for things like zippers with side access so you can quickly pull out your camera when inspiration comes to you; plenty of extra pockets for batteries and snacks; weatherproof materials; and mounting points to help you carry the tripod.

I did a lot of hard work for you to round mine top backpacks for photography for 2022. There are options for all types of photography, from short city breaks to multi-day hikes with lots of equipment. Read on and make sure that what you are taking is appropriate for where you are going.

People walk to the forefront of a beautiful cityscape

Always keeping your camera close at hand means that you are always ready to shoot when you see a good opportunity.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

The important extras

The list above is really the main things you will need to take with you. How much more you bring will depend on how serious you are about your photography. Always consider having a few spare batteries and a charger, as even the best cameras will only provide you with one-day photos. There is nothing worse than reaching a beautiful afternoon destination, only to find that you have exhausted your strength in the morning. Keeping a spare part in your bag will allow you to exchange it and continue shooting until the evening.

If your goal is to capture stunning landscape views, filters called neutral density graduated filters are worth considering. They will obscure only the top half of the photo – to help you control too bright a sky – allowing you to capture an evenly exposed scene. Shop around for square filter kits that allow you to use adapter rings for different lens sizes.

Marking sign in water

Using a neutral density filter, I was able to blur the movement of the water until it became a smooth and silky surface.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

If you want to experiment with long exposures, then you will use solid filters with neutral density. They will dim the light throughout the scene, allowing you to use longer shutter speeds without resulting in a photo that is completely washed out. Big Filters by Lee Filters is a superb filter, so dark that it allows you to take pictures for seconds – or even longer – in broad daylight. Catching cloudy trails passing through the sky is worth checking out, although it’s not cheap.

Looking for more photography tips? See these five tricks with your phone’s camera that will add flair to your Instagram. Here is our review of the best action cameras of 2022plus the best free and paid photo editing apps for iPhone and Android.

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