When we travel, we can’t help but take photos of our adventures and the places we’ve been. It’s in our nature. And with apps like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, it’s never been easier to share the best moments of our lives to our friends, family and the world at large.
Sean Scott is one of Australia’s leading landscape photographers and travels all over the country in order to capture its beauty and uniqueness. Being the highly experienced photographer that he is, he knows a lot about the gear you need to take photos, whether you're just starting out or wanting to go bigger and get better.
He has helped us understand what camera gear and equipment you need to suit both your experience and your budget.
1. The budget photographer
For the traveller that wants to instantly share their favourite snaps but still wants to take some decent photos.
You can’t beat an iPhone, and you’re only as good as the camera you have on you. Many will already have this, and since a camera body is one of the most expensive parts of your kit, you’re already halfway there.
Most phones these days have decent megapixels and with the many apps available, it's super easy to apply filters on your photos on the fly.
Smartphone camera lens
Camera lenses for your smartphone allow you to take your photos to the next level, and is a great way to test out your photography skills before you jump into a more professional setup. There’s quite a wide selection available on the market in various sizes.
We’d recommend at least a wide-angle lens, so you can take landscape shots and a macro-lens to get close-up shops (think fauna and flora). A decent kit will cost around $100.
You can consider taking things a little further with a drone. The DJI Spark is a great entry-level drone at around $859 and will help you capture some great aerial photography.
2. The Entry-level photographer
For the traveller that wants to dip their toe into the world of photography.
An entry grade DSLR will get the job done. Look for usability and features like how many frames it can take per second (fps) for sports or fast-moving action or an articulating screen, so you can get different angles on a photo.
The two most popular brands are Canon and Nikon (with Sony gaining ground) and there is always the battle on who is better, but it all comes down to personal preference.
An entry-level Canon DSLR, like the Canon 800D, is going to cost around $899 and the NikonD5600 is going to cost around $1,000.
The good thing is that these will come with a standard kit lens, so you don’t have to fork out on new lenses if you don’t want to. It will also allow you to get some practice in and learn how to use a camera with its standard lens.
There are two main types of tripods; pan and tilt. Tilt tripods are a lot better for landscape photos as they can be positioned in awkward spots, whereas pan tripods are good for video. A decent tripod, like Manfrotto, is going to cost around $240.
Whilst kit lenses are a good start they don’t always produce sharp images, which is why most entry-level photographers eventually upgrade to better quality lenses.
For landscape photography look for lenses that are 10 - 30mm and a medium Telephoto lens of 24-70mm. Both will cost you around $500 and $670 respectively.
For animal and wildlife shots, you normally want something with a good zoom range from 70mm to 300mm so you can get the animal to appear large in the image without having to get too close and scare the animal or put yourself in danger. This will cost from $350 upwards depending on quality, brand etc.
The DJI Mavic Air drone comes in at around $1,299, and coupled with the DSLR, lenses and tripod will make up a fantastic suite of camera gear that won’t break the bank and will allow you to take semi-professional photos in no time.
3. The ‘money-is-no-object’ photographer
For the traveller that wants to be like Sean Scott.
Next level DSLR camera
Canon 1DX Mark 2
This could be considered the crème de la crème of cameras (although Sony does a great one too) and will cost you a cool $8,499. But there is a good reason for this. Being a professional level camera, it boasts 14 frames per second burst which is great for capturing fast paced sports and nature. It can also record in 4K at 60 frames per second which is very high-quality video recording compared to a lot of other models that only record in FullHD. It also has dual memory card slots allowing for more storage or redundancy if one card fails.
5D Mark 4
The 5D4 is a great low light and all-round camera. It’s high in megapixels that allow Sean to print great images for the gallery.
It’s fast enough in burst as well to work with wildlife and sports photography. Sean says it’s his go to lens for all aerial images as he can shoot at higher ISO to give him faster shutter speeds for shooting out of planes. This camera costs around $4,550.
A Gitzo tripod is great and will set you back around $900.
With so many different landscapes and subjects on offer, finding the perfect lens to make the most of the moment can be difficult. Below we show some of the variations of shots you can take using differing lens types.
Wide angle lens for Everyday - Canon 11-24 L Series $3,999
TelePhoto lens for Wildlife - Canon 100-400mm L Series $12,999
Standard Zoom Lens for Everyday- Canon 24-70 L Series $2,499
DJI Phantom 4 Pro $2,399
Filters are a great way to even out the light in a landscape scene like a sunrise/sunset by making them have the same brightness or blurring motion or water and clouds to give the photo a soft and smooth looking (long exposures)
Decent filters, like Lee Filters, will cost anywhere from $157 and upwards depending on size etc.
If you’re going to be taking photos on the road fairly regularly, then investing in a Pure Sine Wave Inverter is essential for ensuring the camera and drone batteries stay fully charged.
Memory Cards and Batteries
As you start to get more familiar with the camera and take more photos, memory cards make up an important part of your kit, so that you don’t run out of room while shooting or have the card malfunction. It also gives you the ability to backup your images onto a hard drive.
In the same respect, having a few extra batteries as back-up means you can continue shooting away without fear of the dreaded red blinker going off.
Memory cards will cost approximately $50 for 64GB and genuine batteries around $70 each. Sean recommends purchasing around 4 backup batteries for your cameras and drone, which for a Phantom 4 Pro Drone battery sells at around $289 Each and your camera batteries around $249.
According to Sean, “This, in my opinion, is the best range of products a professional photographer will need. These are my go-to’s and you’ll find all of it in my camera bags. The backup batteries are great if you ever get caught out and I have the REDARC Inverter in my car to charge them while I’m on the road.”
The best advice is to not get sucked into the thought that you need to spend a lot of money to get good results, you just need to spend time taking photos and then as you get better experiment more with updating equipment or adding to your extras.
Keep up to date with Sean Scott's travel photography via his hugely popular Instagram page.