After snapping and posting many of the 40,000 photos I took abroad, people have started to ask about the camera gear that I use. So, here it is in one informative post!
I started taking photos and learning how to edit them in the Spring of 2016. I had never touched a DSLR camera before that and knew nothing about shooting in RAW instead of JPEG. A year of trial, error, YouTube videos, and a few chats with a New York Times photographer helped me learn a lot. While my kit is the same as when I started, there are a few modifications I would make, which are also noted below.
Before we get into the gear, I want to encourage anyone out there who is interested in photography to pick up a camera and start experimenting! It is a unique way to express yourself and share a story. You may even start selling your photography in time, like me!
Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera
The Nikon D3200 is a great camera for my needs. The base is compact, making it perfect for travel. Every professional photographer I have spoken to says to spend money on lenses and not the base, which will be my long-term strategy with this camera.
I bought the Two Lens VR Kit option at the link above, which included the following lenses:
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens
- AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II lens
Halfway through my trip abroad, I sent my second lens home because I needed to downsize my pack. I definitely regretted this at times, but my main lens provided almost everything I needed.
A few of my travel blogger friends have switched to Sony’s mirrorless cameras and love them. It will be a few years before I look into that option, but they are something you should consider. In the meantime, I am extremely happy with my Nikon.
Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II
Although I only use this camera for vlogging and not for photography, I wanted to mention it because it is how I create YouTube videos.
It may be a bit redundant to have two cameras, but I wanted to have a backup in case part of my gear was stolen. I learned from Hey Nadine on YouTube to always pack cameras separately and only go out with one at a time in case you are pickpocketed.
This Canon camera has been hailed as the best vlogging camera for YouTubers, so I splurged when I purchased my gear. I love the flip-top screen that allows for easy selfie-style videos.
Pro-tip: Glue down the screws on the back attaching the screen to the camera or they will fall out and replacing them will be nearly impossible. #LessonsLearnedinIsrael
32GB Ultra UHS-I SDHC Memory Cards (Class 10)
I carry two 32GB SanDisk Ultra UHS-I SDHC cards; one in each camera.
As long as I back up my cards each day – which I highly recommend after hearing horror stories of stolen gear and lost photos – I do not need to have many SD cards.
When picking out memory cards, look at how fast they read and write. I chose to go with Class 10 over lower classes.
GorillaPod SLR-Zoom Grey + Ballhead
This GorillaPod is my small tripod that works well for travel. The legs can be bent around almost anything and it is short enough that I can carry it in my day bag easily. The ballhead helps me get the right angle no matter how the legs are set up.
Even though this tripod is small, it is mighty! Specifically designed for DSLR cameras, I have always felt that the 12.52” height and the thick joints are sturdy enough to support my Nikon.
Sirui T-025X Carbon Fiber Tripod with C-10S Ball Head
Admittedly, I sent this tripod home halfway through my travels, but I still love it. Sirui used carbon fiber in the design, making the tripod light enough to sling over my shoulder and forget about it in its helpful nylon carrying case.
The quality of this product is superior to many others that I have experienced and the height extends up to 54.5” and folds up to 13.2”. Highly recommend if you are in need of a tripod!
Seagate Backup Plus Portable Drives for Mac
Real talk: I have two behemoth 4TB backup drives that no one ever thought I would fill. However, they are each over halfway full after my year of travel. These are one of the most essential parts of my gear and I would not be able to do anything without them.
When I bought my MacBook Pro, I did not buy the maximum amount of storage and my computer fills up every month or so. By using the Seagate hard drives, I am forced to keep all of my information organized. Each drive contains the same information and is a mirror of the other. This gives me immense peace of mind to know that I have a backup in case one has a malfunction. While many people back up files in the Cloud, that can be nearly impossible while traveling because internet connectivity is always hit or miss.
However, a top travel blogger friend of mine recently had a drive (I do not think it was Seagate) destroyed on his last trip. He is switching to a Solid State Drive (SSD) system that you may want to look into if you are always on the go.
Please note that there are different portable drives for Mac. The link above will take you to all of the drives Seagate offers.
Porteen Gear Custom Camera Bag
My beautiful gear has been housed in a variety of ways over the past year. The best solution is always the custom Porteen Gear bag that Robyn Porteen invited me to her studio to create in return for an honest review. (Click on the above video to see just how much gear I can fit in my bag!)
Halfway through the trip, I sent my Porteen Gear bag home because I needed to cut as much weight as possible to hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago that I braved in July. I never stopped missing my fern-embossed, versatile bag. I was constantly worried my gear was going to break in transit.
Now that I am home, we have been reunited and it is sitting next to me with all of my gear neatly stowed inside and ready to use.
Team Porteen created the entire bag in front of me by hand, just as they do all of their bags. Seeing them stitch every stitch and listening to Robyn incorporate her photographer’s wisdom in the design of the bags will have me raving about them for years to come. There are even movable dividers inside that I can stow away depending on the gear I carry each day.
There is a bag builder on their website so you can create a custom bag just like I did! (And I expect to see photos of your design!)
Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan
Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Plan comes with Lightroom and Photoshop to edit photos. I absolutely live for this software! At $9.99/month, it is an affordable plan that is worth its weight in gold. Cameras are amazing, but they do not capture everything that the human eye can see. By making little tweaks, photos come to life and creativity knows no bounds.
The best part of the Adobe programs is that they are easy to use and have even more features that I can use as I become more advanced. YouTube has tutorials to walk you through anything you could ever need with Lightroom and Photoshop.
There you have it! Welcome to my photography world. I am currently selling photos on iStock and to people who ask for prints from my site or social media accounts.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments or send me a message and I will do my best to answer them!