Snap. Snap. Snap. If the sound of the shutter is a familiar sound to you when you’re on vacation, then you probably know (or are) a travel photographer. And let me tell you, travel photographers are the easiest group of people to buy a gift for. There are so many gear and accessories options for this hobby; it’ll make your head spin. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide of gifts for travel photographers.
NOTE: Travel is not recommended at this time. These posts are here to serve as inspiration when we can explore again. Hey there – this post likely contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them. This helps me earn a few dollars to run this website.
In the guide, you’ll find camera gear that is perfect for any travel photographer, photography accessories that will make you say “why didn’t I think of that?”, photography gear build for those that use smartphones, gear for any travel videographer enthusiast and novelty travel photography-related gifts.
Camera gear gifts for travel photographers
No guide of gifts for travel photographers would dare not to mention the newest camera gear. 2019 was a big year for cameras, so let’s dive in.
I was a bit skeptical about mirrorless cameras when they first came on the market. But this year, some mirrorless camera boasts better specs than my DSLR camera, which is mind-blowing. Currently, on my own wishlist is the Canon EOS RP. It’s a relatively affordable full-frame mirrorless camera. It’s lightweight, fast, and with a mount, you can use Canon EF mount lenses on the RF mount camera. For anyone looking to downsize your gear for travelling, the Canon EOS RP is the perfect option. For an even more affordable mirrorless option, the Fujifilm X-A5 packs a punch. However, you’ll have to get separate lenses than those already in your arsenal.
Brand new in the semi-pro DSLR tier is the Canon 90D. I currently own the 60D and love it. Still, I wish my camera had built-in Wi-Fi, 45 autofocus points, a new image processor, 4K video and 11 frames per second. Those specs are great for any Canon lover. Plus, the 90D is not too bulky, perfect for travelling.
Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6
I love this lens. Not only is the Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 is an affordable lens, it’s also excellent for getting incredible wide-angle shots. It’s super light, so great for travelling, and you can take some great photos in tight spaces.
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
While the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is the bulkiest for travel, it is the best lens for any photographer who wants to get closer to wildlife and still get that fantastic soft background.
Photography accessories for travellers
Camera and lenses are only part of the arsenal of equipment photo bug use on the regular. Here are ideas for gifts for travel photographers that would check off their wishlists.
Cute camera strap
I really hate my camera strap. It’s super uncomfortable, and the rubbery part always makes my neck sweaty. That’s why I can’t help but love these fun and cozy scarf camera straps. They’re perfect for light cameras, like small DSLRs or mirrorless cameras. Plus, they look super cute.
Functional Camera Strap
If cute doesn’t do it for you, then how about a cross-body camera strap? Elevate the pressure on the back of your neck and keep things secure!
Camera clip for backpack
Peak Design is a seriously rad company. They are always redesigning things in a way that makes them better than they were before. Take this camera clip, for example. It attached to your backpack strap, and your camera just sits on it. Meaning if you’re on a hike or going for a walk around a new city, you’ll always have your camera right there, and it won’t be bouncing around on your neck.
I have yet to find the perfect camera backpack. For me, I need quick access, a place to store other things like a wallet or phone, a tripod strap, a place to put your water bottle, and it has to look decent and not like those ugly camera bags. I’ve found three contenders.
The first and most expensive is Peak Design and their 20L Everday camera backpack. It has all the above, plus its insides are completely customizable.
Next up is the PacSafe CamSafe X17. It has all the above except for a place to put your tripod AND water bottle (there’s only room for one) but has the bonus addition of PacSafe’s well-known security.
Lastly, there’s a new kid on the block, the Brevite Jumper camera backpack. It’s a beautifully designed camera bag that doesn’t LOOK like a camera bag. Plus, it has everything on the backpack wishlist.
If a camera backpack isn’t for you, or you don’t have a lot of gear to travel with, then a camera bag is another option to consider. Camera bags that look nice, and not like a camera bag, and can hold your other travel things like a wallet and phone. I’m in love with the Lola Miel from GATTA. It’s got just enough space, but it’s also comfortable and stylish. For a bit more of a splurge, Lo & Sons’ Claremont is also a functional but elegant bag.
SD hard drive
I had a dilemma while travelling. I wanted to back up my SD cards, but I didn’t want to bring along my clunky laptop. I thought it was impossible, a dream, an invention that hadn’t been constructed yet. Lo and behold, I found this hard drive.
You can stick your card right into it and upload directly to the hard drive. Talk about a miracle. I bring it on every trip, then transfer all the photos to another hard drive when I get home. The hard drive is also Wi-Fi enabled, so you can back up your phone photos too!
Polarizers are one filter that I love to bring on my trips. They help by cutting reflections in water or glass, and they can also help to make the sky in your photo look as blue as what you can see with your eye. Most polarizing filters come in a way that lets you vary the intensity of the polarizer, so all you need to do is find the right size and voila! Instantly better images.
Varying ND filter
Neutral Density (ND) filters allow you to cut the amount of light that enters your lens. They allow you to shoot long exposures or with a wide-open aperture without overexposing of losing important details. I like this varying ND filter, it lets you bring just one filter that can stop down in varying numbers.
I travel without a tripod 80% of the time. If I have space, like on a road trip, I will consider it, but tripods can be bulky, heavy and just plain troublesome. Also, I hate being that person that takes up so much space with the tripod.
On the other hand, tripods offer a new way to take travel photography. You won’t be able to take beautiful photos of the northern lights without one. Even long exposure shots of waterfalls require some sort of stabilization.
If you travel solo, then a remote shutter is a must! Get a wireless one, like this one, and you can easily take some great shots of yourself while in fantastic locations!
Polar Pro Defender
How much to lens caps suck? I mean, they are barely protecting your lens from dirt, water or damage. Enter the Polar Pro Defender lens covers. It’s flexible, but durable and will protect your lens from dust and water. It’s a great addition to any adventurous travel photographer’s pack.
Smartphone photography gifts for travellers
Sometimes you want to go on an adventure without your bulky DSLR and accessories. Smartphone cameras these days pack a punch. I am seriously impressed with the quality of images that come from my Google Pixel 2. But some accessories make phone photography that much better and make perfect gifts for travel photographers.
Moment phone lenses
Hands down the best lenses for smartphones out there are Moment Lenses. They’re superior in every way and are the first lens I’ve seen that can help you take photos that rival DSLRs. The cheap lenses you can get in a bundle don’t even compare to the superior quality of Moment Lenses. You need a case to use the lenses, but they come in some stylish colours. The Wide 18mm Lens and the Tele 58mm Lens are the best gifts for travel photographers who want to make their phone work like a DSLR.
Underwater phone housing
Have you ever wanted to take your phone with you when you do snorkelling or diving?
Let me tell you, most underwater cases like the Aquatech AxisGo are made for iPhones. Which sucks if you have any other type of phone. However, I recently found the GDome Mobile, which fits any (yup ANY!) smartphone or action cam, and it’s got the dome shape, which will give you those beautiful over-under shots!
Staying connected while travelling is so important nowadays, but even more so for photographers. If you want to back up your photos or if you want to share your photos online, then a personal Wi-Fi hotspot is an excellent addition to a photographer’s arsenal. Skyroam is $120 CAD to buy the device and data ranges from $6 per month per GB to $9 per day for unlimited data. Tep Wireless costs $129 CAD to buy, plus $7.95 for 1GB per day. It’s much cheaper than most roaming data from (at least for us Canadians)
Bluetooth Remote Control shutter
A Bluetooth remote shutter is essential when you have a tripod! That way, you can take photos without being behind the camera. Plus they are so small, you could attach it to a key chain and take it with you always. This one by CamKix is great for any phone!
HP Sprocket printer
Sharing photos online is great, but it’s even better when you can display them in a photo album or in a wall gallery. The HP Sprocket makes doing that on the go, so much easier! It prints out 2.3 to 3.4-inch photos instantly through the HP app and Bluetooth.
Osmo Mobile 3
For the budding phone-videographers, stabilization is vital for creating cinematic footage. That’s where the Osmo Mobile 3 comes in. This foldable, packable gimbal gives you smooth video, fun time-lapses and incredible panoramics.
Gear for the travel videographer
Speaking about videography, people are more often sharing awesome videos of their adventures online. From the adventurous to the creative here are the perfect gifts for travel photographer that love to shoot video.
DJI Osmo Pocket
Ever since learning about this little guy, the DJI Osmo Pocket, I’ve added him to my wish list. It’s a 3-axis stabilized camera that weighs less than your phone and fits perfectly in your hand. Capture smooth cinematic video with features like Face Track, Active Track, panoramas, motion lapse and night shots. It shoots 4k up to 60frames per second. It seriously is one of the coolest pieces of tech I’ve seen for any budding videographer. There are also a ton of accessories you can grab too, like the waterproof case for diving up to 60m, an extension rod, a charging case and wireless module base.
GoPro Hero 8
GoPro is the brand name of adventure videography. This go-anywhere tiny videocamera is definitely top of the line when it comes to action cams. The GoPro Hero 8 has a giant back screen, built-in mounting, is 14% lighter, has a tonne of accessories that you can attach through a media mod case, internal image stabilization, incredible hyper-lapse, waterproof without a case, changing field of view cameras.
GoPro underwater dome
For any swimmer and snorkeller who wants to get those beautiful over/underwater shots knows that you can’t get them without a very particular accessory: a dome. That’s right. You need a wide dome lens to get those awesome photos, and Polar Pro makes one just for GoPros. It’s a must-have accessory for all you budding underwater videographers!
About the size of your thumb and light as a feather, the Insta360 GO is the perfect mini camera for travelling. It shoots in 15-60 second bursts (other than when it is taking hyper-lapse shots), you can mount it pretty much anywhere, and you can go hands-free. It’s built for the highlights. Plus, in the app you can edit together all your short clips, so you have a ready-to-share video in minutes. There’s not a whole lot of accessories for it yet, and it’s water-resistant, not waterproof. Still what a camera. There’s nothing on the market like it.
Movo timelapse head
If you’ve already got a smartphone or action cam, then why not add a Movo timelapse head to your arsenal. This fun accessory is the perfect solution to turn any camera into a timelapse camera. If you’re looking for one that also supports DSLRs, then Movo has you covered.
Novelty gifts for travel photographers
Now that we’ve got this big wish list out of the way let’s dive into some fun, novelty gifts for travel photographers. This could be great for stocking stuffers or an extra special gift for under the tree.
You might have seen this cool tool on Instagram. It’s literally a glass ball, but it’s pretty cool. A Lensball adds an extra layer of creativity to those awesome travel shots.
These cute camera-shaped earrings are the perfect little novelty gift for any photography-lover. I mean, how adorable are they?!
Any good outfit can have a little extra personality in it by adding a camera-print scarf. Stay warm, protect your neck and look fabulous.
Really spell out your passions by flaunting it on your shirt. These soft cotton shirts are a great gift (or gag-gift depending on what it says on the shirt) for any photographer.
100 Photographs: The Most Influential Images of All Time
A photograph really is worth a thousand words. This collection by TIME Magazine showcases the 100 photographs throughout history that changed the world. This is a must-read for any photographer, no matter if you are into wildlife, landscapes, portraits, or travel.
Read this if you want to take great photographs
Probably one of the best books on photography out there. It’s an essential read for photographers of all skills. Built to inspire you, Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs covers five parts of great photos, composition, exposure, light, lenses and the art of seeing. Follow up by reading Read This If you Want to Take Great Photographs of Places, a jargon-free how-to books for photographing landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, and interiors.
Camera tote bag
We photographers have a tonne of gear, like lenses, books and all the accessories. So why not carry them around in this cute tote bag that has a print of a camera on it?
When it’s time to edit all those beautiful photos, you want to be as comfortable as possible. Grab a couple of these camera pillow cushions for that comfort and to decorate your home!
To recap: Here are the best gifts for travel photographers
- Mirrorless camera
- DSLR camera
- Canon 10-18mm
- Tamron 70-200mm
- Camera Strap
- Cross-body camera strap
- Camera clip
- Camera backpack
- Camera bag
- SD cards
- SD hard drive
- Varying ND Filter
- Remote Shutter
- Polar Pro Defender
- Moment phone lenses
- Underwater phone housing
- Personal Wi-Fi
- HP Sprocket
- Osmo Mobile 3
- DJI Osmo Pocket
- GoPro Hero 3
- GoPro underwater dome
- Insta360 GO
- Movo timelapse head
- lens ball
- camera earrings
- camera scarf
- photography shirt
- 100 photographs that changed the world
- Read this if you want to take great photos
- camera tote bag
- camera pillow
There you have it, over 35 ideas of gifts for travel photographers. Now let’s go shopping!