Photography and Travel Gear I Use

Let’s start with a confession. I am a gear head, in all things. I fucking love KIT! I live for “whats in the bag posts” where people lay out the contents of their bags and photograph it (much like the the one above). I want to know what everything does and why they chose the things they carry with them. Gizmos and gadgets satisfy my soul, if there is a widget that looks cool I will freaking try it and I am a better photographer for it, can you guess why? It’s the simple fact that we love to use our shiny new toys! I try lots of things and that gets me out shooting even more. One of the big questions often asked is what gear I use. I know a lot of other bloggers and creatives place a lot of stigma on you, the readers and audience, not to to get hung up on the gear. You will often read or be told “don’t focus on the gear just use what you have and get creating!” While there is some sound advice in that I also could not disagree more. So screw the neigh sayers if you want to try a new piece of kit I am right there with you!

I am not quite a hoarder because I do trade and sell a lot of gear to try other pieces but this is all built around a core set of equipment that I always have with me. This page is dedicated to that core kit of things that I have tested to death and would have no trouble recommending to you because I know they are quality pieces that have survived with me for at least 6 months. 

This list will be updated every Friday with a new piece of kit so be sure to check back often as I go over the pieces that I trust to have with me. 

Disclaimer: I get a small kick back if you buy anything from the links on this page and it will be used to continue growing the site! 

Camera

Sony A7R III

Sony A7RIII – $2499

Get yours HERE

Well this is a little hard for me to write as a life long Canon shooter but I have switched to Sony. The Sony platform is just so incredible that I could not resist the switch. The image quality and low light performance is truly mind blowing. After shooting hulking Canon SLR cameras for most of my career shifting to this tiny mirrorless platform was akin to culture shock. I will happily report though, that 6 months later I 100% made the right choice. Small confession, I added the battery grip onto it after 6 months to give it that beefy feeling in the hands that I was missing  however. This camera is a little pricey but is a rugged piece of hardware that will perform under harsh conditions and stand up to a ton of torture!  You can dig more into this camera in my review of it HERE. 

Storage

Sandisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD- $167

Get your’s HERE

Single case HERE

Double case HERE

This is an important one. You have to have reliable and fast storage in that order. I also want something that is sturdy and can stand up to the rigors or travel. My bag gets bounced around, jammed into overhead bins or trunks, dropped on the ground and one time rolled down a small cliff. This is why I use two of these incredibly portable 1TB SSD’s from Sandisk. They are rugged and tiny. These little power houses take up almost no space and weight in my bag. They utilize USB-C for blisteringly fast transfer speeds on both read and write. I use one to run my Lightroom catalog and the other as a backup. If you are into video these might be a little small for the file sizes that you are dealing with for lots of video but if your working on a project before moving it to deeper storage they are exceptional. I carry them in a padded case made specifically for them ($9) to satisfy my inner gear head, but they would be just as hardy in any pocket of your bag. 

Back Up Battery

Mophie AC Powerstation backup battery

Mophie AC Powerstation – $153

Get your’s HERE

Don’t you hate and I mean genuinely loathe that moment when you run out of battery on your phone, camera, etc. There is nothing quite as obnoxious as seeing that little warning pop up that says you have 5 mins to plug in. This is especially true when practicing travel photography. Plus you know that there is never an outlet when you need one. This is why I choose to carry a good backup battery. The Mophie AC Powerstation is a little heavy and a little pricey but with a 22,000 mAh capacity and an AC converter it can charge my laptop and almost anything else you would plug into a wall. Which is really a gift when you’re on the go and you do not want to stop somewhere or have to use a converter in another country to charge your devices. This battery supports rapid charging via USB-C as which is perfect when you want to top up your phone real quick while you’re stopped somewhere. this battery is pretty thin compared to several other AC capable batteries. It fits perfectly in the bottom or at the edges of your bag and does not take up much space at all for what it you get. I pair this with two 6 foot cables, one USB-C and a Micro USB. They are long enough to reach from my backpack to any pocket on my person so I can charge while I am walking. 

Super Sneaky Secondary Camera

gopro hero 7 on a peak design POV kit used for a secondary camera

Gopro Hero 7 on Peak Design POV kit. 

Get yours HERE

Peak Design POV kit HERE

So for me it is really important to have a second camera. Sometimes you want to do a self portrait holding your camera or get some action shots of your taking photos. One thing I really love about the Gopro is that it is really easy to conceal and can be a great for getting some decent quality photos where you might otherwise be asked to put your camera away. I where it on my backpack strap using the POV kit with the Capture V3 also from Peak Design and it usually gets ignored when I am asked to put the big camera away. This also serves a great purpose for those occasions when I want to shoot a timelapse or even video. It is so small light and portable that you can jam it just about anywhere to get the shot you need. I once used a piece of gum a hair tie and a stick with my Gopro to get a shot over a fence (the gum was really just to live my best McGeyver life). Pile all of that functionality onto the fact that its waterproof and fairly shock resistant this thing can get some really unique shots. If you ever need a camera that you can hide in your sleeve consider this option! 

Phone photography accessories

Moment phone case and lenses for my google pixel phone is the best combination I have found for phone photography.

Moment Phone Case, Fish eye lens and macro lens. 

Phone Case – Pixel HERE  I-Phone HERE

Fish eye lens – HERE

Macro lens – HERE

So everyone has a phone in their pockets and they are getting better and better at taking photos that don’t suck. Some of the things Apple is doing with lenses and Google is doing with processing are generating some really impressive results. While my Pixel 3 phone takes stunning photos taking that a step further and putting some real glass on your phone can really  change the game. Moment has been making the absolute best lenses you can put on your phone and they will give you some truly remarkable images. I love the Fisheye and the Macro lenses because I find they really fill in the margins where phones still struggle with the ultra wide and ultra close. The fisheye is so wide that I have to make sure my fingers holding the phone do not get in the image. The macro is a little more special case because it has such a close focusing distance but you can draw a face on a grain of rice and then do a portrait shoot of it. If you’re looking to step up your phone photo game I cannot recommend Moment enough (link to their site below).  I like to use my phone to scope out a scene before I break out the big camera and a tripod OR take photos in places where they discriminate against cameras. Its a form factor that allows me to scramble around and check angles or see if something is going photograph the way I think it will. Check out this kit and see if it is right for you!

Human Interface Device (mouse)

Logitech Pro Wireless gaming mouse is the perfect travel mouse when you need high quality and light weight.

Logitech G Pro Wireless Gaming Mouse – $150

Get yours HERE

So track pads are dumb. Yupp I said it. Mac had a few good ones but overall they are not super accurate and freak out when try to do something complicated like pinch to zoom or just scroll. Also when you’re trying to do really fine detail work in Photoshop or Lightroom it feels like your trying to finger paint a Rembrandt. Have you ever been trying to mask something and out of no where the cursor goes shooting off in some direction because the weight of your gaze or your wrist touched another part of the track pad? I hate it so rather than throwing my laptop through the nearest window I have to have a mouse with me. It is just one of those small quality of life improvements that I have not regretted. I want the highest accuracy and the lightest weight that I can possibly get while still being wireless. The only option for me was the Logitech G Pro Wireless. A gaming mouse gives you the accuracy you want when your doing fine detail work and it weighs 88grams or 0.1lbs. No joke this mouse weighs less a small bottle of vitamins (0.3 lbs I checked). You are sacrificing a little space to have a full size mouse but it’s tough and will handle being jammed in your bag and bounced around. The other KEY feature is battery life. I CANNOT stand a wireless mouse that needs disposable batteries or has an internal that lasts 15 mins. I have charged this mouse 3 times since August 2019 IT NEVER DIES. I could not even tell you where the special clippy micro usb charge cable is. I plug it into a normal cable for a couple hours ever other month or so. I even left this mouse on overnight and the rotating RGB LED scared the crap out of me in the middle of the night but that was 2 weeks ago and it hasn’t died yet. 

Emergency Stain Removal

This is a Tide pen, You can get them anywhere even at the gas station.

Tide To Go Pen

Get yours literally anywhere… they have them at the gas station for like $3. 

THIS IS THE MOST CRITICAL PIECE OF KIT ON THE WHOLE PAGE!!! This thing is a magic wand filled with a mysterious potion that will remove spots and stains as soon as they happen. Seriously though the ability to remove spots and stains from clothes or fabric products when your afield is literal freaking sorcery! You pop the top, give it a little shake and give it a few pumps on your stain. Rub it in and push the solution into the fabric with the pen tip working in small circles. Then BOOM stain is gone. I have had one of these in my bag since I was like 12. When you’re having coffee before a meeting and drip on that crisp white shirt, break out your tide pen. On a shoot and the model gets a little over zealous and splashes something on the clothes or product? Crack open your tide pen. When you are on a date and drool on yourself because they are so entrancing, excuse yourself to the restroom before they notice, whip out your tide pen and be a hero.