Whether you’re a newbie content creator looking to dip your toes into the world of travel photography, or you’re a seasoned traveller looking to up their photography game on your next staycation or trip abroad, it’s always good to get word-of-mouth recommendations on camera gear that won’t break the bank!
So here’s my Top 5 list of tried-and-true budget photography accessories that I personally love and use all the time, for my mirrorless camera (Sony A7iii), GoPro Hero 8 and smartphone (iPhone 14 Pro). Let’s jump in!
When you’re travelling, you need to make sure that any photography or videography gear you bring will actually be useful because we’re often restricted by weight limits on flights or by how much luggage we can carry. Less is more, so the equipment you bring along needs to help you produce better content than you could without it — otherwise it’s a waste of space!
Travel Photography Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank.
Things tend to happen on the road or whilst travelling, which means our equipment isn’t always 100% secure. Things can get lost in transit, stolen, or damaged, especially if you’re doing adventure sports or hardcore exploring! I’ve smashed a GoPro on sharp rocks before, and once accidentally dropped an SD card into a puddle of water. All sorts can happen!
That’s why it’s important to find cost-effective and affordable photography solutions when you’re on the road, striking that sweet spot between budget-friendly and fit for purpose. So without further ado, here are my top recommended travel photography accessories for creators on a budget — I’ve used all of them for years, and I can vouch for their quality and usefulness.
My Top 5 Travel Photography Essentials Under £75
1. K&F Variable ND Lens Filter – £35.00-£60.00
If you’re shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, then a Variable ND filter is the FIRST thing you need to invest in! This will elevate your photography or videography game so much. VND and circular polarizing filters are essentially like sunglasses for your camera lens, and they help reduce glare, reduce light, and prevent overexposure or underexposure.
There is nothing worse than getting back home, uploading your photos and realising half your content is blown out – either too light or white, or too dark and shadowy – to actually recover or edit. ND filters help prevent that and take your content to the next level. Variable ND filters, however, are a gamechanger, as rather than offering just one fixed stop or tint, it lets you adjust how much light you want to let in on a sliding scale. This gives you much more flexibility.
I love this model from K&F which is affordable in comparison to other more expensive filters on the market, plus it doesn’t create any shadows or vignetting and feels like a premium, excellent quality product. It comes with its own lens case which is perfect for slipping into a backpack or sling case and it threads easily onto other lenses with the same thread size (for example, I use mine screwed onto my 24-70mm lens, and sometimes I’ll add a Tiffen ProMist filter over it to give that blurry, dreamy feel when shooting oceanscapes).
2. GoPro Underwater Dome Port – £49.99
If there’s ONE piece of equipment that’s going to elevate your underwater photos like crazy, it’s this beautiful thing: an underwater dome. Ever since I discovered this, my underwater content game has gone from average to awesome. If you’ve wondered how travel creators get those sick half/half split level shots, this is it.
Look at the difference this dome makes — check out the below GoPro photo snapped in Milos, Greece. Absolute gamechanger! Make sure you choose a model compatible with your GoPro model.
I love using a GoPro dome because it’s so much cheaper and less pressure than investing in expensive underwater housing for my mirrorless or DSLR camera. It also comes with a helpful reference line that you can line up with the water surface for dope 50/50 wide shots every time.
Be aware that the dome is incredibly easy to get scratched up. I recommend keeping yours safe in a cloth bag and packing it safely wrapped up in some clothes if you’re not going to hand carry it.
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3. Neewer 176 LED Dimmable Video Light – £64.99
This is kind of like a ring light, but so much more powerful and portable. You can control brightness, colour warmth, and this particular LED video light is unbelievably efficient. It also comes with an orange filter and a transparent filter for helping reduce harsh brightness and creating a softer, more diffused look.
This LED video light comes with an external battery which lasts for ages once you’ve charged it up plus a tripod mount that can screw right onto your camera cage, tripod or anything else with a thread. I’ve used this little dude to blast light abroad and even when shooting in my home studio.
I really love the Neewer brand for budget lighting and photography equipment, because it’s just as good as the pro stuff, but at half the cost. As an aside, if you have a YouTube channel or you regularly need to light an area for filming or shoots when you’re at home, I can also vouch for the Neewer Studio Lighting Kit, which comes in a handy case that is very travel-friendly).
4. Mobile Stabiliser & Tripod with Remote Shutter (£39.99)
I’ve brought this smartphone gimbal and tripod on countless trips and it has been a lifesaver. Whether I’m shooting a quick selfie, showcasing a hotel room on Instagram Stories, or doing a panorama video at sunrise, this mobile gimbal is probably the most helpful tool I use for smooth run-and-gun content. It’s lightweight, folds up small and comes with a bluetooth remote shutter, which means you can step away from your smartphone, click the button on the control, and start shooting photos or videos from wherever you’re standing (I definitely recommend this for solo travellers, if you’ve not got anyone to shoot photos of you!)
Using a mobile gimbal like this is going to give you SO much more control and smoothness in your shots – and having the option to turn it into a tripod gives you even more flexibility to capture awesome footage. Fancier and more expensive gimbals such as the DJI OM will make your videos look like butter, but the same effect is achievable just with some extra attention to detail using a budget mobile gimbal like this one.
5. Smartphone SD Card Reader (£8.99)
I absolutely love this invention. For the past five years, I’ve used an iPhone SD card reader to upload my RAW photos directly from my Sony A7 camera and import them straight into Lightroom Mobile, so I can edit on the go.
The official card reader models from Apple can be expensive, costing around £30, but I use this budget version at a third of the price that works just as well! It’s got a reliable transfer connection plus you can insert Micro SD cards as well as SD cards.
The more robust smartphones get with editing apps, the easier it is to ditch your laptop or computer and crack on with producing amazing content from your mobile phone. If I’m travelling without my laptop, then this is the #1 thing I make sure I keep with me at all times, so I can edit on the move.
Want to learn how to edit AMAZING photos on the FREE Lightroom Mobile app? Take my Skillshare course that shares fundamental editing tools, tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years and join 500+ students who have transformed their travel photos from average to ace (plus you get 1 month free for using this link)!
So those are my recommended top 5 camera accessories for travel photography on a budget! Find out more about creating and editing amazing travel content, you can join me over on Skillshare.
Do you have any questions about camera gear or equipment? Drop a comment!
If you fancy seeing what else is in my camera bag, then head here.