You’ve got your big family vacation planned. It could be somewhere close, maybe even a staycation, or it could be off in some foreign country. Your flights are booked, you’ve researched hotel rooms and booked them. For the next few months you are waiting until the moments you can check into your flight, start packing, and load up the car and go.
You’ve told yourself that this trip is going to be epic. You’ll try new foods and you’ll experience a place or a culture that you’ve never been able to experience before. You have told yourself that this is going to be something that you will want some incredible photos to remember. With everything that will be happening on this trip, you made the investment into new camera gear. While shooting pictures with your phone would do just fine, you wanted them to look as professional as possible.
Time For New Gear
You have gone out and purchased your new DSLR. For many, they will look at the kit lens that comes with the camera and think that it will do the job. But, one of the things that makes a DSLR or mirrorless camera the go-to camera for many travel photographers is that the lenses are interchangeable. That’s right, you can take the lens off and put a new lens on and in many cases be able to achieve a whole different image.
Maybe you already have the camera. You have been taking pictures of your kids posting on Instagram and sharing them with the world. You look at your current camera kit and think to yourself, that there is something missing. The pictures look good, but you are wanting to take them to the next level.
A Beginner Travel Photographer
You begin by asking Google what you can do to take better photographs with your DSLR or Mirrorless camera and stumble upon people talking in these strange terms. They are talking about aperture, millimeters, shutter speed and ISO. But there is a common theme among many of them that talk about: the lenses that you use to take photographs.
You start wondering, maybe that is what you need to take the pictures you want to take so that your family will remember our next vacation.
You look at your skill level and consider yourself a beginner travel photographer. Maybe you have no photography experience at all but have the camera so that you can save as many of your family memories as you possible can. Just because you consider yourself a beginner doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to take great pictures of your next family vacation.
Sometimes, it takes a new lens
If you are looking to take your travel photography to the next level, this list is for you. This list is rather subjective based on photography experience and your budget as a beginner travel photographer. Something to consider when you are looking for lenses is your comfort level with shooting with a prime lens vs zoom lens. It also depends on the camera that you are shooting on Canon, Nikon, So you, full-frame, APS-C, or 4/3 frame. If you are shooting on a full frame camera, then the 18-135mm lens will not work for you. So make sure you know what type
This is my go-to lens when it comes to general photography. It is one of the most versatile lens that Canon makes for those of us using an APS-C sensor. When it comes to traveling with our family, our kids will be moving quick through a theme park or down a mountain trail and sometimes the only way we can get the shot is by being able to zoom in. While the image will be compressed, the only way to stay close to your kids while letting them enjoy the moment is by standing back and using a slight zoom.
The Canon 18-135mm starts around $300. Nikon does make an equivalent 18-140mm lens that runs $253 and Sony also makes an 18-135mm lens that is roughly $498
This is a lens that doesn’t leave my backpack because it doesn’t take up much space and gives me a ton of versatility that my 18-135mm is unable to offer. Take for example if you are out walking a city at night, the 50mm lens is typically f/1.8 or faster. Which means that you are going to be able to allow more light into your camera while keeping your shutter speed fast so that you eliminate motion blur when taking your photographs. The other added benefit to having a fast lens is that you will be able to create some nice bokah (buttery smooth backgrounds that you see in many portraits) in your photographs.
These lenses are sometimes referred to as the nifty fifty and take a pancake form factor. Like mentioned above, these lenses don’t take up a lot of space in your bag and are easy on your budget. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 starts at $140 while the Nikon and Sony equivalent is roughly $100 more than that.
Something to think about as you are prepping for taking photographs on your vacation is if you are planning to take some portraits of your family while you are out in some very picturesque places. If you are shooting with a APS-C frame camera then the 35mm lens will give you a wider angle. When you want to be able to see everything that you saw in that awe-inspiring place, you’ll want to be able to capture it exactly as you see it. Many will say that the 35mm is as close to what the human eye sees as a camera lens can get.
Canon’s 35mm f/1.8 will run about $549 while Nikon’s will set you back $526 and Sony’s $398.
While the list of lenses go on and on, these are the three lenses that will help take you as a beginner travel photographer to the next level and create the images that you and your family will remember forever.