Perfect Vacation Photos in a Snap: the Best Summer Cameras + Gear

As a professional photographer, I've gotten to explore countless gadgets in the camera & tech world. While your iPhone will always come in handy, I've found that these 8 items really do the trick when you're looking for snapshots just a notch above. And the best news? You don’t need to be a pro photographer to take great photos while you are on vacation. Whether it's a beach weekend in Nantucket or a tropical zip-line through Costa Rica, here are the cameras and tech items that I Swear By for your travels this spring and summer ☀️

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 - Instant Film Camera

Best For: Channelling Your Inner Beach Babe in Nantucket

Follow in the footsteps of Taylor Swift (did you know she designed her own Instax?) and pick up a Fuji SQ-6 Instax camera. The SQ-6 has a sleek square design, is easy for packing, and comes in a variety of cute colors. Snap beach and magic hour sunset pics during your vacay without low light worry. Play with the fun colored filters, self timer for group shots, and built in selfie mirror. Easy enough for your kiddo to take photos — but don’t forget to bring a plastic baggie along to store your film in.

Lomo'Instant Camera and Lenses (Marrakesh Edition)

Best Use: To Snap Your Market Finds in Marrakesh

I love the creativity that Lomography has brought to the instant camera world. Each camera has a location theme with colors and patterns that match the place it’s named after. How fun are these Marrakesh colors? I can see myself shopping at Jardin Majorelle with this brightly colored gem. Make the ordinary feel extraordinary by trying out the 3 lens attachments that come with the camera. Snap some great close up, wide angle and fisheye shots of the items you come across during your travels. The camera also comes with fun color gels, the ability to play with double exposure images, and is perfect for shooting in the bright hot sun!

COOLPIX A1000 from Nikon

Best For: Touring Paris with Only a Tiny Purse The Nikon

Coolpix A1000 is the perfect travel camera – it packs a ton of technology into one tiny body (it weighs only 11.7 oz and fits in the palm of your hand!). Perusing Parisian streets? Pop this little guy into your purse and stroll without the burden of a large camera. It has a fantastic zoom lens to capture all the details, near and far. Why use this camera over your phone? It has excellent low light capability for when you watch the sunset on the Eiffel Tower. The 4K videos will make every moment captured extra special and you can send files to your phone or computer through Bluetooth for instant posting. The touchscreen is also amazing – use your finger to focus the camera without having to look through a viewfinder!

Leica C-Lux

Best For: Ziplining Through Costa Rica with this Golden Hued Compact Camera

Leica is basically the Porsche of cameras, so if you’d like to invest in a top of the line camera, this little C-Lux is where it’s at. It looks like a little golden nugget and would look chic on anyone’s wrist. It’s compact and fast (10 frames per second) and fancy AF. You won’t have to worry if your camera is fast enough to capture your babes split second perfect smile – something your iPhone usually can’t do. It has a huge sensor for a tiny camera, 20 mega pixels and 4K video. For those of you who know about DSLR’s: this camera has RAW file capability (aka huge ass files that you can print super large).

Canon U.S.A., Inc. | PowerShot SX70 HS

Ideal For: Zooming in on All The Jungle Animals on Your Next African Safari

Need a little more zoom than your cell phone affords you? Consider the Canon SX70HS. With a 65x zoom you can enjoy a safari ride and still get up close and personal shots of everything you see! With 20.3 megapixels the images will be super sharp even when using the zoom because of the stabilizer built into the camera to prevent blurriness. It also shoots 10 frames per second for lightning fast captures. You can also shoot macro (super close up on smaller objects, like flowers) for detail shots and video in 4K. Instantly send your files to your device or laptop using the internal WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities.

Lume Cube - LED Light

Best For: Exploring the Antelope Canyon Caves in Arizona with a Stellar Flashlight

Want to get creative with your photos? Pick up a tiny lume cube (1.5 inches) and bring it with you on your walk through the Antelope Canyon. Switch it on and create a whole new way of seeing and photographing the world around you. The tiny cube has a crazy powerful natural light balanced glow and is easy to charge and take with you on all of your travels. It’s also waterproof up to 100 ft! There are lots of fun accessories to take any ordinary vacation photos to the next level. Check out some inspo on Lume Cube’s Instagram page!

AxisGO Water Housing for iPhone XS MAX / XR - Moment Black | AquaTech

Where to Use: Snorkeling through the The Great Barrier Reef in Australia with Your Phone in Hand

The Axis GO case makes any phone a fully waterproof camera. Capture special moments from snorkeling through the Great Barrier Reef to your local pool. It’s also ALL weather proof so it can be used to protect your camera from snow come winter!

TOMY KiiPix Smartphone Photo Printer

Best Use: to Cure Your Post Vacation Blues with a Portable Printer to Re-Live All the Best Times

I’m a huge fan of portable printers and this pretty little printer is my new fav. At only $50 it’s the least expensive, best performing unit I’ve seen. It uses instax mini film (instax is the fujifilm instant film, not to be confused with Polaroid) and prints photos directly from your smartphone. The printer folds flat so it won’t take up much space if you choose to bring it with you on any of your wonderful adventures. The prints also make for great gifts!

Michelle is a women's magazine photo editor and photographer living in NYC