Taking pictures while you travel is the best way to make sure that those amazing memories are captured forever. But how many times have you pulled up a photo to show somebody, only to realize that it’s blurry or somebody was in the way of the amazing scene that you were trying to shoot?
It’s easier than it used to be to get good photos because you can check them right away and take another if it’s not good, but you may still want to improve your photography skills if you travel a lot.
Smartphone cameras are so advanced these days so, if you know what you are doing, it is possible to take professional quality photos on your trips. These are some of the best ways to improve your smartphone travel photography.
Get To Grips With The Settings On Your Phone
Before you start taking snaps, you need to get to grips with the settings on your phone camera. The first thing you should check is the file type that you are using. Some modern phones allow you to change your settings so you can store photos as a RAW file. These files are much larger than a standard image file, so you do need to be careful with space.
However, the extra data means that the quality of the image is much better and can even match the quality of a photo taken with an expensive DSLR camera. Most Android phones released after 2016 have this capability and you will be able to switch it on in the settings. iPhones are a bit trickier and there is no native setting for shooting RAW photos, but you can download apps that will allow you to do it.
You also need to look into HDR settings, especially if you are shooting on an iPhone. A HDR iphone photo will be much better quality than a standard one because it uses multiple photos to create the image.
HDR stands for high dynamic range, and the dynamic range is the difference between the lightest and darkest areas of the photo. On a standard image, if the dynamic range is exceeded, the photo will look washed out and dull. But when you use the HDR feature, multiple photos are stitched together to increase the dynamic range and give you a more vibrant photo.
It’s also worth looking at some of the settings that are designed to improve your photos. Autofocus and auto-brightness, for example, are great for taking quick snaps. However, as you become more confident with taking photos, you may find that you want more control over those settings. If you switch them off and play around with the manual settings, you will be able to take better travel photos.
Buy Some Lenses
If you want to turn your smartphone camera into a professional one, you should buy some lenses. You can get some great lenses that fix to the back of the phone and allow you to zoom further and improve the quality of your photos.
You’ll be surprised just how much difference it makes when you add some lenses and if you go for a more expensive set, the difference between your phone and a professional DSLR camera is minimal. They’re easy to clip on and off, so you can easily carry them in your bag and attach them when needed.
Get A Waterproof Case
If you want to take your travel snaps to the next level, you should get a waterproof case for your phone. Getting into the water is one of the big events that make memories while you travel and you will want to capture that moment. If you have a waterproof case, you can take some amazing underwater shots. The quality of the images will be just as good as they would if you were above water, and being able to take underwater photos allows you to experiment a lot more with your smartphone travel pictures.
Understand The Rule Of Thirds
The rule of thirds is one of the most basic concepts in photography, and understanding how to use it will instantly improve your photos. Poor framing is the thing that sets amateur photos apart from professional ones, and the rule of thirds aims to fix that. Imagine that your photo is split into thirds both vertically and horizontally, giving you a grid with six squares. You want the objects of interest in your photo to sit on the intersections between these six squares, and your photo composition will instantly be much better.
People often think that the most natural thing to do is to put the focal point right in the center of the photo, but that doesn’t look great. Most phones have a grid on them that you can use, but you might need to go into the settings to turn it on.
The rule of thirds is a simple way to make your photos look more professional, but it’s important to remember that you can break that rule sometimes. If you want to take a symmetrical photo or experiment with empty space in the photo, for example, you can ignore the rule.
Take Photos During The Golden Hour
Light is an important part of photography and you need to use as much natural light as possible to make your photos look better. The hour after sunrise and the hour after sunset are known as the golden hour. This is when the light is best suited to taking photos, so if there is something that you are desperate to capture, take your photos during this period. It’s also important that you consider the source of the light and avoid taking photos from a position where you are aimed directly at the sun.
These tips and tricks will help you to improve your smartphone travel photos in a big way, but remember that photography is all about experimentation. Don’t be afraid to break outside of the rules from time to time and try new things because that’s the best way to take truly stunning photographs.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.