Sometimes, we just don’t want to head out on the streets of a new place with everything in our camera bag. It isn’t because carrying all that kit with us results in a heavier, oft cumbersome load; it’s just because sometimes we want to wander new streets or dusty roads with a different mentality and without two SLRs slung upon our shoulders.
However, this doesn’t mean that we won’t end up taking photos. With our increasing use of Instagram Stories in ‘real time’ on our travels, and our inability to not take a photo of a pretty vista or street, we’ve started to depend on our smartphones. So, whether you’re looking for an alternative to your giant camera, or rely on your phone to capture all your travel shots, here are our top tips for taking better photos with your mobile phone on your travels.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR CAMERA’S CAPABILITIES
You wouldn’t buy a ridiculously fancy sports car and only drive around the block, so why would you invest in an expensive camera phone and not learn what it can do. Play with the settings and learn what each one does and how it will affect your photos. Some cameras even give you the option to shoot in ‘manual’ as opposed to auto mode – these are the capabilities that will turn your images from grainy, to great!
However, it has to be said that not all smartphones are created equal when it comes to photography capabilities and specs. In the last 12 months, there has been a rapid, competitive development in the quality of in-built lenses which makes a significant difference in the final output. Although we aren’t shooting with the latest or most expensive phones on the market, the increased use of our phone for social media photography whilst on the road did make us upgrade to a model with much better specs.
TRY TO SHOOT IN NATURAL LIGHT
Whilst the quality of some images coming out of mobiles can be incredibly good, one area where almost all struggle to compare with real cameras is low-light conditions. Unfortunately, most phones simply don’t have the technology to counteract a dark environment without drastically reducing the quality of the image. If you absolutely must take a photo at night, try and have some artificial light in the shot (ideally aimed at your subject, and not behind them).
USE THE ‘OTHER BUTTON’ WHEN TAKING A SELFIE!
We’ve all been there. Arm out, pout on, about to take the most insta-worthy selfie of your life – and then you realize that to press the shutter button you either need to use your nose, or risk dropping the phone. There is, however, a simple alternative; use the volume button instead! This also allows you take the photo with significantly less wobble, making for a much crisper image later.
Also, bear in mind that most phones (apart from the latest models) have traditionally had a much poorer quality front lens – so don’t be surprised if those selfies aren’t as good quality as the shots you take out of the back lens.
USE TOP-NOTCH ACCESSORIES
For those looking to take their camera phones to the next level, or increase their functionality without buying an expensive new phone, there are all sorts of extra bits of kit that you can invest in – everything from tripods to flashes and clip-on lenses.
CONSIDER USING ‘BURST MODE’
This is a two-pronged suggestion.
Firstly, if you choose this option in your settings, it means that you will take multiple photos, very quickly; increasing the chances that at least one of your images is usable. Secondly, burst mode allows for a very fast shutter speed – this is essential if you’re planning to take photos of a quick moving subject.
Just don’t forget to delete the duplicates, otherwise you’ll very quickly run out of memory!
MAKE SURE YOU’VE GOT A CLEAN LENS
This is such an incredibly simple step – but one which can make a huge difference in the quality of captured images.
Think about it: your phone is handled constantly, shoved in back pockets and at the bottom of overfilled handbags – it’s of little surprise that the lens gets covered in all sorts of dirt, dust and grubby fingers. A quick clean with a lens cloth and you’ll prevent moments of when you look at your photos later and realize there’s a great smudge in the way!
LEARN SOME BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS
Of course, all of this is completely useless if you don’t really know how take a photo. To us, there is nothing more annoying, than when somebody is admiring one of our images, and the first words out of their mouth are ‘so, what camera do you use?’.
Sure, having a great camera increases the chances of a good picture, but it won’t make you a great photographer. For most people, learning how to capture what is in front of you involves a lot of practice but, importantly, it is something that can be learnt. Simple tricks like understanding the rule of thirds, foreground interest or the best time of day to take a photo can make all the difference to what you capture.
That said, now is not the time to go into too much detail about this – we can create several articles on the basics of photography alone but if you’re serious about taking the very best photo you can, it’s definitely worth studying up for a bit.
This Content has originally written by Andrew and published on September 23, 2021. No Copyright/IPR breach is intended.