Travelling for many is a grace period, where you can enjoy and place yourself in an unknown land full of wonder and excitement. The culture, events and stories we experience are undeniably special moments which should be shared with many. In a time of technology, our smartphones are becoming more useful, portable and ready for amazing photos by the press of a button. Point and shoot cameras are known for their ease of use and carry, however our smartphones now have the technology to take incredible high quality images. For most, it is a simple task to take out our smartphone, point, and snap a photograph – smartphone photography. We either share these pictures on social media platforms or show them to someone in person. Most people accept their photography skills and believe their photo is ‘spectacular’, however there are simple tips that allow you to take your skills further to become the ultimate travel ninja.
- Know How to Take the Better Photo
For the most part, travelers taking photos will usually point the smartphone at the subject and snap the photo. After a while viewers start to know the boring and casual view you are taking (sometimes even yourself). The typical traveler will place the subject in the one position every time, never changing the focus, background or lighting. The best techniques are: shoot from different angles (low, eye-level, high), keep the image simple, include various aspects (emotions, creatures, symbols, etc.), and lastly try to show depth in your photos. Taking great photos will fundamentally rely on these aspects. If you want to find out more about this, National Geographic have an awesome segment on taking iPhone photography which can be found at the National Geographic Website
Adding different angles to your photos give the image a purpose. You are usually used to seeing an image (particularly on a smartphone) at an eye-level or chest-level angle. By taking a photo from a higher angle, it gives the viewer a new and more unique way of picturing the world.
The ones who try to overcomplicate images by placing too many features are the ones who are failing at capturing a fascinating photo. These features usually distract the viewer from what the picture really is. Adding empty space (negative space) it allows the subject to stand out greater. In many cases this is the answer to an outstanding photo.
Including features in your photos display the significance of the photographer’s message. Sometimes the photographer will want to include these aspects to amaze and attract the viewer. This technique is commonly used in landmark and urban photography because it allows the user to place features in different grounds (background, middle ground, foreground).
Depth is one of the most important methods here especially when travelling. The viewer will automatically be drawn further into the photo, engaging in all its beauty. This technique is extremely important when shooting landscape photos of landmarks, nature and scenery.
- Take Advantage of Your Phone’s Capabilities
Again, the normal traveler will take a photo not knowing the full potential of the image that will become as a result of smartphone photography. The major problem seen in these situations is photos becoming blurry, out of focus and in the wrong shooting mode. Most smartphones in the market today have certain settings that maximize your image taking abilities. Modes such as panoramic views, square and original photo taking are just a few settings on your smartphone. Within the settings on your smartphone you can access editing, resolution changing, brightness/contrast sliders and more. On the iPhone for example you can even add a grid which improves spacing when snapping photos.
One of the most important aspects on smartphones is the capability to manually select your focus position. Simply by tapping on the screen, the phone will automatically focus and adjust its concentration on the desired subject. This mode is appropriate when wanting to shoot one subject say a portrait of someone, a flower, or even animals. It essentially highlights the subject and blurs the space around it creating another form of negative space. All these modes are becoming easier to use on smartphones and with updates coming out regularly, the camera on your phone will only advance in its capabilities.
- You Can Put a Lens on a Smartphone Now?
Yes, that’s right. For those of you who are still keeping up with today’s technology, companies are now creating certain lenses for your smartphone for different uses. Even Apple sells them in store now that suit the latest iPhones. E-commerce sites such as eBay and Amazon sell them for cheaper prices but expect cheaper quality. The quality is not a massive issue for such a small thing but you can definitely purchase better ones with a better picture. They are usually sold as 3 in 1 type deal. These include: macro, wide, and fish eye. A great website that explains awesome ways to apply Macro lenses can be found at Gadget Hacks
Have you ever wanted to take a picture of a beautiful small flower but can’t get your smartphone to focus correctly? Well, not a problem with this guy. The macro lens is usually attached to the wide angle lens for when using the wide angle. This macro lens is used for identifying small objects in great quality. The outcomes are simply magical.
Never worry again about capturing the big picture. The wide lens has a huge display and is perfect when shooting landscapes and scenic images. The lens provides a much wider resolution than the regular smartphone mode.
Although the fish eye isn’t attached to the wide and macro lens, it still provides huge outcomes. The fish eye lens is most popular in urban sites. It adds a groove to you images and puts a unique spin on them.
- Use Apps Built for this Stuff!
Not sure if you’ve heard of the term third-party apps, however this term is massive in the smartphone camera industry. Most photos these days are edited to look the best than they are usually at a RAW mode. RAW means straight out of the camera, no editing at all. But the amount of apps available is extraordinary. Professional photography lies at your fingertips and is far, far better that your normal camera app on your smartphone. Some of the best apps include: Camera +, Pro HDR, Pixlr and many more. All these apps have sophisticated but simple uses which make that photo of the Eiffel Tower that much better. Don’t settle for the mediocre camera app, look further and capture better to allow yourself to capture the best smartphone photography.
Taking the best smartphone photography isn’t a process learnt overnight, many photographers will strive for years to improve their techniques and the quality of their images. However, through the use of this initial guide, you can elevate your images to that next step to take stunning and beautiful smartphone photography.
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