There’s an old saying in photography, “The best camera is the one you have with you” and this can’t be more true while you are on vacation.
We’ve all been on vacation and see people using their expensive cameras & lenses and automatically think they must be getting the most amazing pictures.
Not everyone can afford a full arsenal of camera gear and really, that’s not how photography works. You’ll be surprised that with a little bit of effort and learning these tips, the mobile phone you are already carrying with you can take amazing vacation photos as well.
The following tips are specific to mobile phone photography only. If you would like more general travel photography tips check out my post – How to Take Better Travel Photos.
Set the focus
When you open the camera app on your mobile phone try using the “Focus Set” feature. When you hold the camera up decide what you want to focus on and then tap on that point on the screen. A small circle or square will appear for second to confirm the focus area. Then simply take the picture!
Clean the Camera Lens
A regular camera comes with a lens cap to protect your lens from getting smudged and dirty. Your mobile phone however doesn’t have anything protecting the lens on the back of your phone and since you are touching your phone all the time and taking it in and out of your pocket the lens does get dirty.
Before taking a photo give the lens a quick wipe. You don’t need an expensive lens cloth for your mobile phone. Even a T-shirt works good for this!
Sometimes when you are trying to photograph something it’s just a bit far away to see properly. You might be tempted to use the mobile phone cameras zoom function. DON’T – The zoom feature on mobile phones is what’s called a digital zoom and the quality is terrible. If you use the digital zoom your pictures will look all blurry and pixelated when you look at them after.
A better solution is to GET CLOSER to your subject. Don’t be afraid to walk up close to your subject! Filling your frame with an interesting subject is a great way to make your photos stand out.
Take Lots of Pictures
You can never take too many pictures! When you’re traveling there is probably a good chance you might never get to go back to where you are visiting. When you get back home you’ll look back and always wish you had taken more photos. Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos and you can delete the ones you don’t want or didn’t turn out when you get home.
Turn on Grid Lines
Check your mobile phone camera to see if there is an option to turn on “Grid Lines” in the settings. Turning this feature “on” will put a “grid” outline on your cameras viewfinder which will help with composing your images to follow the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing a photograph. Basically, what you want to do is photograph your subject off-center. The best way to visualize this is to divide your framing into 3 sections (left, center & right), and put the main subject of your photo in either the left or right section.
Keep your Phone Steady
Mobile phones don’t have the same image stabilization built in like full size cameras do. To avoid blurry photos hold your phone with both hands when taking pictures.
This is especially important when taking pictures in low light inside or at night. When it’s darker the cameras shutter needs to stay open longer to let more light in so you’ll need to stay as steady as possible. You can also get a mobile tripod or rest your phone on a solid surface when taking pictures to help keep it steady.
Edit Your Photos
Use a photo editing app to help make your vacation photos pop! My personal favorite is Adobe Lightroom but you can use the editing software of your choice. Just be sure to not over-do it with filters.
You don’t need to wait to edit your photos back home on your computer. There are some great mobile photo editing apps which let you edit right on your mobile phone.
Check out these Top 4 Smartphone Photography Apps which will allow you to edit your vacation photos on your mobile phone while you are away.
There you have it! My top tips on how to take better mobile phone travel photos. Don’t forget to read my post – How to Take Better Travel Photos and if you have any mobile phone photo tips to share I’d love to hear in the comments.
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