Even if you don't want to bring your camera with you, you can still take great photos with your phone. Let me tell you how to get the best out of your phone and bring stunning images home. I will also share my own personal experience and mistakes that I wish I've considered before I went on a trip. Hopefully, we can all learn from my mistakes so that on the next holiday we will have even better travel photos. :)
Take photos of people
Spending a month in the States has been amazing but when my friends ask to share some photos from that trip there really isn’t too much I want to share. I took a lot of photos without putting much thought into it.
In the photos I took, you could see the yellow cars in New York (really terrible composition), photos from the Empire State Building (too many people photobombing the photo), some snaps from Chicago China Town or a cactus from Phoenix. That's all great but none of my friends care about that too much. Unless you are a landscape photographer, at the end of the day, you are impacted more by people's pictures. Busy and stylish new yorkers, people working out at the beach in LA. Or even a funny selfie of yourself. So keep this in mind that you need to focus on taking photos of yourself in those amazing places, not only the landscapes.
If I am traveling solo, I usually organize a photoshoot with the locals. Every single time I was very happy that I took that time from the trip. They would show me many hidden gems around the city.
Make sure you take the background scenery into consideration
Some of the portraits I took don't even look like they were taken in LA. That is another thing I didn't really think about. So make sure that at least some portion of your photos has a background scenery that is easy to indicate.
Also, I didn’t really take many photos of myself because I was too excited about the stunning views around me. However, now I wish I took more photos of myself, asked more strangers to take photos of me and also took more photos of locals.
Take care of yourself
You may be asking yourself: how is taking care of myself related to better travel photos? Let me tell you - more than you think.
Traveling is tiring business. Long flights, long layovers, weird sleep schedules and not the best food adds up. Another thing is that there isn't much time to get rested. However, you need to do at least one thing to help yourself. You can edit dark circles under your eyes. But you can't add some mood and excitement to your look. All of that has to come naturally.
All I'm saying is that it is okay to sleep in if you ventured out to see the nightlife or had a tiring flight.
Another thing that is currently a must-have for me is face masks. Just make sure that you are not allergic and test your eye patches, masks or any other beauty products a couple of weeks before the trip. Just do not do the beauty routines on the plane because apparently that is extremely bad for your skin. Also, you will basically have to force yourself to take those photos and thank yourself later. If you are traveling solo, don’t be afraid to politely ask people to take pictures of you. I personally prefer using a tripod and taking my own photos. I have also written a full article that explains how to take your own photos or so-called advanced selfies.
Plan your trip
Also, the more cities you visit, the more tired you look. I don’t know how but I always forget that until I go to the next trip. Basically, my main advice for you is to plan your trip in a way that you would have more time in one city. Trust me, you will enjoy it more when you do not have to rush and just take it slow.
What is the best time to take photos?
Here are my two personal favorites: sunset and sunrise. The weather will play a big part in it because if it is cloudy then it doesn't really matter. However, a beautiful sunset photo is worth all the struggles. Especially if you are around the beach, you will want to see all of those beautiful colors show up. As for the sunrise, I like it mostly because very early in the morning most tourist groups are still sleeping. This allows me to get the place all for myself. And I think we can all agree that a photo crowded with tourists simply doesn't look right.
How to make your photos look more interesting?
One of the most interesting ways to frame your photos is to shoot through different objects. For example, just put a flower in front of your lens and focus on yourself. Another quick tip is to shoot photos in a frame. A nice frame around your photo makes it look better. In other words, think about your surroundings as well. Being in the center of the frame is one of the safest ways to take a great photo.
I personally love this photo because of how it is framed. The main focal point is the woman in the center. You can probably tell that the photo has been taken in Greece because of the white buildings. Also, the pink flowers contrast beautifully with the aqua blue sky. By the way, the aqua blue sky has been achieved with mobile Santorini presets.
Upload photos on your social media while you are still traveling
I always thought it is better to upload my photos after my trips. However, to be completely honest with you, it is a lot better to start editing and uploading your travel photos immediately. First, it boosts your motivation to take even more great photos. Second, your friends and family will love seeing what you are up to. Also, those captions you write during the trip are priceless because they are fresh memories that you can share with everyone.
Use your phone camera shortcut
This will sound pretty silly but I had to check it with my dear friend Google where my android’s quick camera shortcut is. Do not worry, I will save you time with that.
Most Android phones camera shortcut:
1. Double click the power button to launch your camera app. 2. Click the volume button to take the actual photo.
Most iPhones camera shortcut:
1. Press the home button to launch the iPhone’s screen. 2. You should see a camera icon on your slider. Slide your finger upward from the camera icon in the bottom right. 3. Click the volume button to take a photo. No more awkward and obvious photo taking. This way you will be able to quickly capture your favorite trip moments.