You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment to capture beautiful images. While professional cameras are often associated with high-quality travel photography, in this article we’ll show you how to take better travel photos simply by following some photography principles on your smartphone. Our travel photography hacks, tips and tricks will have you capturing stunning images like a pro!
Get to know your phone’s camera features
The first of all photograph tips for beginners is to know your equipment. So before setting out make sure you check out all the features on your smartphone camera. Different modes such as portrait, HDR, or panorama can enhance different scenarios and make a huge difference to the story your photos tell. Let’s take a closer look at some of the settings that will give you professional control over composition, light and focus in your images.
Balance and compose your image
Composition is a key to visually appealing photographs. One of the best smartphone or iPhone photography tips is to open settings, go to camera and toggle the ‘grid’ option on – this gives you a grid of nine squares that will help you find a dynamic composition by placing the main subject of your photo either along the lines or where they intersect.
This technique uses the fundamental ‘rule of thirds’ photography principle to create dynamic images. Remember that placing a subject in the centre of the image can result in flat composition – by using the rule of thirds to position the subject along the grid lines, you’re framing an off-centre subject that adds a sense of dynamism and balance to your image.
Capture that ‘golden hour’ light
Light has the power to transform an ordinary scene into a captivating and mesmerizing image. That magical period shortly after sunrise or before sunset can intensify colour and mood. When the sun sits low on the horizon, the diffused light brings a sense of either serenity or drama to your images. This enhances the storytelling aspect of your images, making them more engaging and memorable.
Most phone users will be familiar with their camera’s filters and exposure settings. But by capturing a great natural light these can be used settings to further achieve a desired aesthetic. Be careful not to overuse filters, as they can sometimes result in an artificial look and feel – remember that subtle adjustments tend to yield more visually appealing and professional results.
Experiment on focal lengths
Many smartphones, including recent iPhone models, come equipped with multiple lenses, including wide-angle, telephoto, and ultra-wide lenses. Clever use of these can elevate your images to a professional standard. Start by experimenting with different focal lengths to play with a variety of perspectives. Wide-angle lenses are excellent for capturing expansive landscapes, while the depth of focus can create intimate shots of a subject, highlighting details and giving a high-quality depth-of-field perspective.
Do your research on photo-worthy locations
The best way to inspire is to be inspired. Luckily, there are plenty of photo-worthy locations to help with this! Take some time to research the location you’ll be visiting, and make a list of the landmarks, cultural highlights and local customs that will help gain a deeper understanding of the place. This knowledge will help you capture more meaningful, authentic and inspiring shots.
If you’re looking to get noticed, another way to get your professionally produced photos on the radar is by checking out what’s popular. Here’s a list of some of the most geotagged locations in Australia to get you thinking. For diverse and photogenic scenery that’s easy to cover in a single trip, New Zealand is home to some of the world’s most spectacular photographs – from the Hauraki Gulf to untouched glacial lakes.
A great way to test all of these travel photography tips is by capturing a star-studded night sky. Australia and New Zealand both offer some of the world’s most outstanding stargazing photography destinations. A stargazing photography getaway, from the Southern Cross to the glittering brilliance of the Milky Way, is an excursion that will deliver incredible photographic mementoes.
Where to stay
While this isn’t strictly one of our travel photography tips, finding somewhere to stay that is close to the action is essential – especially if you want to be out and about at sunrise! You’ll find plenty of great accommodation options here to suit every style and budget.