How To: Take Better Travel Snaps With your smart phone

Posted by Corinne Thomsett on

Top 10 Tips for Taking Better Travel Snaps With Your Smart Phone

Take Better Travel Snaps With your smart phone: Maurizio Pesce

Did you know that more than 70% of people in the UK now own a smartphone? That’s why Instagram is full of dodgy selfies & photos of people’s dinner… But you can use the camera on your phone for SO much more. And really, when you want to travel light, why would you use up valuable packing space on a camera? Here are our Top 10 Tips for Taking Better Travel Snaps With Your Smart Phone


  1. First things first - CLEAN YOUR LENS!

    You will be amazed what a difference a clean lens will make to how blurry and out of focus your photos are.

  2. DON’T use the zoom function - Crop your photo instead.

    It’s tempting to zoom in on what you want to photograph, but when you’re using your phone’s camera, that means a digital zoom, which will mean you lose clarity and gain a lot of blur. Take your photo and then edit it, to see more of what you want.

  3. Forget Filters (even Instagram ones).

    They change the exposure and the light, and mean you can lose a lot of definition, and your photo won’t look half as good if you decide to print it. Take your snap then use an editing app to add quirky or cool filters afterwards. Have you tried Prisma yet? Now that is a cool app - you can make your photos look like paintings, and you can get it for iOS or Android.

  4. FLASH! Na-ah - it’ll overexpose us! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.)

    The flashes on phones are usually right next to the lens, and whilst they’re kinda useful sometimes, you’d be much better off using natural light or another light external light source. It should be behind the camera, or to the side of your subject, not directly behind the thing/person you’re trying to take a picture of - unless you’re going for a cool silhouette shot or something.

  5. The Rule of Thirds - this one is the techie one, but it’ll make a WORLD of difference.

    According to the theory: You split your photos into 9 equal parts (3 across and 3 down). If you place objects of interest (People, buildings, a pretty shell) on the points where those lines cross, or along the lines, your snap will be more balanced & level, generally making it a lot more pleasing to the eye. Happily, you can turn gridlines on in the camera settings of your phone, which will make that task a LOT more simple. Go on, experiment.

  6. Tripods.

    Really flipping useful. Get a more steady and therefore sharper photograph. I have very shaky hands, especially if I am trying to hold something still, so I find tripods - little ones that fit in a pocket, like the gorillapod - are brilliant for helping me take photos with less wobble. They’re also really good for taking shots I want to be in - I am not a huge fan of the selfie & everyone knows the camera on the back is better than the one on the screen.

  7. Perspective - look at things from another angle.

    Want a more interesting shot? Look at it from another angle. Get down low to the ground, try shooting from the hip (toddler eye view) or maybe aim straight up. Play with angles, get creative.

  8. Use Reflections.

    We’re drawn to the beauty of reflections, use them wherever you find them. Lakes, puddles, windows - even a pair of mirrored sunglasses (don’t forget your suncream!) offer wonderful reflective surfaces. Add a touch of creativity and photograph the reflection of your subject, rather than the subject itself.

  9. Use a frame.

    No, not a picture frame, though you could I suppose. Look around for things that you can take a picture through - doorways, windows, arches, holes… having an object in the foreground to frame your subject really highlights the important part of the image.

  10. Get arty - have a go at colour blocking

    Make your photo black and white, then select an area of the subject and add the colour back Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. Try Color Effects for iOS or Splash Colour Effects for android.

We’d love to see your smartphone shots from your travels. Get in touch with us & we’ll share the best ones!


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