Travel Photography Tips: Using Your Smartphone to Take Better Photos

27 May 2021

Digital photography has come a long way, from clunky bodies and insufficient storage to the tiny but powerful smartphone cameras we know today. This innovation changed how we take photos, especially when documenting our travels. Before the phone camera, travel photography was reserved for professionals with DSLRs, but all this changed as wanderlust, Instagram travel photos, and travel influencers grew in popularity. Taking better travel photos became important, and when the technology in smartphones caught up, it was finally possible to do so.

Today, the Pew Research Center reports that 85% of Americans own a smartphone and have access to the ever-improving mobile cameras that come with each new version. There are many ways to produce post-worthy travel photos with just a phone, whether it’s through editing apps, filters, or other means. Achieving stunning travel photographs takes just a few extra steps, and with these travel photography smartphone tips, you’re sure to capture some jaw-dropping photographs on your next trip!

Research Locations

Choosing a picturesque destination is the first step for good travel photography, so do your research beforehand on the best locations to photograph. Instagram is a good place to start when researching your ideal location, and it can also give you some inspiration for framing your shots. You can also use an app like Really Good Photo Spots or Photomapper: Best Photo Spots to find good places to take photos and help decrease your search time. Lastly, be sure to read reputable tourist blogs or watch videos to prepare for your trip and photo-taking plans.

Use Your Phone Camera’s Gridlines

Your phone camera’s gridlines are there for a reason! These are simple guides that can vastly improve your photographs’ composition with minimal effort. This principle is called the Rule of Thirds, which divides an image into nine equal parts and places the most important compositional elements on the intersections. It’s more pleasing to the eye to go off-center and place your subject on these gridlines. For instance, you can align a setting sun with the bottom third of the frame to add more dimension to the image. By following this rule, you can instantly give your photos a more professional feel. Make sure the gridlines are switched on before you start snapping to ensure you don’t miss anything.

Use a Tripod

There’s nothing more frustrating than taking photos that are blurred, off-center, or out of frame, especially if you’re in them. You’ll want something to keep your phone steady and level for the most important photos during your trip. The selection of mobile photography gear on Adorama highlights the different tripods available, which can help you capture crystal-clear stills and panoramas. Tripods are versatile and allow you to take self-portraits, photos in low-light settings, and time lapses, too. You can try something like the simple, affordable, and portable Pictar Mini Aluminum Tripod that is sold for just $20. There are also smart mounts that connect to your phone and have features that ensure your pictures are level and framed correctly from every angle – these are a bit pricier, with most sold for $100-$200.

Invest in Smartphone Lenses

In the same way that professional photographers use different lenses to achieve different focal lengths for each shot, you can use smartphone lenses to give your images an entirely different perspective. Try Pixter’s universal clip-on lenses, which are a decent choice in the mid-range category and offer starter packs and travel packs. You can also opt for lenses with more specific functions, like wide-angle lenses for landscape photography, and macro lenses for portrait or food photography.

Travel photography is truly for everyone, whether you have a Canon DSLR or an Apple iPhone. Take your photos carefully, and you’ll have a rich story to tell using candid and awe-inspiring images from an unforgettable experience.