How to be snap-happy with your smartphone!

Phillippines_ Sanchez

A beautiful photo submitted in one of our past travel photography competitions. 

Smart-phones have transformed the art of taking great photos on holiday, dispensing with the need for an expensive camera with multiple lenses and adjustable gubbins, and giving you the freedom to capture great images on the go.

Pretty much everyone has a smart-phone these days, and a camera is often one of it’s most accessible and well-used tools. Apart from being very portable, a smart-phone also allows you to use an ever-increasing number of apps to enhance and improve your shots, as well as instantly share your photos by text, email or on social media such as Facebook or Instagram.

However, we all have those disappointing photos (darkened silhouettes, blurred images, summit-less mountains!), where the simple act of pointing and pressing just didn’t result in the picture you were hoping for, often due to the technical limitations of either the phone – or, us! Smart-phones are indeed very smart in many ways, but they can’t perform miracles, so use them to their advantage to bag holiday photos to really do your memories justice. Here are some top tips! 

 

  1. Lose the selfie-stick.Not only does it often become a focal-point in your photos, it can lead to lots of very similar shots taken from the same angle. Much better to go old-school and set the phone on a stand at the height required, set the countdown timer and join the group-portrait yourself.
  2. Go horizontal. Hold the phone with both hands in a horizontal orientation to take videos (so you can easily play them back on the phone, a computer or on the TV) and also when you’re taking group photos or scenic shots of the landscape. Not only does this allow you to squeeze more into the shot, but also stops your hands shaking as you take the shot.
  3. Move in closer.( If possible, and safe to do so!) The zoom function on smart-phones is generally best avoided, as it often results in blurring and pixelation, so move forward yourself if you can. That said, don’t move in too close for portraits, as the wide-angle phone lense can distort faces.
  4. Light it up. Smart-phone light sensors are relatively small, and they tend not to perform well in low-light. They do often have a flash, but this can sometimes “wash out” the picture, and lose a lot of detail in the shot. If you can relocate outside, then this is often preferable. If this isn’t an option, turn on the light sources that you have and reposition the subject to best advantage.
  5. Get creative. Look out for humorous or surprising photo opportunities – food or animals are  very popular subject matters.  Look at at things from a different perspective – get down to a child’s level or focus in on one section of a large display. Try looking downwards on a spiral staircase for example, look through a hollow tree-trunk, or look upwards at a particularly ornate ceiling, for a fresh take on the world.

Be prepared! Have your smart-phone to hand as much as possible, make sure that it’s fully-charged, and that you’ve dustbinned the photos that you don’t want to keep – to make room for the new ones!

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