Quick Tips for Great Mobile Travel Photography

Hi all – today I’ve got a great guest post from Kavita Goyal, a blogger at Sense or Nosense. She’s got some great tips on mobile photography, which I know I myself need to improve and I’m sure you can use some advice too.

Travel has always been about soaking in the local sights, local food and experience the adventure in the variety. Within it, there are broadly three types of photographers – one that pose in front of monuments and show the world that they’ve been there, done that. The other kind capture a glimpse of local sights from a foreign perspective to give others a world view.  The third typically end up only clicking photos and forget to take a moment to live the place and enjoy.

While SLR cameras are a good bet for getting amazing photographs, mobiles are now the most widely used medium for photography around the world simply because of their ease of access and use. A very compelling fact that is driving mobile travel photography is that not only can the photos be more creative than heavily equipped camera shots but can very well give SLR a run for its money because of its ease of use.

If your mobile is your travel buddy, here are some tips to get you started

1. Know your device

While we are all game for mobile photography, everyone knows that some mobiles are better than others. If you are just sold on the 10 mega pixel line, it is best to take a re-look. Some of the most recent phones in the market boast of superfast camera speed, quick autofocus and high quality editing capabilities.

However, you are investing in a phone and not a camera for a reason – you want your phone to have other capabilities too. Some of the best phones can offer the perfect balance. Without even bringing up the iPhone topic, check out the Samsung Galaxy 6 series for some amazing camera abilities. So does the Google Nexus 6P.

The key here is to look for the right features that can help you capture good shots. Some phones like the Huawei P9 cleverly uses dual cameras to create a shallow depth effect. The LG G5 similarly has a viewpoint similar to GoPro which works great to capture action. Some offer a 60 frames per second capture, others offer a 4000 ultraHD quality.

Run some basic homework on what features can work well with most of your shots and choose accordingly.

2. Mobile thrives on close ups

Photojournalist Robert Capa once said that “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”. This seems to be an irony for travel photos. While you are capturing the beauty of vast expanses of landscapes, true beauty will lie in the detail you capture up close. Because most mobiles don’t have the best zoom features and you can’t use a scoping lens with them, the only way to capture details is to do high close up shots.

3. Spot your location before you travel

There are some who clearly advice you against looking at other traveler photos before you go. This is true to an extent when you look up professional shots from high end digital cameras because you’ll not be able to match it in terms of sheer quality. Instead, look up general travel photos that give you an idea on some of the best spots for a panoramic capture. Of course it’ll be different once you are there but since scores of travelers have already clicked photos, there are chances you’ll see something you’ll like and can emulate. Look for vantage points and add them to your Pinterest board. That way everything will be organized and just a click away.

4. Get better apps

Keeping your favorite photo apps updated and on your home screen will make it easy for quick access. Pick out a few each day and learn to work around to see which ones work well for the photos you take. Most people end up using the same 5-6 effects for all their photos. It makes sense to invest even in a paid application which can make your job easy. Here are out top 5 picks

Hipstamatic Classic for iPhone

Want to give your photos a perfect old world feel. This app is allegedly based on the Hipstamatic 100 retro camera from the 80s. It gives you 100s of combinations of lenses and film types so that you get a wide range of ‘feel’ for your picture. The ‘Shake for random’ is an interesting feature as you don’t know how lucky you’ll get

Snapspeed (both Android and iPhone)

One of the best post edit software out there, this Google owned app can be used if you just want to give touches or do a 360 degree edit

645 Pro Mk3 for iPhone

This app works as a replacement to your standard digital SLR. It has stunning film modes including full manual exposure control. It is essentially a DSLR in your pocket

Native IOS Camera

Like all Apple softwares, the basic features in itself provide some excellent value to regular photography. Set focus and adjust exposure and you are ready to go

Pixlr-o-matic for iPhone and Android

Our love with retro continues with this awesome app that allows you to save a ton of time in travel photo edits

5. Turn on the grid to easily follow composition rules

Mobile cameras are equipped to make a better photographer of you, if you let it. Use the phone’s inbuilt camera features like gridlines to get the very basics right. Always leave space in the direction in which the subject is looking of moving. Follow the general one third rule and some other basics for landscape photography. The straight lines of the grid will help you level your photo. In the 9 column grid, maintain your subject within 1,3,7, and 9 and match the grid lines with the horizon. Try taking multiple shots of the subject – one that follows the rule and the other that doesn’t to find your own style. Rules are good but it’s no fun if you don’t get to break them once in a while.

6. Some additional tips for capturing local food

While travelling places one of the most important experience is to eat as much local food as you can and also to take as much as pictures to post on social platforms. For great mobile food photography you need to take special care with light, placement and focus. You can also use some great apps for amazing filter effects.

There is only one way to get better at mobile travel photography – travel often and click even more. Go find your adventure.


I am a Certified sports & fitness nutritionist who loves to write about health and food.
Before starting my blogging career I worked with Deloitte for 5 years.
Other than writing, I also love cooking a lot for my 4 years young Son.

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