Are you planning a vacation and wondering what camera to take? If you’re thinking of carrying bulky camera equipment, you should reconsider! Whether you’re planning a weekend city break, a family vacation or a round the world adventure, your iPhone is the perfect camera for your trip. In this tutorial you’ll discover ten ways to guarantee success with your iPhone travel photography.
Is The iPhone Really All You Need?
The purpose of travel photography is to document your journey and experiences. These images serve as memories that will last a lifetime, and it’s likely that you’ll want to share them with family, friends and your social media followers.
While the image resolution and quality might be higher on a DSLR or other high-end camera, the iPhone wins hands-down on portability and convenience.
Not only is the iPhone compact, lightweight and great for taking photos quickly and discreetly, but you’re going to be carrying it with you anyway so there’s no need to take any extra equipment.
The last thing you want to do when you’re traveling is to carry a heavy camera, tripod and lenses around with you all day. It’s impractical, and it also makes you a target for theft as you can’t hide the fact that you’re carrying an expensive piece of kit.
The other problem with a traditional camera is that you can spend vital seconds or minutes changing settings, only to miss the once in a lifetime shot. With the iPhone you can have it out of your pocket and shooting in a couple of seconds!
The most important aspect of travel photography is to document the story of the locations you visit and the time that you spend there. So if you’re thinking of taking a large digital camera on your next vacation, you might want to think again.
Your iPhone can easily be the best travel camera, as long as you take some basic steps to prepare for your trip and follow these guidelines when you’re at your destination.
With a little knowledge and imagination, you can take stunning and unique travel photos with your iPhone. So let’s take a look at ten ways to maximize your chances of taking amazing travel photos with your iPhone!
1. Research Your Destination
Good travel photography starts way before you arrive at your destination. It starts off at home, where you should research the location that you’re visiting.
Spend a bit of time finding out about local landmarks, interesting architecture and areas of natural beauty that would make good subjects and locations for your photos.
Use the internet and travel guides to find out as much as you can about the region, culture, weather, and any interesting events or festivals that might be going on while you’re visiting.
Sometimes you’re just around the corner from somewhere really incredible that’s waiting to be photographed. That’s why it’s so important to research the places you’re visiting beforehand so that you don’t miss out on great photo opportunities.
Check what the weather will be like during your visit, and find out what time the sun rises and sets. The golden hours are usually the best times of day for taking photos, especially in hot climates where it can become hazy during the main part of the day.
In certain parts of the world you’re not allowed to photograph whatever you want, and there are certain rules to be followed. Find out what you’re allowed to photograph and what’s prohibited.
You should also check whether there are any dress codes, as well as other local rules and laws. Learn about the country’s religion and culture beforehand so that you don’t commit any mistakes or cause offense in the country you’re visiting.
2. Use The Instagram Community
Purchasing a good travel guide book is important for many people, but it’s also interesting (and free) to check out what the Instagram community has to say about your chosen destination.
Let your followers know where you’re going next and ask for personal opinions about locations to visit, places to eat, and what to see and photograph in that area.
Each destination has its clichés, as well as hidden secrets off the beaten track. Search for local Instagramers to see what and where they shoot. If possible, speak to them to get inside knowledge of their favorite places to photograph.
The Instagram mobile photography community is a friendly place, and you’re sure to find people who will be happy to help you find great locations to shoot. You never know, they might even offer to meet up and show you the sights!
3. Prepare Your Camera
Before you set out on your journey, set aside some time to prepare your iPhone for the trip. One of the most important things is to make sure you have enough space on your iPhone for lots of new photos.
You don’t want to run out of space half way through your adventure! So free up as much space as possible by transferring your existing pictures to your computer.
Battery life is also important as you might be out shooting all day with your iPhone. I would advise purchasing an external battery, such as the Mophie Juice Pack, to give you more hours of shooting time.
If you’re traveling to a location where you don’t need to use cellular coverage, optimize the battery usage by switching on Airplane Mode in the Settings app. This way your iPhone won’t drain the battery trying to keep you connected all the time.
A “foggy” image can sometimes be a pure result of a dirty lens, so make sure your iPhone’s camera lens is clean. Wipe the lens gently with a clean lens cloth, or any other soft fabric such as your t-shirt, to ensure your photos are crystal clear.
4. Rethink The Cliché Shots
Visiting tourist spots when traveling is practically inevitable, but you don’t want to return home with your images looking just like the guide book. It’ll be much more fun and interesting if you take unique shots of popular travel destinations.
The important thing to remember when photographing popular tourist locations is to avoid shooting the subject just like everyone else has done before you.
Move around and get to know your subject. Experiment with more appealing angles and viewpoints that aren’t common in this scene.
Shooting from a low angle is an easy way to show a scene from a perspective that people don’t normally see from standing height.
Leave the photo clichés to the tourists! You’re a mobile photographer and a traveler on a mission to take the best photos you possibly can within a set timeframe.
Keep your eyes peeled for unique photo opportunities, and don’t be afraid to take the shot. If it doesn’t work out you can delete it, but if you don’t take the photo in the first place you’ll never know how it would have turned out.
5. Shoot Portraits Of Local People
A great way to capture the essence of your destination is to take portrait photosof local people. If you’re shooting from a distance this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you want to take close-up portraits it’s polite to ask permission first.
For a softer approach, I suggest a quick study of the language first. Buy a phrasebook or download a translation app on your iPhone, and learn the basics such as, “hello,” “please,” “thank you” and “how are you?”
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