Smartphone travel photography is no different than using any other camera. Indeed the basic techniques are the same as you would use with a compact or an SLR camera. So, the technical skills of the phone owner will determine the success of the photos. As always, the goal must be to get the most out of the equipment you have working within its limits.
Basic on Smartphone travel photography
The following tips will help you get the most out of your smartphone camera:
- Set the maximum resolution of the camera! Maybe it will take longer to save and send the photos, but these will be of the best quality. Also shoot in raw if available.
- when composing the photo make sure that the lens has focused on the subject; otherwise, recompose until the focus is in place, or touch the point you want to focus on the screen and the optics will be adjust accordingly.
- Avoid using digital zoom and get close to the subject if the smartphone does not have an optical zoom. Also when you restrict the portion of space to be framed with your fingers, you are effectively cutting out the image. Indeed you also reducing its resolution and quality significantly.
- Smartphones have multiple cameras, but two are the most important. I refer to the front and back. The first, the one on the back is the best, with a decidedly higher resolution. So the main consequence is that selfies are less sharp than they could be. You will have to make up for it.
- Check the camera settings to see if it has manual controls. Some of the higher end allow you to adjust the white balance, the ISO value and the shutter speed. These functions can be used with satisfaction in many situations, such as in action photography or in low light.
- Shoot with the maximum possible lighting, avoiding low light conditions. In indoors condition, turn on the lights and have the subjects face the light source. Also use the flash if the light is very low, inside or out, but remember that its range is about one meter and that direct light ruins many photos. Anyway turn on the flash if the subject is lit from behind and you don’t want to photograph just a silhouette.
- Fill the frame with the subject, approaching or using the optical zoom. So you will avoid having to crop the image later, which lowers its quality. Try to find out what the minimum focal distance is and pay attention to the distortion that can occur when you get too close.
- Keep your phone steady. So the shutter button is not always place in the best place to favor a steady hand. Make an effort to keep it still, especially if there is little light. So the camera selects a slow shutter speed to compensate for the lack of light and the photo is likely to be move; if there is image stabilization, leave it inserted.
- Experiment with the camera and learn about the features, strengths, and weaknesses before you get stuck in an important situation.
- Take into account the basic rules of composition, especially the third party rule and orientation
After taking the photo, use the camera application’s photo editing program to improve images with elementary tools that can crop and correct color and brightness, but you can also download more apps sophisticated.
If the smartphone retouching program is not adequate, transfer the images to the computer and arrange them with a photo editing program, as you would for photos taken with a normal camera.
Also remember that telephones have little memory space, which you managed to avoid being in difficulty at a critical moment. So you have to expand it, buy a high capacity flash card and create a workflow that allows you to easily transfer the images from the internal memory.
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Take care of your phone
Like any camera you will have to take care of your cell phone. In fact, with smartphone travel photography you will have to take care of your gear every day. So keep the optics clean. Anyway, this is almost impossible since the lens does not have a cap, so get used to wiping on it with a soft cloth to remove your fingers before shooting. Also be careful do not heat the mobile phone sensor! The noise increases and the quality of the images decreases.
App in smartphone travel photography
The hundreds of apps available for smartphones enhance the creative possibilities of mobile photography. The apps expand the basic functions of the built-in camera, improving its performance and adding possibilities for capture, retouching and sharing. Some apps simulate the rendering of classic cameras, or specific lenses and film types.
You can also enhance images with photo editing apps like Photoshop Express, for iOS and Android. Apps like this allow you to crop, rotate, correct color, add titles, frames and various special effects.