Let’s face it, phones are convenient, portable, lightweight and it’s the one guaranteed thing we are unlikely to forget at home during a trip. DSLR cameras are expensive (phones are too, to be fair), quite chunky and unless you know what you are doing, it can take a while to get your head around them. It is more than possible to capture great holidays’ photos with just your phone, especially when phone cameras keep getting better and better. Chances are you already use your phone camera every day, so here are my five tips on taking great holiday photos with your phone.
Local Elements Background
What makes a holiday picture different from an everyday photo is the presence of unique local elements. When you take your picture on holiday make sure to frame your scene showcasing some of those elements, vehicles, clothing, landmarks. Every destination is different so play around with the background. If you’re set on photographing a very famous landmark, do some detective work in advance and figure out when some of the quieter times are.
One thing I love to do is play around on Google Maps before leaving for a trip and use the street view to see roughly how it looks around where we’re staying and some of the places we’re interested in exploring. This can give you a good idea of some not-so-famous locales that will make for a different picture while reflecting the culture and style of your destination. Even taking photos of your kids eating some incredible gelato at this off-the-beaten-path gelateria will be a memory worth having for the experience of finding that local gem and the (delicious) reward accompanying it!
Lighting is probably the most important tool for any photographer. Make sure to take pictures in different lights. The same landmark will look very different at sunset and sunrise. Don’t discount cloudy days as they provide more even coverage of light and eliminate the squinting that comes with sunny days. Try not to take the photos you really want in the middle of the day as that is when shadows are at their most harsh.
If what you really want in the background or the place you had your heart set on is only available then, try and find some open shade to keep things even. From the shadow at the side of the building to dense trees that soften the light or even an umbrella at the beach, these tweaks in location can make the gorgeous sunny day work to your advantage when taking photos with your phone.
You can find observation decks in pretty much every big city nowadays. Make sure you take the shot! High viewpoints give a totally different perspective of a destination. Do your work in advance and find out where the deck is and what you can see from up there, it will give you an idea of how to frame your picture. Get down low with your little ones and see what they see when they are traveling with you. Often their perspectives will yield an object or scene that had escaped your grown-up view of the world. And think about the background when setting up your shot. Is there a lamp coming out of someone’s head? Could you use your kids hugging to block out an errant garbage bin? These smaller details can save you editing time in the end as well as being disappointed that you can’t change the photo at all.
Put yourself in the picture
Way too often parents are so focused on photos of their kids that they forget one of the most important elements in a family photo: themselves. As kids get older they love to look back at photos of themselves when they were younger, but don’t be fooled – they very much want to see you in those memories too! Take advantage of the self-timer on your phone to set up some fun images that capture your family exactly as they are now, even if that means the toddler is picking their nose. Try to commit to including yourself in the photo just once a day.
If you are already familiar with your destination, map out a location(s) where you envision a family photo being a keeper and there is a good chance you can set up the camera well or that someone will be nearby that you can ask to take one for you. This is one aspect of holiday photos that can’t be stressed enough – jump in the frame and be part of your kids’ memories!
With everything being digital nowadays we often forget to actually print the pictures. This is a must! Photographs are more often than not the only reminder we have of our holidays, celebrations, etc. They are an ever-present, feel-good memory of a fleeting moment. There are so many ways to develop your photos beyond just a print, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Several apps can automatically create photo books for you directly from your camera roll (I love Chatbooks for this!).
If you’re looking for something a little more detailed send your photos to your desktop or laptop and use drag and drop templates provided by bigger photo printing companies (like Mpix or Snapfish) to finish a book without needing to devote hours to designing it. Displaying them doesn’t need to be about printing either. Use the screensaver on your laptop or even on your TV and create a holiday slideshow that appears regularly whenever the device is in use. And look forward to planning your next family adventure by updating your phone screen with one of your favorite images from the trip!
Do you have any questions about taking photos with your phone while on holiday? If so, leave it below in the comments section and we will help try and answer it for you!
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