When you decided to go on this grand adventure of full-time RV-ing, you had dreams of seeing and doing so many awesome sights and places. And of course, you want to document these great times. These days, everyone carries this tiny computer with a killer camera (it kinda looks like a telephone – LOL) and we’re all just snapping away as we wander. But what do these pictures look like? And what happens to them once you click the button? Can your phone take a really good picture? What, exactly, is a really good picture? And what to do with it once you’ve taken it?
Yes, your modern phone has a really good camera. And yes, you can take really good, interesting, properly composed and exposed pictures with it. Follow along, we have some professional tips you can use with your phone to take better pictures! All of the photos in this article were taken with my IPhone.
Rule Of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is a guideline in photography that involves mentally dividing your viewfinder into thirds, by using a grid (either in your mind or on your camera). You then want to place your subject in the image on or near one of the intersecting lines in order to get a pleasing composition. Clear as mud right? Look at our example – I’ve placed the log cabin (the main subject) in the lower right intersection of this photo. It makes for a pleasing composition of the gorgeous scenery. On the IPhone, you can turn on gridlines so they’re visible on your screen as you take a photo. To do this, go to “Settings”, then “Photos and Camera”, then simply toggle the “Grid” to “On”. Easy!
Use A Unique Perspective
Most people see a scene, pick up their phone and just shoot what’s in front of them. But what if you use a different perspective? Try walking all the way around your subject while looking for interesting angles, or try shooting straight up or straight down on your subject. Get down on the ground and shoot low, or climb up on something and shoot down on your subject from up high. The possibilities are endless!
Another great composition tip is to use leading lines in your photos. Leading lines are a great way to draw your viewer’s eye into the photo. In my example photo, not only is the path a leading line, but the trees also form a strong line which draws your eyes up into the photo and through it.
Using patterns in your photographs doesn’t only have to mean repeating shapes. You can find patterns in lines, forms or colors as well. In our example photo, we have a pattern of shape and color in the purple cactus plant, making for an interesting scene to keep our viewers engaged.
Tell The Story
Use elements around you in order to tell a story. I named this sample photograph “Sunday Morning” because it’s a great representation of what I was doing that Sunday morning. I had the fireplace on, my cup of tea, blanket and my favorite magazine to relax with.
There’s nothing better than grabbing in-the-moment, real life candids that capture pure emotion. So sometimes you just have to throw all these rules out the window and take some non-posed photos of your family having a great time! After all, these are the best kinds of photographs there are!
Turn Off Your Flash
For the love of all things holy, turn off your camera’s flash! It makes your photos look overexposed and washed out, and it looks like you smacked your family member in the face with a light. Instead, find natural light! Your phone camera can and will compensate for the lower light and make a much nicer photograph. Take a look at our two sample photos here: The flash photo is altogether too obvious, while the natural light image is much nicer, with natural catchlights in the eyes and a much more pleasing skin tone. These two images were shot in the same room, on the same day, within seconds of one another (my granddaughter is pretty cute, isn’t she???)
Use a Tripod
The very best way to steady your camera and make sure your photos are super sharp is to use a tripod. It’s also great for setting up a shot so you can jump into the frame too. This cute little tripod has flexible legs so you can stand it up on a table, or wrap it around a tree or whatever works best for your situation at the time. It also comes with a handy wireless bluetooth remote for those times when you want to get in the shot too. This is the phone tripod I have and use and I do love it! (affiliate link)
Photo Editing Apps
There are so many apps out there that you can edit your photos with, and I’m sure you might already have a favorite. I have a couple that I use all the time. By far my favorite one is SnapSeed. It’s free, which makes it even better, and I just love the editing capabilities that it has. It’s HDR feature is stellar and I use it all the time. I also use the Tune Image feature at the top of the menu to tweek my image’s brightness, contrast and saturation. Another favorite of mine is Pic Stitch. Pic Stitch is a program that allows you to make collages out of a series of photographs. They have lots of different layouts to choose from, and for 99 cents you can buy a border pack if you want to make colorful borders on your collages. Fun!!
As you can see, there is a lot that your smartphone is capable of as far as taking great travel photos. What tips do you have for taking great photos with your phone? Please share in the comments!