Traveling is an activity that we always look forward to. The thought of exploring uncharted waters and foreign lands never fail to excite us. Coming home after a vacation kind of feels like being woken up from a pleasant dream that you never wanted to end. We want to continue dreaming just a little bit more, which is why we bring back souvenirs and pictures. Not all travelers are fond of spending, but taking photos is absolutely free and can last us a lifetime. They’re precious keepsakes that we hold dear. Not taking even a single photo during your trip is tantamount to sin!

A man taking a photo with his camera

It’s ironic how the photos we take cost us nothing, yet they are often the most cherished souvenirs we have to remember our experiences. It’s amazing how that specific moment in time is captured, and then preserved so that we have something to look back on. You don’t even need a fancy camera because you have a built in one in your phone, that fits snuggly in your pocket. We don’t just take pictures while on vacation, we want to take nice photographs that embody our experiences. It’s proof that you actually crossed something off your bucket list!

While we don’t claim to be experts, we do have some tips to help beginners improve their mobile photography skills.

Focus

The most basic aspect of taking a picture: it must be clear. Do you have shaky hands? Sweaty palms? To prevent blurry shots, try to bring your elbows in when you take a picture. Make sure your arms form approximately 90 degree angles and are parallel to each other. Ideally, your elbows should not flare out. When our elbows are flared out in front of our shoulders, there is a greater to tendency for us to wobble. If you find that you really can’t stabilize your hands, it might be a good idea to invest in a tripod. Once you’ve secured your grip, make sure to select the subject you want to focus on. Tap on your screen to make sure the image is crisp. Wipe your lens too, because that may be a cause of fuzziness.

Rule of Thirds

A girl walking through a large hall with colorful pillars

Photo courtesy of @kimijuan on Instagram

Look at the subject that you want to shoot and imagine a 3×3 grid. Actually, you don’t even have to because your smartphone probably has a camera grid installed. You might have turned it off because you found it pesky, but trust me, it’s helpful in making sure that your photo looks balanced. The subject can be in the middle, or on either sides of the photo, it helps to position them in only one third of the area.

Golden Hour

A man along the beach with blue waters and coconut trees during sunset

Photo courtesy of @jaypeeswing on Instagram

You may have heard of this term already. The “golden hour” is typically during sunrise and sunset, where the natural light is at its best. Remember, in photography, lighting is king. In addition to good lighting, the sky looks extra pretty at these times because of the color. The colorful skies make for a good background or even landscape photos. In general, keep in mind to have enough light for photos, this would help in taking a clearer image.

Try Different Angles

A girl swimming underwater while there is a boat on the surface of the ocean

Photo courtesy of @sebgilbert on Instagram

On your social media account, you’ve probably seen the same location’s photo at the same exact angle. Why not try to shoot from a different perspective? Where’s the fun in hearing the same story being told the same way again and again? Tell a different story by changing up your angle. It’s time to get those creative juices flowing! You can also make use of lines and geometric patterns. Be aware of the background. Are you at a landmark with interesting architecture? Are there patterns or symmetries you can make use of? Take a cue from the Instagram of Maladavar Film’s Seb Gilbert. You’ll find plenty of inspiration there! 

Play with Filters

A man and a woman holding hands on a train track

A man and a woman holding hands on a train track

Photo courtesy of @emiwong_ on Instagram

Sometimes, our photos need a little boost from editing. We end up taking an almost perfect shot, but maybe the colors are too dull. Or maybe there’s a stranger that you want to crop out. Well, fret not, because your picture is not wasted! There are tons of free photo editing apps you can choose from. Try out Snapseed, VSCO, or even Instagram’s built in tools. My personal favorite is the healing tool from Snapseed. It helps blot out blemishes, or even unwanted people from my shots! You can also find some preset filters for VSCO if you’re still trying to get the hang of it. Another additional tip would be to choose a similar preset or filter for your photos. Make sure to follow a theme or color if you want to have a consistent looking IG Feed.

Have Fun

Silhouette of a man and a child playing in the sea

Photo courtesy of @abbyborbon on Instagram

Perhaps the most important and cliched advice we can give is to have fun. At the core of it all, we take photos so that we don’t let our memories pass us by. Taking nice photos are part of preserving our memories, but becoming too obsessed with getting our money shot isn’t fun. Take photos of subjects that interest you. Experiment with your angles and filters. It doesn’t matter what others might think or say, if you like your photos then that’s what counts. Your photo doesn’t have to be “perfect”, it only has to be meaningful to you. Don’t get too caught up with picture taking, make sure to live in the moment, too!

Come and share some of the snaps you took while on vacation! We hope our tips and tricks were helpful! What’s your own personal favorite photography tip or hack? Let us know in the comments down below!  

Article cover courtesy of Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Header image courtesy of Linda Xu on Unsplash