You have probably heard the expression “the best camera is the one that you have with you,” and that’s especially true when you’re traveling. While I love my Fujifilm X-T2 and think that proper gear is worth the investment, it isn’t always practical to carry a camera 24/7.
I’ve actually gotten some of my favorite shots with my iPhone 7 Plus. While it’s not easy to get high quality pics from a phone, especially in lower lighting, there are some simple tricks and accessories that can seriously upgrade your photography.
Here are a few essential iPhone photography tips for travel.
iPhone cameras have so many accessories, and in my experience, a lot of them are totally useless. At the moment, my favorite iPhone camera add-ons are Pixter’s Lenses. They have a few pack options available, including one that is specifically designed for travel and one for “Photography Pros”.
The Pixter Travel Pack comes with their flexible and versatile tripod as well as the Pixter Wide Angle Pro lens. If you’re looking for something ultra lightweight, this is the way to go.
One of the fastest ways to upgrade every shot is to turn on the grid lines. Using these, you can incorporate one of the fundamental rules of photography: the rule of thirds.
The idea here is that you break each image down into thirds, both horizontally and vertically (you’ll get a visual of this as soon as you turn on the grid lines on your phone). Your goal is to keep your subject at the intersections or along the lines.
If you Google “rule of thirds,” you can find tons of samples showing comparison pics where the rule was applied and where it wasn’t. This will give you a clear idea of why it’s important.
To turn on the grid lines feature for your iPhone, go to Settings, click Photos & Camera, and switch Grid to on.
Taking the shot is just the first step in getting an amazing photo. I can guarantee you that ninety-nine percent of the gorgeous shots you have fallen in love with online have been edited.
When it comes to editing photos, less is often more. You don’t have to use crazy fillers (though they have their place too) or create an unnatural look. Just spend the time enhancing the natural beauty of your shot.
You want a final look that captures all of the rich shades and tones that you saw in person.
I will often edit my iPhone photos on my Macbook in Adobe Lightroom (when I have more time to edit) and often times you’d never know the shots were taken from my phone versus my camera.
Some great mobile editing apps are available, and it is worth spending the time mastering them when you’re on-the-go. For my shots, I typically use Snapseed and VSCO to get Instagram-worthy looks.
Read More: Top 5 Photo Editing Apps for Travelers
It’s tempting to zoom in, but don’t do it! Either physically get closer to your subject or just plan to edit the shot later. Zooming in reduces the picture’s quality and creates a pixelated look.
Once you’ve zoomed in, you can’t fix the shot whereas a picture taken from farther away can easily be cropped.
It’s hard to shoot yourself on a phone, unless you’re aiming for the ultimate selfie. I often travel alone and find that a phone tripod and Bluetooth remote is a cheap and easy-to-carry option. They are compact and you can get your phone in and out quickly without damaging it.
Pixter’s flexible tripod will wrap around anything and everything, so it’s easy to get a good angle. Their Bluetooth remote control is reliable, and it comes with a travel-friendly carry pouch that you can fit into pretty much any bag.
It’s a perfect tool for self-shooting!