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January 18, 2018
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5 Tips On How To Take Better Travel Photos with Your Smartphone

"Tara" viewpoint in Western Serbia

Isn’t it frustrating how some people’s vacation pictures are often a picture-perfect imitation of the postcards they could have easily bought at the airport on their way home? Whether it’s the ever-busy Times Square or the white-powder sand beaches on Thailand, travel photographs are an important part of the memories they represent. After all, they’re one of the reasons why we chose to travel in the first place, right?


Here are some golden rules on how to capture the spirit and true sensation of the trip.


  1. Think people. Let’s say you want to take a photo of the Tower of London on a rainy day. If you pull up your photo and snap the Tower in the gray light, you could get a decent photo. But if you put a beautiful girl with the Tower glimpsed over her shoulders visible just under the rim of an umbrella – you’ll have a great shot.
  2. Stop moving. You want to be as still as possible when shooting to avoid blurry images. Hold your camera with both hands or lean your hand on a firm surface to stay steady.
  3. Use the rule of thirds. Break an image into three equal parts either vertically, horizontally or both. The goal is to place key composition elements into those thirds (e.g. one-third land and two-thirds sky).
  4. Frame. When you have found your subject, look around to see if there’s a way you can frame it creatively. Some good options for framing are tree branches, as well as doors and windows. Frames can add much more drama to the shot.
  5. Focus. One way to be sure that people will be looking at the part of the image you want them to look at is to have the rest of the shot blurry. To start with, you can achieve this effect with the portrait or people mode on your phone camera.


In the end, remember – when you are taking a picture, you have all the background knowledge of your trip in your mind. When you get back to the image later, all of that will instantly come back to you.

No one else has that advantage. To them, that gorgeous shot of Sahara is just – a shot of Sahara. The story of the five-hour walk through sand storm on clumsy camels with Bedouins? Lost. The feeling of how refreshing it was on your skin when you finally took off the scarf and glasses? Gone. It’s just a two-dimensional image on a screen now, likely to be scrolled over in a glimpse of a second.

It’s your job to bring that entire lost context to life.