Getting good photos on your vacation doesn’t have to be a chore. You no longer need to bring a DSLR or point-and-shoot unless you really want to. A smartphone is fully capable of capturing bright and vibrant photos with amazing image quality. The best part is, your smartphone is always with you, so you don’t have to worry about missing that special moment because you forgot your camera at home.
Using the Right Equipment
If you’re going on vacation to the beach or a rugged environment, you have to remember that your smartphone is a relatively fragile piece of electronic equipment. Even though some phones are dust- and water-resistant, getting a case is a good idea. As a bonus, some cases enable the use of add-on lenses, which give you some of the versatility of an interchangeable lens camera.
Another advantage smartphones have over DSLRs is being able to download camera apps that provide different features. The default camera app is great if you want quick and easy use; however, some apps give you access to the RAW files, meaning your post-production can be more intensive. Other apps are built around long exposure or high-speed photography. If you want an app that is somewhere between the default and total control, Instagram is a great and easy way to take photos, add filters and share them with family and friends. If you need inspiration Captain Morgan’s Instagram account is a good way to see how different filters and framing can be used, especially in a casual environment.
Framing for Interest
How you frame a photo determines how the viewer looks and reacts to it. Taking the time to think about the framing of your image pays off in the long run. Use the rule of thirds to ensure your subject fills one-third of the frame because it enables you to show off the main subject as well as some of the background. Similarly, make sure that trees and light poles aren’t directly behind your subject, so the viewer isn’t distracted.
Photos taken during a leisurely activity will also benefit from the use of the HDR mode found on many camera apps today. The HDR works by merging multiple photos together with different exposure levels. This means that you can expose for both the shadows and bright areas of the scene. These HDR images can also have more saturated colors than those not using HDR.
Capturing the Action
Chances are you’re going to run into some situations where you need fast reflexes to get the shot. There are a few things to remember when you’re trying to capture action shots.
First, know how to quickly access the camera app on your phone. On the iPhone, dragging up quickly from the lower corner launches the camera as you unlock. Android has a quick launch feature that is similar to the iPhone; however, some manufacturers put in their own quick keys — some can be launched by a dedicated camera key, others require a double tap of the power button and some use a wrist flick to launch the camera.
After you pull up the camera, check to see if there is a sports mode. This increases your shutter speed, which decreases the amount of motion blur that is introduced by you or your subject. If your phone has an HDR (high dynamic range) function, turn it off to increase the speed at which you can take pictures.