One of the main aspects of great photography is capturing a special moment you can hold onto forever. Even editors and photographers from large publications, including National Geographic and the Guardian, have been ditching their high-end cameras and capturing moments on their trusty and capable smartphones. After all, they generate 8 megapixel images, offer a panorama frame and have autofocus – what more could you want from a holiday-worthy camera?
As smartphones are perfect for snapping on-the-go, especially if you have one of the latest models, here’s our guide on getting the best out of your smartphone camera this summer.
Use natural light to the best of your ability when capturing the moment, whether for an arty silhouette shot or to softly light up your frame. Avoid direct sunlight, as this can cause dense and ugly shadows and will make everyone in the image squint, which is never very attractive! Wherever possible, counteract the midday sun with a slightly shaded spot or, alternatively, the soft light of sunrise and sunset helps capture some lovely, warm images. Try to avoid reflective objects in the background wherever you can in order to eliminate the flares and red-eyes, especially if it’s getting dark and you’re using the flash.
Case Study - If you’re holidaying in New York, an early morning or sunset photo shoot from the top of the Empire State Building would add some great additions to the holiday album. Using the panorama setting on your smartphone will allow you to squeeze as much of the city into one picture as possible.
The Rule of Thirds
Try angling your camera vertically or horizontally and imagine there is a grid of nine equal sections across the screen, divided by two parallel and two vertical lines. Next, line up your frame by making sure you have all of your favourite points of interest along one of the lines; that way your image will be balanced and you won’t waste any space. If you’re taking a landscape photo, make sure you focus on the land rather than the sky; a good rule of thumb is to fill two thirds of the frame with the landscape and the remaining third with sky.
Test out your rule of thirds technique across the city of Amsterdam - try and include the river, streets and sky nicely into the frame without overcrowding the photo too much. Take a couple and if you’re not happy, you can always crop them down at a later date.
There are many apps available to edit and filter your images to make them look even better when sharing them with everyone back home. The popular social media app, Instagram, is great for cropping and editing your image before you add a filter and share it among your friends and family. Alternatively, upload the images onto your computer and edit them using the popular free programme, GIMP, which allows you to crop and discard any unwanted sections, as well as numerous other functionalities.
The newly launched London tour company, Foto Ruta, promote iPhoneography walking tours of the city, where tourist can get useful tips and tricks on how to take the best pictures using a smartphone.
Capturing the moment
Close ups are a great way of capturing an intimate moment and, because you won’t have to zoom-in, your image will retain its high quality while avoiding pixelation. For a wide shot photo, you could always off-centre your main subject for a more dynamic and different image. Try having your figure situated on the left hand side of frame and the background scenery or landmark on the right. Be careful not to fit too much into the frame though, as this can distract the focus of the viewer.
Selfies are such a popular pastime and, as smartphones take such great close ups, it would be rude not to take a selfie from the bottom of the Eiffel Tower during your city break to Paris. Capture this magnificent attraction towering high above you as you take a close up from the ground.
When on holiday, the perfect photo opportunities sometimes just happen; so always have your camera phone ready to capture and share those moments.