How To Take Better Travel Photos On Your Mobile Phone

Coming home with a boot load of images is all part of the fun. Here’s how to elevate your travel images from good to great.

Take Your Mobile Travel Photos from Good to Great

When you ask yourself why you travel, perhaps because you love the unexpected, you’re drawn to the energy in discovering the new, waking up in the morning and feeling like anything could happen. Never visiting the same place twice, travel is your counter to life's consistent schedule. And if you ask yourself why you carry a camera, you’ll have a similar purpose: to notice the tiny details you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

Coming home with a bootload of images is all part of the fun. Here’s how to elevate your travel images from good to great.

A group of stinky fish outside Hennningsvaer, Norway.

Photo By: Natalie Carrasco | iPhone 13 Pro

Photo By: Natalie Carrasco | iPhone 13 Pro

Photo By: Carlie Penning | iPhone 12 Pro

Chase Good Light

Excellent light and exposure techniques can indeed make or break an image. Although it’s simple to adhere to, chasing excellent lighting sources is a fun way to interact with your environment and capture stellar luminescence that extends into the pre-sunrise and post-sunset timeframe. Plus, it’s a bonus...

Imagine waking up at 4:30 am to strap on those dirty, gritty boots you’ve got stored by the front door to capture the sunrise peeking over Mt. Whitney’s glory. Better yet, grab a 7/11 coffee, rush to Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest before no one else does, and seamlessly photograph the vertical jungle as the sun’s rays seep through the clouds (speaking from personal experience here).

It’s all in the art of participation.

Breakfast in Amsterdam.

The ever-so classic Santorini.

Mt. Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona.

Photo By: Natalie Carrasco | iPhone 13 Pro

Photo By: Natalie Carrasco | iPhone 13 Pro

Snap The Candid Shots

The best photos take real moments. They evoke a sense of place and purpose, letting the viewer become lost in a particular memory or feeling. Vacation and travel photos are no exception. The three rules are lighting, composition, and connection. Abide religiously by these three simple rules, and you’ll no doubt portray that longing tenderness.

Candids of the Bahamas.

Catamaran ride near the Dominican Republic.

Where the desert meets the sea.

The Pacific Ocean.

Talk to the Locals

A brief interaction with a local will give great insight into the hottest spots to photograph. They’ll be able to tell you which particular places are inherently helpful and against the grain. More importantly, you’ll be an active participant in the environment in which you’re photographing and, therefore, form a deeper connection to its surroundings.

Positano, Italy.

Getting ready to Kayak in Mexico.

The gloomy seas of Positano, Italy.

Athens, Greece.

Accept the Imperfections

Travel images are best crafted when unprocessed and unposed. Embrace the daily imperfections, as those tiny nuances are what make something unique and beautiful. Whether it be your buddy marveling at an Ancient Greek ruin, munching on a delicious Mexican taco, or celebrating their mobile photography of wildlife… capture it all. Take it in. Shooting people in their off-guard moments is indeed what makes a vacation photo standout against the saturated grain. It will gift your audience a sneak peek into a moment that could never be re-lived by anyone else but you.

Isn’t that what makes photography so unique?

A portrait of Italy's Amalfi Coast.

Peach scenes of Italy.

Celebrate Color, Vibrancy, and Environment

Missionize your space’s tour de force by anchoring every inch of color embedded within the frame’s tiny corridors. Don’t think yellow, red, or brown — imagine Bavarian cream, Arizona tan, burnished bronze, or castle stone. Culminate the luxurious kitchen tile or bathroom towel rack with love, and intentionally seek each room's lovely color palettes.

Make it bright, and stain it tight. You can read more about photographing interesting architecture and interiors here.

Cute little place in Oslo, Norway.

Roaming Crema, Italy.

Don’t Rush It

Set yourself up for success.

Many expert photographers will tell you that getting up early and scoping the area of interest is a must-do for excellent captures. Spending just a few extra minutes roaming around the city will help you grab that perfect snap. Get high, get low, and funky in every nook and cranny. Even a slight breeze or a shift in someone’s angle posture can make an entire difference. That’s the best part about digital photography, no?

You can always go back and delete the ones you don’t prefer.

Dani in her dancing glory in Norway!

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