Take Awesome Travel Photos with Your iPhone - Page 2

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A woman takes a scenic photo with a smartphone
A woman takes a scenic photo with a smartphone.  (iStockphoto)

Along with photos of people, landmarks, and landscapes, detail shots of things like street art or knickknacks in a souvenir shop can make great iPhone photography subjects. The wide-angle and close-focus abilities make these cameras ideal for close-up vignettes that can add interest and a well-rounded sense of place to your vacation albums.

For example, you can visit an open-air market and snap a still life of fresh-cut flowers. Pop into a local art studio to capture the intricate textures on a woodcarving. And—as cliché as it sounds—look for inspiration on the plates of great meals. Food is one of the most memorable cultural artifacts, and looking back through those photos later will bring all the sights, smells, and tastes of your trip flooding back.

One of the ironies of using a supposedly simple iPhone as a serious camera is how complicated it can actually become. The lack of aperture or shutter speed settings can be convenient, until you actually want some control over them. “In a way, it helps me be more creative,” Bettany says. “It can be freeing to work within those limitations.”

That doesn’t mean you have no control at all. “The iPhone does allow you to choose where it focuses and bases exposure,” Alana says. “But you have to use your finger to guide it.” On the native camera app you can tap the screen to specify a single point for both focus and exposure. But for more flexibility, upgrade to a full-featured third-party app (like Camera+ or Top Camera) that will let you set the focus and exposure independently.

The real boon to travelers is what you can do after taking a photo with an iPhone. Smartphones offer incredible photo editing and publishing power no matter where you are. And while a few newer cameras do have some basic in-camera photo editing and the ability to share your images to social media outlets, with the iPhone and like-minded devices, it’s wonderfully simple to post a photo to Facebook, geo-tag it to Hipstamatic, or email it to your address book.

Specific apps for shooting, editing, and publishing photos are really a matter of taste. And once you find the ones that fit your style, it’s fun to conceive of a photo and then simply pull up the right program to help you achieve it. Want to take panoramic shots that stitch multiple photos together into a single sweeping landscape? Interested in long exposures of the city lights at night? Need to keep family and friends in the loop with regular photos and updates online? Adding these functionalities is cheap and easy.

Of course the sharing and social-media pieces of this puzzle raise their own issues. First off, when traveling abroad, connectivity can be a problem. If you don’t have a data connection that allows you to instantly upload photos, it’s a good idea to regularly back-up your pictures to a computer or hard drive. Speaking of back-up, be sure to sign up for Apple's iCloud service, which gives you 5GB of free storage and ensures your photos will be automatically backed-up to the cloud whenever you’re phone is charging, in sleep mode, and connected to Wi-Fi.

On the other hand, if you do have a constant connection, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should always share every picture. “Shooting with an iPhone allows me to take thousands of photos, but followers on social media sites can’t take in such a large amount of information,” Bettany says. Curating your photos to just a few of the very best is a good way to keep people back home interested and excited about what you’re doing.

Alana suggests tailoring what you share to the people who follow you on specific social media platform. “On Instagram, I only post the best photos from my trips along with travel and photography tips in my descriptions, while on Facebook, I post more freely,” she says. “On my blog, I group photos into galleries to tell a story. I want people to feel like they are experiencing the destination with me, and with an iPhone I can do this more expeditiously than with a DSLR or other digital camera.”

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