When you’re on vacation and want to capture the experience, you often have to weigh which photography gear is most realistic to bring along for the journey. If you’re more serious about photography and have multiple cameras and lenses for different scenarios, you’re still limited by what you can carry. Not everyone is a committed shutterbug, but most everyone does have a camera on their phone.
Cameras on mobile devices are getting stunningly sophisticated and lots of software is available, making editing photos on your phone more accessible than ever before. You can do a lot with that phone if you’re aware of your environmental surroundings and use the camera to its best abilities.
Light is everything in photography and it’s the simplest fix to taking better photos immediately. If you like to go to restaurants and take photos of food (like the rest of us) ask to sit near a window or other light source if possible. The same goes for portraits. If you’re indoors, find a window or a light source that will light up your subject. If you’re outside and it’s blindingly sunny, look for a shaded area so your subject is lit with ambient or horizontal light. Lastly, you can sometimes shoot into the light and have your subject stand between you and the light to create silhouettes and more dramatic shadows.
It’s so important to be constantly aware of your surroundings. Moving quickly and taking advantage of a developing situation can lead to the difference between a good photo and a great photo. I’m not suggesting having your camera app on at all times or anything, but have the understanding many of these moments are temporary and you may not have the same kind of opportunity again later. If you see it, shoot your shot.
Set up the shot you’re about to photograph and take a step back to look outside the frame of the photo. Be intentional about what you’re including in the frame and where it lies in relation to your subject or other objects in the frame. I will sometimes take another step back and shoot this way because I know I can always crop in a little bit if I need to. Also, look for other visual cues to help you compose your shot: leading lines or by using symmetry to balance and compose your shot. These simple tricks can dramatically change a photo’s impact.
I don’t have the newest model, but my 3-year-old iPhone is very good at a handful of things when it comes to photographs. It’s the perfect focal length to capture everything from sweeping vistas and stitching together panoramas or photographing textures using the macro feature. Your camera is capable of taking these photos, but it’s also important for you, as the photographer, to take photos of the large, obvious change in vista and take note of the finer details and nuances that reveal themselves after more thoughtful examination.
Sometimes, you can have all of the right factors: the right frame, the right light, and the right settings. However, when you take the photo and review, it’s not what you thought it’d be. Being patient can pay off where a slight change from your original photo was what it needed to really stand out. I think the most common instance of this is facial reactions in people. I like to take multiple photographs of people mid-reaction and patiently shoot until I’m confident we got one that we are looking for. Whether it comes from a little direction from you as the photographer or nature completing the image for you, patience can award you with a better result than you anticipate.
Roy Son, Sun Country Explorer:
I received airfare, hotel accommodations, and a stipend from Sun Country Airlines as compensation for the post and Sun Country Airlines did not influence my opinion of this experience. All views and opinions expressed in the post are my own and no other compensation was provided.
In our ongoing mission to connect people and make memories that matter, our Sun Country Explorers program engages travelers and their stories. Local influencers and Instagram gurus are jet-setting with us and bringing home travel tidbits, local finds, and stories they’re excited to share with our community.