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Smartphone Travel Photography Tips: How to shoot big with small gear

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Big cameras mean great features – and trekking to a destination with equipment heavy enough to put a kink in the nook and extra baggage charges in the plane ticket. Smartphone cameras, on the other hand, are perfect for travel photography. They're easy to pack because they're always in the bag, and the latest models have great specs to capture great pictures (and videos) of the entire vacation from start to finish (you can also quickly access social media for instant jealousy to produce) from your followers). But are they ideal for travel photography ̵

1; risk missing something by not bringing more advanced cameras?

To find out if a smartphone is sniffing, we recently contacted Adobe in the Virgin Islands, UK Virgin Gorda Baths waters and Jost Van Dyke as a backdrop – where the company told photographers to shoot down their DSLRs and a whole Turning day with nothing else than our cell phone (we were guests of Adobe, but all opinions are our own). And while we were happy to return to the DSLR, we found that today's smartphones are indeed capable travel cameras and easier to manage while walking through beach caves, for example. For many of you this is probably not news. But with any camera, DSLR or phone, photography requires an understanding of the basic features that can make a difference. Find out what travelers who only plan a smartphone camera need to know.

Know the limits of your smartphone camera

The key to making good travel photos on a smartphone is understanding what your smartphone can do – and what it can do. t. Most smartphones have a single lens with a wide-angle focal length, while the models with two lenses have a bit more versatility with a slight zoom. No matter if you just want to zoom in on the Eiffel Tower with your smartphone, you will be very disappointed. Smartphones are simply too small to incorporate much optical zoom, and digital zoom cuts the photo just for a pixelated close-up.

If you just zoom on the top of the Eiffel Tower with your smartphone, "I'll be very disappointed."

Smartphones are not that smart in low light and have less hardware. Most smartphones can not take long shutter speeds for creative blurring or use weak light.The camera sensor is much smaller than what is in a DSLR or even an advanced point-and-shoot, and the resolution is usually lower, so if you take a giant canvas print of your trip to the Wishing to hang walls, a smartphone is probably not the ideal travel camera for you.

Understanding the Power of a Smartphone Camera

Smartphone cameras may be more limited than dedicated cameras, but that does not mean that they do not have their advantages. First and foremost is the size, the smartphones are not only easy to stow in your carry-on or bag, but also easier to carry Hiking in the Caves at the Virgin Gorda Baths required accommodation through confined spaces, so shooting with a smartphone was easier than removing heavy equipment to move through a crevasse.

Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

While With the built-in lens of a smartphone, you can not bring this distant landmark, its wide-angle focal length is ideal for capturing landscapes. It's easy to adjust the scene in the photo, and if not, to use the built-in panorama mode.

DSLRs have better hardware, but smartphones have better software. As smartphone makers continue to look for ways to improve the camera without adding space, software solutions such as the integrated High Dynamic Range and Portrait modes are being developed. Besides the options in the camera, there is no shortage of apps to quickly edit and share these pictures.

Release the native camera app (most of the time)

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Julian Chokkattu / Digital Trends “/>
19659016] One of the easiest ways to get more out of your smartphone camera is the use of a good third-party camera app, rather than relying on the preinstalled on the smartphone. These non-native camera apps are usually rich in advanced features, making a smartphone a little more photographed like a digital SLR with manual settings and the ability to shoot RAW, an uncompressed file that has more flexibility for editing this Offers pictures. The built-in app works well for occasional shots, but if you want to edit travel photos to make them pop, an advanced camera app is a great tool.

The shots shared here were taken with Adobe Lightroom CC for mobile devices Few with the iOS camera app also included on an iPhone 7. In addition to recording in DNG (Adobe RAW format), Lightroom lets you manually set shutter speed, ISO, and white balance. Lightroom also has a built-in HDR mode, which is helpful in difficult lighting, and there are plenty of post-editing tools. If you have an Adobe CC subscription, you can sync your photos to your other devices or save them to the cloud. The app is free to use, with a subscription required for some of the extra features.

Non-native camera apps are usually rich with advanced features, making a smartphone just a bit more like a DSLR shooter.

But Lightroom is not the only mobile app out there. For example, we recently fell in love with Moments camera app, which offers many manual adjustments and RAW footage, but in an elegant and easy-to-use interface. Essentially, you're looking for an app with manual controls, DNG shots, and HDR mode. Start by reading our manual.

Pack a portable charger

Using the camera of a phone heavily consumes the battery quickly. Weak signal strength and heat can also negatively impact battery life, so in remote or hotter regions, adding juice is very important. Bring a portable USB charger (see our favorites) to your phone so you can stay out until sunset. Enabling sleep mode, disabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, or enabling airport mode can also extend battery life.

Pack a waterproof housing

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Leave sufficient space for many photographs

Nothing makes the Moment like the pop up message that you have no more free space left. Save all images on your smartphone to a hard drive to free up space before you leave, and if you have a smartphone with a microSD slot, use one to shoot longer. Of course, if you have Google Photos or iCloud, you can also back up images in the cloud to free up space on your device.

Take pensive compositions

Hillary Grigonis / Digital Trends

Good photography is not as much about the equipment as about the photographer – that is, with a little more thought, you can enhance your smartphone photos without much equipment to invest (or to tow). Preview the shot and decide how to enhance the picture before you snap the picture into place. Are there any distracting elements that you can eliminate by adjusting your perspective? Does the image improve when you kneel down or hold the phone higher in the air? Does the picture look better in a slightly negative room or is it centered on the subject? A few simple composition adjustments can greatly enhance the footage of smaller cameras.

Touch to focus and use the exposure compensation

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Outside the small size and software, simplicity extends the list of advantages of using a smartphone for photography , If the focus is not perfect, tapping on the screen will focus on that point. Most smartphone apps, including built-in apps, have an exposure compensation that brightens or darkens the image, even if you do not understand the advanced settings.

Look for "good" light

Advanced photographers know how to recognize or create the ideal light for recording – but understanding a few basics can help travelers capture most postcard-like scenes. The position of the sun is usually best for early morning and late afternoon photos and worst in the middle of the day. Plan to visit the first attraction in the morning or later in the evening first on your list.

Plan to visit the first attraction in the morning or later in the evening.

Shooting the sun is also hard to do with a smartphone camera, so think about where the sun will be when you're planning which landmark to see and when.

Shoot in DNG and edit for best results

One of the Benefits of Using an Advanced Camera App Even though you still do not understand the manual settings, DNG is. A DNG is a type of RAW image file that contains more information than the typical JPEG. Because of this additional information, DNG files have more flexibility for later editing. For example, if the image is too dark, you can brighten a DNG file more than a JPEG. DNGs need a bit more space on your smartphone, but the end result is usually worth it.

DNG files are intended for editing. Use a RAW photo editing app to adjust brightness, color, contrast, and more. In some advanced camera apps, such as Lightroom CC, both a camera and editing tools are integrated, while others are only edited. Other editing apps include VSCO, popular for movie simulation effects, and PicsArt, popular for photo remixing.

Consider smartphone lenses and a mini-tripod

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You can not swap the lens of your phone for something else, but you can put a lens over it to increase versatility. With the additional lenses, you can take wider scenes, zoom in or take macro shots. That means you have to pack a little more, but on some trips it's also worthwhile to take a bag with extra lenses.

A mini tripod can also be useful for shooting in low light conditions. Tripods also help to make less unpleasant selfies – some advanced camera apps have a timer, or you can try a tripod with a Bluetooth remote like the Joby GorillaPod.

If the smartphone accessory is important to get these shots in a carry-on bag, so they do not end up in a tattered suitcase halfway between paradise and home – which is the reason that none of the photos shown here Lenses or a tripod was added.

When should I wrap up another camera?

Smartphone lenses can not replace modern cameras, but what they lack in hardware is their size, software and simplicity. This makes smart phone cameras good for many different types of travel – but how do you know to invest in a better travel camera? If you want to zoom in, have underwater diving abilities, or make a big impression of your adventure, a smartphone probably will not really cut. A bridge-zoom camera, waterproof compact camera or a mirrorless camera could be the better choice for these walks.

If you take photos of vast landscapes without putting your energy on a long hike, you can take better snapshots with a smartphone and a few tricks. Because if something that carries a 50-pound bag of DSLR gear on a fresh sunburn through three airports has taught us, it's sometimes that simplicity is a good thing.

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