15 Tips For Taking Perfect Travel Pics With Your Smartphone

Your smartphone is the easiest way to capture amazing moments and unforgettable feelings while traveling – but more times than not the image doesn’t really capture what you were hoping for. Most devices cannot boast elaborate sensors and professional lenses like DSLR cameras, however, there are ways to overcome these shortcomings and take fantastic shots.

Cole Rise is a famous traveler and photographer on Instagram who created Rise, one of the most popular Instagram filters. His images stand out because of their “unedited edited” look. Below, Cole shares his secrets to subtle editing and taking DSLR-worthy images with a phone camera.

1. Brighten Shadows And Tone Down Highlights

The majority of photo editing apps include options to adjust highlights and shadows. Use them!

To enhance this landscape photo, Cole balanced the exposure by brightening the shadows and darkening the highlights. He also took advantage of the Winsy filter from the Litely app to bring out the image’s warm hues.

2. Add Vignetting And Intensіfy Shadows To Increase Brightness

Add a hint of vignette to create a subtle dark border around your photo and brighten the middle of the image. As the original image is dark, Cole increased the vibrancy and added a little sharpness to distinguish the shapes of the balloons and landscape.

3. Edit The Photo, Then Go Back And Reduce Your Adjustments By 50%

Making your image look natural is the key. Edit your image and reduce the adjustments by 50% afterward. Last year, Instagram finally introduced the ability to edit filter strength. Once you select a filter, tap it again to reduce the intensity.

Another piece of advice. Stay away from Lux in Instagram. This tool is intended to fix the lack of contrast. But it often makes pictures look unnatural.

4. Use People Whenever You Can

Landscapes look better with humans in them. People convey feelings. The best example of how they add personality to an image is the Instagram project of Murad Osmann, who takes pictures of himself holding his girlfriend’s hand all over the world.

5. People Also Help Create A Sense Of Scale

This is a picture of the ancient city of Jerash. If you remove the person from the image, the viewers won’t get a true sense of how huge the columns really are.

6. Try Shooting Out Of A Car Window

leaving Tokyo (iPhone + Slow Shutter App + litely)

A post shared by Cole Rise (@colerise) on

You’ll never know what you get. On the iPhone, simply press and hold the shutter to take photos in Burst Mode. Android phones allow rapid-fire photos as well. On Samsung phones, it may be called Burst Shot. Cole used the Slow Shutter Cam app to add a touch of motion blur here.

7. Take An Unusual Shot By Setting Your Phone On The Roof Of Your Car

If there are beautiful cloud formations in the sky, the reflections from your car’s roof can add a lot of visual interest to your photo.

8. Bring Your Phone Right To The Water’s Edge To Create Cool Reflective Effects

jumping ship. (iPhone + lifeproof + @litely + little bit of rise)

A post shared by Cole Rise (@colerise) on

9. When Shooting For Instagram, Shoot In Portrait Mode

Take a full-sized photo vertically. You can always adjust after. Setting your phone to shoot in the square mode means that you can’t undo the crop.

10. When Shooting Landscapes Or Selfies, Press The Shutter With The Volume Button

Did you know that you can just open the camera app on your iPhone and press the volume button to take a photo? The same is true of some Android phones. On the Samsung Galaxy S4, you’ll need to go into Settings and set the volume key as the “camera key” instead of the “zoom key.” Using the volume key usually means a more stable shot, because you have a good grip on your phone.

11. Get Down Low For A More Interesting Foreground

? emoji in real life! edited with @litely #emojiIRL

A post shared by Cole Rise (@colerise) on

Phones typically have poor depth of field, so bring your lens to the ground to elevate your subject.

12. Be Invisible And Don’t Carry A Backpack

A tourist with tons of gadgets is a walking target for thieves. While traveling, Cole doesn’t wear flashy clothing, keeps his camera or phone close by, and leaves the backpack at home. Before taking a snap of a local merchant or a person on the street, always ask permission. You’ll also be surprised at how receptive people are to your smile.

13. Bad Weather = Great Time For A Snap

Don’t run away when it rains or hails. Nasty weather is actually a great condition for a nice photo. Gloomy and overcast days can also mean interesting cloud patterns in the sky. Don’t stay indoors if the weather isn’t stellar.

14. Be Ready To Capture Fleeting Moments

Make sure you’re aware of your phone’s camera shortcuts if you don’t want to miss amazing moments. Like this plane flying shockingly close overhead. For Samsung phones, you’ll find “Camera Quick Access” in Settings.

15. To Take ‘Next-Level’ Images, Go Further Than Anyone Else

The only way to find beautiful, epic places is to explore and drive away from the tourists. Cole often tells people: “Live a great life, and the photos will come.”