Ditch your DSLR Next Vacation

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: you don’t need a ton of expensive, heavy camera equipment to showcase your vacation. Ditch your DSLR, it’s quickly becoming a thing of the past. All you need is an incredible view, your smartphone and a little understanding of how the features on your mobile phone’s camera work.

The technology in your smartphone is advanced, especially when it comes to the camera. Some of the newest phones on the market include built-in artificial intelligence that knows when to defocus the background of a shot in portrait mode, improved high dynamic range (HDR+) to capture more details in shadows and optical image stabilization, which counters a shaky camera in dim light, delivering a clear, crisp shot.

Many phones also offer computational photography to overcome their small hardware, providing better sharpness, less noise and richer colors and textures in each photo. With different effects preloaded into your phone, you can be really artsy with your shots without worrying about things like shutter speed and lighting. Just compose your shot, point and shoot.

Here’s our top tips for taking Instagram-worthy vacation pictures with your phone:

1. Utilize Portrait Mode

Almost all phone cameras come equipped with a “Portrait Mode” option. When activated, this feature creates a shallow depth of field that mimics a professional’s telescopic lens, allowing you to choose from different lighting settings to snag your perfect picture. When done effectively, the result is beautiful, quality portrait shots. Just make sure your subject is well-separated from the background (about eight feet from it), your background is free from clutter or distractions and there’s plenty of light available.

2. Make Selfies Count

A few good selfies are critical for your stock of vacation photos. To look the best in any selfie, hold your camera just above eye level and angle it down a tiny bit. Again, make sure you’re in a well-lit area. Experiment with different angles and backdrops to get the best effect from the lighting and depth modes on your front camera.

3. Explore HDR Settings

Don’t worry when the sun begins setting on the horizon – you don’t have to stop taking quality vacation photos with today’s phone cameras. HDR and low-lighting settings allow you to capture striking, low-noise, high-quality photos. Additionally, if you want to capture a quality motion photo, lighting matters. With these same features, you can capture crisp photos of a high-speed object without sacrificing quality. In these cases, consider employing the burst feature on your phone by holding down the shutter button – this allows you to take a quick succession of photos before the moment passes. You should explore these features and their capabilities before embarking on your vacation.

4. Special Features and Filters are Key

If you want to really make colors and textures pop in your photos, take advantage of built-in filters and third-party editing tools. Also, explore special features in your phone’s camera like 360-degree and panorama shots to make your vacation come to life for years to come.

5. It’s in the Details

To curate the perfect scrapbook of stellar vacation photos, don’t forget to focus on the little details that make every place so special and unique. Landscape shots are breathtaking, but a shot of street art or foods unique to that area give your scrapbook an up-close and personal feel. Use portrait mode to capture visually interesting shots of these small details!

6. Make Space

Free up plenty of space for photos on your phone prior to embarking on your getaway. Be prepared to take a ton of photos without fear of running out of storage space and missing the perfect shot. There are many backup services available, in addition to purchasing memory cards for that extra storage space.

Before you head off on your exotic adventure, play around with your phone camera, see how the features work and what it is truly capable of doing. Free up space and you’ll be prepared to take plenty of Insta-worthy photos to share with friends and family, while having the time of your life.

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