Tag Archives: camera

Tips for landscape photography on a smartphone

2015-09-12

Camera technology on modern smartphones is, in fact, amazingly good. Wisely, smartphone manufacturers are not anymore competing for the number of megapixels the camera can capture, but they are competing for the quality of images. Selfies maybe the most common type of photo captured on a smartphone, but many photographers – even professionals – use their phones for landscape photography as well. Here are tips for snapping beautiful sceneries on a smartphone.

Scenery near Narvik, Norway

A scenery in Lapland, Norway.

The following eight tips were shared by David Hayes on Enlight App blog.
1. Go old school. Study great photos and paintings created by masters.
2. Give your landscape a focal point. Something that leads the viewer into the world the image portrays.
3. Pay attention to the foreground of the frame. An object in the foreground gets attention.
4. Leading lines. A line – a road, path or similar – is a proven technique to implement the tip 2 or 3.
5. What is in your horizon? Decide if the sky has a dominant role in your picture or the earth, and follow the rule of thirds.
#6: Watch your light. Shadows create contrast and sometimes, drama. An hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset have magical light.
7. Capture movement. This is difficult in a still image, but an experienced photographer can capture movement.
8. Perspective. Find new angles for your landscape images.

smartphone holder on a tripod
Two additional tips that we have found useful:
1. Get a phone holder that you can attach to a tripod. It lets you take selfies with the timer on your phone camera and if you shoot video, you get better quality video clips.
2. In some places, the landscape should be captured as a panorama image. Check the features of your camera if it allows taking panorama photos. If it doesn’t, the panorama image can be created afterwards, but it tends to be tedious work.

saariselka kaunispaa, Lapland, panorama

Mountain scenery in Lapland captured on a smartphone as a 180 degree panorama.

Check out tips from a professional photographer for landscape photography on a smartphone.

Don’t forget to shoot video. Here is an example how a smartphone video camera captured exactly the right moment when the sun was setting over the sea. The only camera that was around at the moment happened to be a phone, and it did a great job.

Books that feature landscape photography are, for instance, a travel guide to Provence and a guide to Sweden.

Ten Tips for Fabulous Travel Photography

2015-02-23

Before You Travel

1. Consider Your Camera Strategy

Do you invest your money and learning effort in one camera kit, or do you have two, three or even four cameras around that you use in different situations. Both strategies have their advantages. If you want to become a photographer who may sell photos and perhaps exhibit them, only the best gear will do. If you shoot for your own blog, for an upcoming travel book, or for an article you have sold, having multiple cameras (less expensive) can be more flexible approach. My own experience is that it is vital to have a camera always with you, even when you pop in to a shop near the hotel. A compact camera or a smartphone fits into a pocket, but ofcourse, when you plan a shooting trip to the mountains you can pack the whole camera kit with a tripod into a backpack.
camera lens on keyboard

2. Learn the Manual Controls on Your Camera

Learn to adjust shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings on your camera. A good camera lets you capture fine shots in auto mode as well, but sooner or later you will need to know about manual settings. The first time you try to frame something in low light will be a reminder for you to learn the manual settings.

3. View Your Practice Session Photos on a PC and Tablet

Take time and examine the photos you have taken during a practice session. The LCD display on the camera doesn’t tell you the truth, but you have to view the photos on a PC monitor or on a tablet. Is there too much light in the frame, or is it too dark? What about composition? Focus? Didn’t get that blurry background? Tip: when you practice, take several photos of the same subject, but with different settings. This is the fastest way to learn.

photos from book The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera
Photos from the travel guidebook The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera

On the Road

4. Take Time to Compose

You know the golden section rule, right? The frame is divided into nine sections of equal size, and the corners of the central section guide the position of the main subject. Mistakes in composition are difficult or impossible to correct in post processing, so take your time. Try with the zoom and without the zoom. The most annoying problem: the top of the tower of an ancient castle didn’t fit into the frame and now you are already back home. Take your time at the destination.

5. Try New Angles

Stop, think, and be creative. Move around to get a fresh angle to the subject. High or low angle? Can you find something in front of the subject that doesn’t block the view, but gives it depth?

6. After the Sunset

After the sunset pictures have been taken, it is time to shoot night sceneries. Now, you will need your best camera that comes with manual controls – an automatic compact camera or a smartphone won’t do. Set a slow shutter speed and start shooting with the camera on a tripod or on another stand.

7. People Love to Watch Photos of Other People

Photographing people is perhaps the most difficult skill to master in photography, but travel photographers can trust their instincts and the power of moment. If you keep your eyes open, and camera at hand, anything is possible. For a instance, people shopping at a market, working at a café, or walking a dog. If you intend to take a portrait of a person, you should ask permission. In some cultures, it is not advisable to photograph people at all before you know them and can be sure it is alright.

8. Get Up Early

Morning and evening light provides more contrast for images than photos taken in midday. You may also catch colors that are not visible in the midday sun. Depending on where you are traveling, but if it is autumn or winter, you may witness morning dew or evening fog that can look spectacular in photos.

After the Trip

9. Sort the Day’s Catch

If you take a lot of photos, you should browse the day’s catch every day so that you don’t have hundreds of photos waiting to be sorted when you get home. Examining the photos is also a safety measure: if you are supposed to photograph Paris, but missed Eiffel tower’s top floors, you have to return there the next day. Tip: I throw away hopeless images and name the photos that I save while browsing them.

10. Backup Your Photos

Every day, copy all new photos from memory cards to your PC or any other device where you store your pictures. Then, make a backup copy of the copied photos. For this, you need a backup hard disk, like an external USB drive, or a cloud service, like Dropbox or Hubic.

An inspiration and a source for few tips was Andrew Hoyle’s article on Cnet.

Helsinki, Finland a view from sea
Photo from travel guidebook I, Helsinki.