7 Tips to Take Better Vacation Photos on Your Phone

Whether you are on vacation right now or have a trip planned in the future, your photos will help you to relive those magical memories and moments that you capture along the way. There is a saying that the best camera to use is the one you have with you. That is, you don’t need an all-singing, all-dancing camera kit to capture great memories.

For most of us, thanks to the huge advances in cellphone technology in recent years, the best camera we have with us is our smartphone. In this article, we’ll take a Use look at ways you can ensure a perfect shot every time and come home with some fabulous photos to share and look back on.

show a good photo

1. Know Your Camera Well, Really Well

Just picture the scene. You’re walking along minding your own business when suddenly out of nowhere, something amazing starts to unfold. Everybody around you whips out their smartphones and starts snapping away and recording video. You fumble with your phone, panicking that you’ll miss the shot. You search around for the camera icon and then realize you were messing with your icons a few days ago and now can’t find it. You eventually remember where it is, activate the camera, look up and oh…everybody is gone. The show’s over, folks!

Before you go on vacation, make sure you know exactly how to fire up your smartphone camera within seconds. Get to know every aspect of the photo settings, from manual mode and slow-motion to panorama and even food settings. Yes, some smartphones have a special setting that optimizes photos of food.

2. Let Your Pictures Tell a Story

Taking a photo of friends

Before you click that shutter button, really think about what story you want to tell with your photos. Whether you will be showing your photo prints to folks back at home or posting them to your Instagram, making your photos interesting can bring them to life. From catching the glint on the ocean to the drip of a melting gelato, the best vacation photos catapult your audience into the heart of the action. Get it just right and they will be able to almost smell the salt on the sea and taste that gelato.

3. Keep Things Natural

We live in a world where forced poses and polished pouts are everywhere. While this type of photo has its place, do you really want all of your vacation photos to look so practiced? Some of the best photos are those of people behaving naturally in the moment. These are the photos that capture real emotion and they are also perfect for capturing people who hate posing for the camera. If you are traveling with a group of people, take some sneaky photos of your friends and family when they are having fun, looking a little thoughtful or having a lively conversation. Tip: Use portrait mode on your smartphone to make your subjects stand out.

4. Stop and Capture the Scenery

taking a photo of boats

Whether you will be on the road for hours, hiking through rough terrain or lazing on a beautiful sun-drenched beach, there will be some moments where you have to stop and admire the view. But don’t just admire it with your eyes. Capture that memory forever on your smartphone. When you capture the scenery around you, try to frame the shot so that it contains a subject in the foreground. For example, if you are taking a photograph of the sparkling sea, look for a boat or another object that will add some depth and interest to your image. A stunning sunset framed with the silhouettes of swaying palm trees can also look so much better than just a simple sunset and horizon shot.

5. Use the Grid System

Did you know that most smartphones come with a foolproof way to get a great shot? Have you ever heard of the rule of thirds? This is where you use a 3×3 grid to capture some of the most focal points when taking a photo. The good news is that most smartphones are equipped with this feature in the camera settings. Aim to place the most focal point of your subject in one of the intersections of the lines. This can help to create a sense of movement. Play around with taking grid shots and try to get out of the habit of placing your subject in the center. This isn’t always the best way to take a photo.

example of using the grid

6. Adjust Your Light Settings to Suit the Moment

If you want professional photographers, you will see them fiddling around with light meters, adjusting portable shades or asking their subject to stand under lights. When you are on vacation, you obviously won’t want to be hulking around a case of professional gear with you. The good news is that your smartphone comes equipped with lots of adjustable settings that will have you snapping like a pro in no time.

Along with the composition of your images, light is very important in capturing the right shot. Overexposed photos or those that are so dim you can’t make out what is happening, are common. Before you take a photo on your smartphone, adjust your contrast and saturation settings to suit the environment, lighting and the specific moment. Take some shots in black and white so that you can learn a little more about how your camera picks up different contrasts.

showing the image of no flash and what it looks like

7. Turn Off the Automatic Flash (You Rarely Need It)

If you watch people taking photos of a concert on their smartphones, you will see lots of flashing as their phone’s automatic flash is engaged. But unless they are standing right next to the band or singer, all the flash will do is illuminate the immediate area around the smartphone or even worst the head of the person in front. The flash can also wash out your photos. Only use your flash if it is going to improve the lighting of your subject.

Final Thoughts

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to get some great shots on vacation. With a little practice and some experimentation with settings, filters and specialist apps, you can create some impressive vacation photographs that will ensure the fabulous times you have on your trip stay with you for many years to come.

If you have a road trip planned, or your vacation will involve some driving, consider a membership with National Motor Club (NMC). NMC provides around-the-clock emergency roadside service 365 days a year and a high-touch, personalized service suited to your individual needs. There are membership levels to fit every budget and many provide benefits that are so good you need to see for yourself!

Thanks for your kind words!

“Your service has always been excellent. The drivers are courteous and I have always relied on you for the last 10 + years.” -Deborah F.

“I am happy to be member of NMC! I go out of my house relaxed, knowing that in case of an emergency, I am not alone. NMC supports me and my family whenever I need them, thank you” -Manuel A

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