If the iPhone is your camera of choice, you’re hardly alone. More and more travelers, especially business travelers, are leaving big, bulky cameras at home and using their iPhones instead.
Why not? Small and compact and perfectly portable, an iPhone camera can more than get the job done. Not to mention, the improved cameras on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus mean there are more functions to help you get that perfect shot. The new iPhone cameras can focus more clearly and have improved face detection and exposure control. The iPhone 6 Plus camera has two significant improvements: improved focus and optical image stabilization (the iPhone 6 only has digital image stabilization).
The next time you hit the road for a business trip, don’t just fly in and out, only seeing the inside of a taxi cab and meeting room. Make time to explore and photograph. And before you do, here are 6 tips to help you take better photos with your iPhone:
1 Steady your camera
Getting a good nighttime shot is really difficult without a tripod. Just the slightest movement in your hand, which is virtually impossible to avoid, and your photo will be unfocused and ruined. I took this shot at the Hotel Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel. Let’s be honest: the key to snapping this photo was, first and foremost, the spectacular location and view from my room! But to capture the moody color of the sky and the twinkling lights adorning the Eiffel Tower, steadying the camera was essential. Fortunately, I was able to balance my iPhone on the ledge of my room’s balcony to steady the camera and get this shot. But Apple’s iSight camera offers continuous auto-focus and stabilization for both photos and videos so that your shot remains steady when your hands are shaky.
Related: 6 tips for better plane pics
2 Look for beauty everywhere
While going for a stroll in Connecticut, I walked right by this pretty vignette. I doubled back and looked at it again and it was just too quaint not to photograph. Remember that some of the best photos will happen when you least expect it. But always having your iPhone in your pocket means you’ll always be prepared to capture those moments.
3 Use photography apps
The iPhone camera has HDR capability and there’s photo editing software that can help tweak your photos when needed. But you can take iPhone photos one step further with photography apps like Pro HDR, which can help take an average photo from ho-hum to hot-diggity! The Pro HDR snaps two photos (one image exposed for the highlights, the other exposed for the shadows) and merges them together to create brilliant colour and clarity. This photo, taken at the Post Hotel in Lake Louise, Alberta, was the first I’d ever taken using the app. I was impressed.
4 Choose the right filter
Filters can certainly add an artistic look to your photos but choose wisely. You don’t want the filter to alter the mood of the moment so dramatically that it communicates something false. Choose a filter that enhances the photo but keeps its integrity. This photo of the Washington Monument, taken from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, does have a filter on it (the Chrome filter, found in the iPhone’s photo editing settings) but I chose something that I felt retained the feeling of that moment, standing under a bright blue sky on a very cold day.
5 Play with angles
Sometimes the best shot is not the one that’s right in front of you. I often find myself walking around, looking up and looking down, trying to find the spot that will yield the best photo. Here in northern Thailand at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, there was so much to see that I simply had to shoot from above to include as much as possible. It all depends on the story you want to tell with your photo – and in this case, the posh pool plus the lush landscape were a perfect pair.
6 Shoot in the early morning hours
With over 17 million posts using the hashtag #sunrise on Instagram, it’s clear that sunrises are popular. If you’re up early enough to snap that sunrise, then stay up and explore. The soft light of early morning is magical for photos and can provide a completely different look to the same scene shot in the afternoon or evening. Plus, with fewer people around in the wee morning hours, you’re more likely to capture your shot without interruption.
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