As a travel blogger, pictures are super important. Pictures are what draw my audience and what makes them think “Wow, I want to go there too” whenever I post about a new destination. But how do you get that “WOW” factor? Especially when you’re by yourself?
Most people will start off by telling you some fancy camera name that probably costs 10X more than what’s in your bank account. Realistically, I don’t have $3,000+ to spend on a camera, therefore, I’m not going to sit here and tell you the same. I’m going to give you a complete list of everything I use and how I use it (spoiler alert: I only use 3 things!)
The first thing I use is the most important: My phone.
WHAT??? I use my phone for photos??? Heck yeah I do. I did an upgrade to an iPhone 8+ just for the camera quality. The double camera on my phone takes amazing pictures and keeps me from needing to carry around some bulky camera with huge lenses. The only reason I would suggest getting an actual Nikon or Cannon is if you want to do photography that includes extreme zoom-in detail OR sky type photography (such as taking pictures of the stars, etc.). So far, everything else has been ay-okay when it comes to my iPhone 8+.
Here’s a recent photo that was taken with my iPhone of me and some new friends in Houston. This picture has no edits to it! Doesn’t the skyline look amazing? And don’t we look like the coolest people there?
Heck, there are even better quality phones out there that I’ve seen. I just can’t get myself to get away from the iPhone (I’m brainwashed guys!! Help!).
The second most important thing I use: A tripod with a Bluetooth Remote.
A tripod has seriously been a blessing when it comes to improving my photography. I love having myself in the pictures as a kind of “look I was here” type of feeling when you come back from a trip. BUUUTTTTT the only problem is that I have such high expectations when it comes to me being in the picture.
I’ve always been told to ask strangers to take my pictures, but (even as much as I love people) sometimes they suck at taking pictures. I’m over here trying to get a shot for the cover of some fancy travel magazine while my photographer thinks I’m just wanting a picture to put on a post card to send my mom. It’s a real struggle.
It has three different type of leg extensions that allow it to extend to different heights such as 21.5″, 30″, 39″, 50″, and pretty much any height in between. You can even make a couple legs longer/shorter than the other to help get a shot directed more upward or downward. It automatically came with an accessory that screws on to the tripod to hold my iPhone. This accessory stretches so that it can hold any size smartphone, while still keeping it secure on the tripod so it doesn’t fall.
The tripod also allows the accessory to swing back and forth so you can get a vertical or horizontal shot with your phone (shown in the two pictures above). Along with this, you can also tilt the accessory up or down to get a better shot of something up high or below (use this along with adjusting the legs of the tripod to get an awesome ant’s view).
Lastly, and also the coolest part, is that it comes with a bluetooth remote! The remote has an on and off button that allows it to be found with a near device. Just find the device, pair, and then press the button! There’s two buttons: one for an Android and one for an iPhone. This remote can be used up to 30 feet away.
Tip: You must make sure the remote is pointing toward the camera or it won’t work!
If the remote isn’t for you, just use the timer on your phone while setting it on your tripod! Either way, the photos typically turn out amazing!
Here’s some cool pictures from a recent trip that I took using a mix between my tripod, the bluetooth remote and my 10 second timer on my phone:
Last thing I use: SnapSeed
I made a new friend here in Texas that has her own photography business so of course she was a go-to person for asking tips about how to improve my travel pictures. She said her favorite FREE editing app is SnapSeed. I had never heard of it before, so I downloaded it and then finally tried it a couple weeks later.
NOW I’M HOOKED.
The app literally does everything I need it to do and more. I swear I still find little perks in the app that help my pictures out. I typically use it for improving lighting and brightening my photo’s colors. It works wonders!
Here’s an example of a picture I edited on the app (and it only took me like… 5 minutes!):
The colors are much more vibrant and you can actually see me in the second picture!! Can you believe this was all done on a phone app in just a couple minutes?! It’s crazy. Which is EXACTLY why it’s my favorite. Good luck trying to convince me there’s something better!
Now that you know all my tips and tricks to getting cool travel photos, it’s time to go and buy the plane ticket so you can start taking pictures of all your favorite destinations!
Do you have any extra tips to add? Feel free to drop them in the comments below!