Taking great travel photos with your iPhone


The iPhone is not a replacement for a DSLR but for most of us, it’s the camera we have almost all the time. It’s light, convenient and capable of taking great travel photos. Travis Marshall at Away.com has listed several great tips for getting great travel photos with an iPhone.

He spoke with Kirsten Alana, a professional travel blogger and photographer whose work has appeared on Gadling among other places. Her best advice: look for good light and get close:

“The most obvious differences between iPhone and DSLR cameras are the lack of capability in low light, the lack of actual (not digital) zoom, and the file size difference.”

Alana suggests iPhoneographers look for good lighting and “zoom with their feet” but getting nice and close to their subjects.

Lisa Bettany, pro photographer, author and co-founder of the Camera+ iPhone app, suggests changing your perspective and looking for an interesting composition:

“I also find that getting low to the ground and pointing the camera upward, or taking pictures through fences or leaves helps me get interesting photos.”

If you have one you’d like to share, let me know at [comments at 52tiger dot net]. I’d love to feature it.

Smartphone as camera

Last week I spent 11 hours in a huge, crowded theme park. I saw rides, sweaty children, overpriced commemorative plastic cups and lots of people taking photographs. There was the occasional weirdo with a DSLR (who can navigate an amusement park with one of those monstrosities?), but most people were point-and-shoot photographers. And most of them were using phones.

As the camera optics in smartphones improve, I don’t know how camera manufacturers are going to keep up. I bought a Canon PowerShot about a year ago and rarely touch it. Why should I? My iPhone 4S is always with me. It’s got 8-megapixel resolution and a flash. It’s small, light and has decent storage. Plus, the iPhone lets me immediately edit and share photos in a huge number of ways. The Canon makes me wait until I’m home. Even then, I must connect to a computer, upload the photos, get them into an app and then work with them.

My own observations suggest that people use phones to take casual photographs more often than point-and-shoot cameras. That’s anecdotal, of course, so let’s look at some empirical data.

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Confessions of a spring training photographer

Brad Mangin, veteran photographer who has shot Major League Baseball’s spring training for over 20 years:

“My favorite piece of new technology that I’ve brought down here this year is my new iPhone 4S. I finally joined the rest of the world with a cool smartphone and it has become one of my favorite cameras. Using Instagram, I’ve had a blast taking pictures and sharing them with friends each day as I head out to a different ballpark. Looking back at how things were in 1991 when I shot film and spent 30 minutes transmitting one color image, it is amazing that now I can take a picture with my phone and have the image published all over the world in a matter of seconds.”


Instagram Lux, Camera Plus Clarity and Camera HDR

Last week Instagram released version 2.1 of its popular photography app for the iPhone. The marquee feature is Lux, which fixes underexposed or low-contrast photos with a tap. Professional photographers know how to handle sharp shadows and other tricky lighting scenarios, but the rest of us need help, especially when using a point-and-shoot camera like the iPhone. That’s what Instagram hopes to provide with Lux.

Of course, other developers offer similar functionality. Camera+ from Tap Tap Tap features Clarity. Apple’s own app, Camera, features HDR mode. How do they compare? I shot several photos to find out. Here’s a comparison of Instagram Lux, Camera + Clarity and Camera HDR.

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