I just returned from a 5-day solo road trip out to West Texas last week, and although I took my DSLR along for the ride, I ended up taking all of my photos exclusively with my iPhone. West Texas is home to gorgeous sunsets, desert and mountain views, and it’s a treasure trove of photo opportunities. My trip included stays in Marfa and Alpine, and hiking through the Davis mountains, and stops at the McDonald Observatory, the Pecos River, and Amistad National Recreational Area––all with incredible views that photo-lovers like me adore. Travel photography can pose challenges like getting yourself in the shot, making the most of lighting situations, finding the best spots for photos, and keeping your phone charged, to name a few. To help you make the most of your next trip, here are my top tips to show you how to take great travel photos with your phone.
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Use a Car Charger
The number one problem you’re likely to run into with taking photos with your phone on a road trip is running out of battery life. I tend to use my phone for navigation and my music, and that can really suck the life out of my battery. To avoid that, I have a little adaptor I plug into my car and keep my phone charged up.
Bring a Tripod & Phone Adaptor
If you’re traveling solo and want to get yourself (or you and your travel partner) in any photos, then a tripod is a must. I got my favorite travel tripod on Amazon, and it’s super light and breaks down into a handy travel bag. I also attach an adaptor to my tripod to easily fit my phone on it (I use a regular camera tripod for the times I do bust out my DSLR). The adaptor is good for any smartphone, not just iPhones.
Turn on HDR for Difficult Lighting
I’ve talked before about using the HDR setting when taking photos with a big contrast between the brightest and darkest part of your photo. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and gives you the best of both ranges of light for your photo. Much of my travel photography (especially in West Texas) tends to include bright skies and beautiful outdoor lighting, and HDR helps keep my photos from looking too blown out. You can learn more about the HDR photo setting and how to use it in my video below:
Try a Golden Hour App
When you’re traveling away from home, it can be easy to lose sense of when sunset and sunrise occur. Downloading a golden hour app will tell you when the best hour for that magic lighting that comes with the rising and setting sun is most likely to occur in your travel location. I have yet to play with using these apps, but I found myself scrambling up the mountains the last morning I was in Alpine to get the prefect morning lighting. A golden hour app would definitely help me plan better for next time.
Check Out What Others are Posting on Instagram
If you’re traveling someplace new, one thing I often do is search for that location on Instagram to checkout what others are taking photos of out there. This is a great hack for not only planning your trip, but also for looking for photo opps––or avoiding overly saturated photo opps if that’s more your thing. It can also help you decide how you might want to compose photos in certain locations, or observe the best lighting at different times of day.
Use the Roadtrippers App to Find Interesting Sites to See
I planned my Colorado car camping trip with my kids last summer almost exclusively using the free Roadtrippers app. It let’s you great a map with your beginning and end destination and search for everything in between––from restaurants to parks, to random points of interest––it’s a great additional resource for finding photo-worthy locales.
Are you traveling anywhere soon? I’d love to see your photos and hear what other travel photography tips you use! Keep an eye out for more of my own travel photos over on Instagram!