If you follow anybody on Instagram who travels regularly and is always posting amazing shots of beaches, landscapes, or city streets, you may find yourself wondering how they capture those moments and make them look so beautiful. We aren’t all professional photographers, but with the following tips from seasoned travel Instagrammers, you can start posting photos that will hold their own—even using just a smartphone.
Take Photos Horizontally
To capture as wide of a view of the scene as possible, turn your phone sideways and take the shot horizontally. When uploading the image to Instagram, you can either crop it in the square mode to include the best part of the picture, or you can use a white frame. To get the best shot, try to be creative with the angle you take the picture from.
Some free photo editing apps like Snapseed or PS Express can rival more expensive software when it comes to editing and tweaking photos. Try using the HDR filter on Snapseed. HDR (High Dynamic Range) adds the effect of multiple exposures and can bring out amazing detail in your shots. These photo apps can add other fun effects like blur or vignette settings to create a different focal point.
Use a Selfie Stick
If you want to be in the photos that you take while traveling, a selfie stick can give you more creative angles than if you take a traditional selfie. Try getting a shot of you or your group off to the side with scenery like an outdoor trail or lit up city street in the background. Even if you decide not to be in the shot, a selfie stick can help you get a more creative view of a shot.
Pay Attention to Lighting
To get a softer light with a more mysterious mood, shoot your photos either during sunrise or sunset. Take note of where the sun or the moon is when you’re shooting, and take advantage of them to frame your subject or add symmetry to the shot.
Experiment with Filters
Filters, both from a photo editing app on your phone, or the filters available on Instagram, can make an otherwise average photo look stunning. Filters enhance features and take away from others, depending on which you use. The most commonly used Instagram filters are Clarendon, which makes bright areas brighter and intensifies colors, and Juno, which brings out red and yellow hues and creates more depth. Both filters are great for shots of landscapes or water, and really bring out the small details.
Take Multiple Shots
A lot of photos taken while traveling are taken spur of the moment, with a smartphone. Something unexpected may happen that you don’t want to miss. Whenever possible, take as many shots as possible during those spontaneous photo-ops—try shooting from different angles, focus on different details, or horizontally versus vertically. After things settle down, you can go through and pick out your best shots, and delete the others.