Smartphone Travel Photography: 5 Powerful Tips for Taking Better Photos

Taking a travel photography with a smartphone – Smartphone Travel Photography Powerful Tips for Taking Better Photos

Find out why using your phone camera for travel photos is a good idea and all the smartphone travel photography tips to excel at it. Practical advice on how to get ready for such an experience and how you can benefit from taking travel photographs and videos with your phone.

Going on a weekend trip or planning a week-long journey abroad, there are a lot of things you need to think of. But, you know, the main thing you should take along is a good camera.


Well, because nice photos and movies are the best way to keep your memories and emotions for years. 

However, taking a bulky SLR camera, lenses, and all the other stuff for taking cool pictures might not be the best idea for a traveler like you unless you are a professional travel photographer or someone who does not matter to carry a lot of stuff around.

Just take a moment to imagine yourself hiking somewhere in the jungles with several pounds of photo equipment with you. Or walking through the busy streets of some Asian megalopolis, exploring South America, enjoying a summer music festival, or wandering around the Italian coast cliffs.


Not the best experience to say the least.

What should you do then?

The answer is as simple as it could be – use your phone.

The latest models of smartphones have excellent quality cameras with lots of tools and features to make your vacation photos look awesome. Plus, there was never a better time to find quality equipment and add-ons to complete your kit at rates that won’t break the bank.

Why Using Your Phone Camera Is a Good Idea?

Travel photography and videography is a special kind of art, which aims both to depict gorgeous, unique, and distinctive locations and transmit the spirit of the places where the photographer or filmmaker was lucky to get. Your phone camera can manage either of these tasks. 

The advantages of taking travel pics with a phone camera are many, here are some of them:

  • Your phone is always with you, so it’s impossible to forget to take a camera with you;
  • It is much lighter than any high-end camera, which is convenient for long walks;
  • It takes seconds to turn on the camera on your phone;
  • There’s no need to mess with settings, which can take quite some time;
  • You can upload the photos to social media or cloud-based storage right after they are taken.

By the way, photos made on your phone camera can be edited without the need to transfer them to the PC or laptop, which is also great because you can do this during the trip. Free online photo editing tools like PicMonkey or Pixlr can do the trick there.

We’ve gathered some useful tips for a travel photographer with a phone camera to get the best shots ever. You can also look up some pieces of advice in Movavi Blog and other websites for people engaged in photography and videography.

Because if you think your phone can only take pictures, you need to check this awesome iPhone cinematic video in 4K of New York City right now:

1. Do Some Research before Travel

In travel photography and filmmaking, location matters a lot, if not everything. When visiting a new city or country, discovering locations for pictures beforehand usually pays off.

Travel guides and blogs such as Farfelue or TravelerFolio can be useful in this regard, but you shouldn’t rely much on them as they usually tell about the most touristy spots, already known and crowded.

The other endless source of inspiration and unique locations is social media, especially visual networks such as Pinterest and Instagram. Surf for bloggers and influencers based in your upcoming destination to check which places they chose to capture. Alternatively, you can also get in touch with them. Some – if not all – of them will answer you back with suggestions.

Remember to find out if there will be any events or festivals taking place when you are visiting. They can diversify your photos and clips bringing out the uniqueness of the location you travel to.

Last but not least, do find out about the etiquette and culture beforehand. You might or might not be allowed to take photos where you are headed and it’s your responsibility to know this to respect the locals and their land.

Prepare your smartphone for the trip

When using only your phone camera for travel photography and videography, the number one task is to prepare your phone, and thus the camera, for long hours of work and hundreds of new photos to store.

That said, avoid running out of battery by purchasing an external battery charger.

Another thing that can spoil your phone photography experience is a lack of storage space. This issue should be taken care of while you are still home. All you have to do is to transfer the old files to your PC, Mac, or hard drive to free enough space for new memories.

A gimbal that turns your smartphone into a professional filmmaking kit such as the Zhiyun Smooth Q3 is also a must these days. This smart stabilizer is perfect for shooting in low-light conditions, from festival evenings to urbanscapes as its three levels of brightness adjustment and touch button control for 180°front and rear lighting won’t disappoint amateur and pro filmmakers.

On the other hand, landscape fanatics will particularly enjoy its ultrawide shooting mode. And it also has up to seventeen different SmartMode built-in templates to spice up videos with customized templates, music, special effects, and filters. Producing cinematic travel videos with just a smartphone was never easier.

And the final – though seemingly elementary – thing to do is keeping your phone camera lens as clean as possible. This will save you from blurry photos and disappointment down the line. You’ve been warned!

Show the entire way to your destination

One of the most exhausting though exciting parts of any journey is the trip itself. Whether you are flying, driving, or getting a train ride, you should take pictures along. An airport or a railway station can become a beautiful background for your travel photos. Just imagine all those planes, trains, and people with their sincere emotions of happiness, sadness, joy, and excitement captured on your smartphone camera.

Where else can you find that?

Adding such photos and videos to your travel photobook, you’ll bring more soul to it.

Except for picturing the places of your departure and arrival, there are also lots of scenery to picture behind your train or car window. Don’t lose a chance to show them from a new perspective.

The unusual architecture, lighting, and atmosphere of such places can work great in the photos made with your smartphone camera

Explore new angles, viewpoints, and compositions

A phone camera also gives endless opportunities for searching fresh angles and viewpoints to show the places we all know from a different and usually unexpected point of view. Experiment with low angle and top view shots, reflections, light flares, aperture, and whatnot. There’s so much room for creativity these days!

Have you ever tried taking portrait photos on your phone camera? Whatever the answer, it’s always a great idea. People’s faces can say a lot about the culture, traditions, lifestyle, and emotions of the country you are visiting.

Remember: Asking for permission first and being kind always go a long way!

One of the main benefits of portrait photography and videography with a smartphone is being able to capture real emotions without coming across as intrusive or intimidating. Something that frequently happens with DLSR photography.

There’s no better way to give the feeling of the depth and atmosphere surrounding you in the photo or clip than to picture a person in it.

On the other hand, remember to take a few images of yourself. Ask your trip companion to help you with that or, if you don’t have one, do it yourself. As we’ve seen, a smartphone gimbal or tripod won’t take much space in your backpack and will give you the possibility to create unforgettable memories. 

Stress the details

When traveling, we do not always pay attention to the details surrounding us. However, things like patterns, colors, architectural elements, and textures can give a much deeper understanding of the culture and the overall atmosphere of the country.

Don’t know where to find them?

It’s quite simple and everyone can do it by simply changing the perception of the environment you are in. Just look around the street you are walking along, and you are sure to find some details that are not common for other countries. These may be small statues on the corners of the houses or colorful patterns of the tiles.

When taking pictures and videos at the beach, try to catch the life of small creatures (crabs, shells) with your phone camera. Or you can go to the local market in search of exotic textures and colors.

The only recommendation here is to be very careful with zooming in as this won’t usually do any good for your photos and videos’ quality unless you are dealing with state-of-the-art smartphone cameras and equipment.

Smartphone Travel Photography Tips: Wrapping up

Although taking travel photos and clips with your phone camera might seem risky at first, when you get into the detail of how it works, the benefits of such a choice become clear. It doesn’t matter whether you are traveling around the world or exploring domestic tourism, whether you are flying on a plane or driving to your destination, you are sure to get excellent photos, movies, and lifelong memories.

Keep reading:

Believe it or not, after you try taking travel photos and videos with your smartphone camera once, you will hardly want to get back to using traditional and bulky photo equipment. Enjoy your trip!