(Photo Source: Flickr Sadie Hernandez)
While Instagram has made every traveler feel like a professional photographer, the truth is simply slapping a filter on a photo doesn't make it good. Do you want to take photos that really move people? These tools - especially when combined with a great eye for composition - can help improve your travel photography and your social media game
Detachable camera lenses
While each new smartphone update brings an even higher resolution camera, you can maximize the abilities of your mobile by investing in a high-quality lens that detaches from your camera. Just like with a DSLR there are different types, from fisheye to macro to telephone to wide angle and beyond. Using these lenses helps travel photographers capture sharper images with less distortion and allow for more flexibility in terms of depth of field and focus. There are huge leaps in quality and functions depending on your budget; however, a few brands to check out include Photojojo ($20 for one lens - $115 for six lenses and a case), Moment (~$99.99 per lens) and the Sony DSC-QX100 (from $299.93 used), essentially SLR lenses you attach to your phone that can be controlled via smartphone even when not attached.
For some, carrying a giant tripod just isn't an option when traveling. Luckily, Joby's light and portable GorillaPod does the trick. Having a stable camera is essential for capturing crisp images, especially when shooting in low light and evening situations. The GorillaPod comes in a number of styles to suit point-and-shoots, smartphones, action cameras like GoPros, and even DSLRs up to 6.6 pounds.
I love taking selfies just as much as the next Instagram-obsessed traveler; however, I rarely use a selfie stick. Instead, I opt for an intervelometer. This lightweight tool - which runs about $15-$25 - is basically a remote control you plug into your camera. You can set it to take as many photos as you want for as long as you want with as many seconds in between as you want, meaning you can have a little photo shoot without needing help from another person. I like to pair this gadget with the above-mentioned GorillaPod, but you can also make use of whatever props and ledges you have available.
645 Pro MK III App (iOS; $3.99)
If you don't feel like carrying a lens that transforms your smartphone into a DSLR, there's an app for that. This handy albeit technical tool allows photographers to control white balance (including custom), focus and exposure; shoot in aperture and shutter speed priority modes; make use of spot and matrix metering; analyze histogram information; manually focus; and post process in a touch-screen fashion.
ProCapture App (Android; $3.99)
For an Android equivalent, the ProCapture App also makes your mobile feel more like a DSLR camera than a phone. Some highlights: a noise reduction mode (reduces by about 30%), histogram data, the chance to take wide angle and panorama shots, white balance manipulation, burst and timer modes, exposure control, the ability to adjust image quality up to 8 megapixels, and the option to lock in focus to recompose shots - to name a few features. For the advanced control over your images this is well worth the $3.99.
TouchRetouch (iOS & Android; $1.99)
Do you ever take what you believe to be an epic shot, only to realize later there's a random telephone pole or flyer disrupting the otherwise perfect scene? That's where TouchRetouch comes in. With the simple touch of your finger you can erase noise and unwanted objects in pictures, with the natural background being brought back. It's surprisingly precise and crisp, with no awkward smudging.
What are your favorite tools for better travel photography?
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