As you all know by now, I’m not only a blogger here at Spotahome, but also an influencer and Instagramer, and since  2012 I have been working very hard to improve my photography skills and define my unique style. I’m not sure if I found my ultimate way yet, but since I’ve been travelling non-stop for a year and a half, I want to share with you my top tips for mobile photography and editing when travelling around the world (of course they are also valid when you are at home!)

And if you don’t follow me already, please come over to my Instagram and say hi!

How to take good travel photos with your phone:

1. Research your locations

Good travel photography starts at home, where you should research the location that you’re going to visit. As you spend time reading guides and blogs, make sure to find about the local landmarks, national parks, interesting and peculiar architecture that would make good subjects and locations for your photos.

I often use Instagram to find instagrammable locations that I want to photograph and local accounts are often a great source of information and they are also the first people I meet on my trips. I’ve met so many incredible people thanks to Instagram and some of them have become amazing friends too!

In fact, it was thanks to Instagram that I found out about this incredible location in Samoa (see below): some insta peeps had been there and I had to go too, of course!

{ goodbye Pacific } today, on my 475th day of travel I start my slow journey home. #iamgrateful

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2.  Beat the Tourists

Well, not literally (even though some would actually deserve a couple of kicks in the a**), but make sure to get to places before or after they arrive. That often means I wake up at dawn, reach my location before it opens and be one of the very first there. You can see the result below. By the time I left, around 3pm there were about 25369506853 people in the water.

{ 3 6 5 days of me }

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4. Use the rule of third

This is probably the golden rule of photography and a very easy one to apply. Before taking a picture, divide it into thirds (you will eventually have 9 areas) and place your main object on the interception of two or more lines.

This trick will focus the attention of your viewer to the main object improving the overall composition and the feelingof the photo.

You can turn on this grid to your phone as well as to your camera which makes it much easier to divide the shot in thirds.

5. Clean that lens!

“How do your pictures come out this sharp?” I had this question asked SO many times…Well, of course, I try to be steady and super still when I shoot, but most of the times, the blurry fog you see on your shots is due to your lens being dirty. Seriously. Your phone is often in your hands, pocket or bag and it does collect dust and dirt all the time. Make sure to pass a napkin (or the corner of your t-shirt) every time you intend to take a pic.

How to edit your travel photos:

After you took a great shot, there are few tricks you can use to make it even better. Here my top tips!

6. Use Snapseed and VSCO

These two are my two go-to apps for mobile photography editing. I firstly process my shots on the first app for some light editing and then process them in VSCO where I’ve been using the same two filters (HB1 and HB2) for over two years. Using the same filter allows me to keep my gallery consistent in terms of tones and vibe.

7. Brighten shadows, tone down highlights & fix the contrast

Depending on where you are standing, the sun might be behind, in front or on your side. First of all, you must always be aware of where it is while shooting. During the editing phase, make sure to brighten the shadows to give details to the picture and turn down the highlights for better balance. You can either increase or decrease the contrast depending on the effect you want to give to your picture.

8. Say NO to fake blur or borders

Forget the borders – is there anyone still using them?
And don’t ever use the fake blur. This beautiful effect that is given using a wide aperture while using a DSLR camera can be reproduced in post production. But just don’t. I say it again: don’t. It just looks fake and artificial. Instead, go closer to your subject and use the real blurring given by your phone. The pic below of my mini-vespa was taken using my iPhone 6 in Sydney.

9. Crop

I personally never use the zoom on my phone since the quality drops down in a very dramatic way. But what I do is to crop my pictures to incorporate the scene or the story I want to tell while cutting out what isn’t relevant. In the picture below for example, there was a bunch of people walking in front of the couple which didn’t belong to the story I wanted to tell and so…they disappeared! ?

10. Remove the unwanted stuff

Yes, even if you don’t have Photoshop or Lightroom, you can still remove those annoying people, road signals, stuff that you don’t need in your shot. In the picture below for example, I removed a scooter using the “healing” function on Snapseed. Can you figure out where it was? ?

And you? What are your go-to apps for your travelling pictures? And what are your mobile photography top tips? Please let me know leaving a comment below!