I admit I love sharing pictures when I’m on a trip, and I honestly can say I got pretty good at shooting. That might be the reason why the thing I’m asked the most every time I get back from a travel is “how did you manage to take those pictures?!”, followed by a great deal of compliments.
They’re really good pictures. But I’m not a photographer at all. I don’t even have a reflex camera so I’m guessing they won’t pass an exam of a professional eye. Still, the result I’ve learned to achieve is pretty awesome. And I want you to know what you could do with just a good smartphone and a couple of cheap tools.
Some of them I’m really proud of. I usually respond to that frequent question with a “it’s professional secret”, but I’m not that jealous so I thought it might be cool writing an article about how to do it and give you some suggestions.
Well, everything started when I got back to solo travels after a couple of years traveling with my ex. I got tired of asking people to shoot pictures of me in front of the landmarks around the world, and even more frustrated by the results. I got something good from time to time putting my smartphone on every place I could think of, and turning on the self-timer. But that was too laborious. Too much time wasted trying to get the smartphone balanced over a rock or something.
Then I came up with this idea, which isn’t revolutionary at all, yet I don’t see many people around equipped like me getting pictures like I do. So here’s what you’re gonna need.
1-A little tripod for smartphones (not a professional and big one, just a very small and possibly flexible one)
2-A bluetooth remote control for smartphone
The two tools are pretty cheap, I got the following on Amazon for a few euros.
Once you got these two essential tools, it’s all in your hand. You just need to find a good spot to place the tripod, possibly in front of a breathtaking landscape, and then it all begins. Begins what?! Well, it begins the part where you may or may not be mistaken for nuts if it happens that someone is seeing you. Because the trick is, you have to walk around or stand in front of the background you want to take the picture of, pretending you’re admiring the landscape, or just moving unaware, or whatever, while with your hand you keep on pushing the button of the remote control, taking something like 20 shots, very very randomly. Afterward, you’re going to check them all, and with your surprise you’re gonna find a couple or more of impressive shots, apparently taken by someone who was shooting pictures of you while you weren’t aware. You delete all the rest and you’re good to go for a new place to visit. Seriously, this is gonna blow your mind. I had friends of mine who thought I had someone following me to take those pictures.
So that’s the trick. As for other general advices, being the tripod very small I put it on the ground very often and I came to appreciate the angle that kind of shot can give you. Like the ones below.
Last but not least, the only two apps I use to improve my already good pictures. One of course is Instagram. Everybody knows it and it’s not too complicated to use its filters and little adjustments. The second one is Snapseed, an app I found sometime ago and find very interesting to use since it got a couple of filters I like you can’t find on Instagram.
This is pretty much it guys. So if you’re tired of the usual shots you come back from a travel with, I suggest you give my tricks a try and let me know how it goes. Specially if you travel alone, it might be very gratifying. As long as nobody mistakes you for nuts…But then again, if you got excelent results, who cares?!
Oh yeah, while you do this, keep an eye on your smartphone. I don’t want you to blame me if somebody passes and steals it while you’re looking somwhere else!