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After months of planning, going back and forth on researching, budgeting, and packing, your family holiday is finally here! It’s the perfect time for everyone in the family to unwind and think about making happy memories only. So it’s only normal to feel the need to capture every memory with your smartphones! To create an album full of good photos and visual stories of your holiday time, here are 9 smartphone photography hacks you can try, perfect for both beginners and expert mum photographers!
1. Research your location weeks before your trip
You want to capture the best photos during your holiday, and the best way to do this is to research and plan your photo sessions ahead!
You’ll want to avoid the tourist traps too. Researching ahead can help you discover some undiscovered spots you can visit and do some photo sessions with the family.
And if you’re planning to have scrapbooks or photo books of your family vacation memories, it’s best to plan how you want your photos to turn out.
Google and Instagram are your greatest friends here. You can enter your destination’s address on Google Maps, enable the Street View, and inspect the map for best places to visit and take photos of.
Sample of Google Map’s Street View for your research
Don’t forget to keep tabs of these spots in your notebook or phone so you can have a handy reference during the trip.
You can check out photos taken by other tourists in your chosen destination on Instagram, see which angles could work to give the vibe you’re aiming for, and which spots are perfect for your family shots.
Lastly, you may want to consider taking a couple of photography backdrops with you as a fallback.
2. Use self-timer to your advantage
If you want to be in the shot, but has no one around to take the photos for you, self-timer could come in handy. Just place your phone in your selfie stick or a mini tripod, click the camera button, and get your best smile out as the camera counts down!
3. Get the sun in the backdrop
Make some colors pop in your shot by positioning your subject -kids, husband, yourself, the whole family – behind the sun, especially when the sun is shining high in the sky.
Taking photos directly into the sun can overpower the details in your photos, making them almost invisible in the shot. The sun also casts unwanted shadows on your subject. That’s why placing the sun behind is important.
If you take photos of your family while posing on the beach with the sun behind them, your family gets a natural, sunkissed glow too!
4. Experiment with your white balance
Looking to achieve that warm tone for a family snap in a historic landmark or a cool tone for a photo of your kids in this aquarium park you’ll be visiting? Play around with the white balance of your phone’s camera. You can see this setting on your camera’s manual mode.
You don’t need advanced photography skills to play around with white balance. Just take the slider to the left if you want a cooler tone, and to the right if you want a warmer tone.
5. Go into burst mode!
It’s a rare chance that kids keep still and be on their best selves for the photos, so take as many photos as you can!
To do this, you can go into burst mode with your phone’s camera. Simply hold the shutter button while holding your shot in place, and afterward, your camera app will let you select the best from these photos.
Burst mode is also great when taking jump shots!
6. Take photos in the early morning or during golden hour
Early morning and golden hour are the best times to take advantage of the sun’s balanced lighting – not too bright, but not too dark either. The contrast isn’t as harsh during midday.
Plus, there aren’t many tourists popping up on famous landmarks you want to visit. You can dedicate the early mornings to taking photos, and the rest of the day to enjoy your trip with your family.
You can capture the golden during the first hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset.
7. Stay away from using your phone’s zoom and flash features
Ever seen those photos of people with red eyes, or those eyes that look like a ball of light? Or those that are well-lit, alright, but the quality of light is poor? Those are caused by flashes.
How about closer shots of landmarks that look blurry? Those are caused by zooming in while taking your photos.
Although the flash provides a source of light, and zoom allows you to get a closer frame of your photos, they don’t produce high-quality photos.
Your phone’s camera app doesn’t come with the same optical lens as DSLRs, so when you zoom, it’s actually just cropping the image. If you want a closer shot of some famous landmarks during your trip, move closer to the subject instead.
8. Take candid photos to capture the natural smiles of your family
The best smiles and memories shine when they naturally happen, so don’t forget to take behind-the-scenes photos for your travel mementos!
For instance, candid photos of your kids having fun on the beach and the sands would look good on your photo albums too.
Ask someone from your gang to take photos of your candid moments too, like when you’re looking far away with the lush green fields behind you.
9. Use your shades for DIY retro filter
Want to achieve a retro vibe for your photo without the help of any editing apps? This is one of our favourite smartphone photography hacks. Place your shades in front of your camera lens and enjoy a sudden vintage transformation of your shot!
This hack is particularly perfect for taking photos in old villages, the ocean, or those Greek-style towns that look breathtaking from afar.
Bonus tip: Good photos will come out naturally when you just enjoy the moment!
When you let the photo opportunities come naturally, you’ll always capture the best representation of your vacation memories. Let your smiles and strong family bond show in your photos, so that one day, when you look back at these photos, the memories of laughter and travel will come flashing in your mind vividly.
We hope you found these smartphone photography hacks useful. For more photography tips why not read How to take better photos of your kids and Essential tips and tricks for photographing children.
What do you think of these smartphone photography hacks? Do you have any other smartphone photography hacks to share? Do leave a comment below.
Madison is a content creator for MILK Books. If she’s not perusing mum blogs or writing for MILK, she spends her time making sure her little humans don’t get in trouble.