Tips & Tricks for Top Photography

With a little luck, effort and spontaneity, you’ll bring home long-lasting memories.

1. Play with light.

Regardless of the type of mobile phone or camera you own, light is the crucial element of each photograph. Experienced photographers are well aware that the most beautiful light can be captured in the morning or in the afternoon, especially if you are looking for the warm shades of sunset. Taking photos at night requires a bit more effort and experience. Still, with mobile phone cameras becoming more precise, this is no longer an obstacle.

2. Keep it steady.

In order to get quality photos at night, it’s crucial to keep your smart phone perfectly steady. You can of course hold it in your hand but if you lean it against a wall, a bench or a restaurant table, the chances of success are far greater. Most of the photo apps feature a night mode; don’t hesitate to use it. For those more ambitious, there’s a smart phone stand that requires manual adjustment of each setting.

3. Don’t use zoom.

Although it’s tempting to get a close-up view in just two finger swipes, the result will often not be satisfying in terms of quality. That’s because digital zoom artificially crops the enlarged shot of the initial photo. But if you’re lucky to own a phone with optical zoom, feel free to use this option.

4. Change perspective.

Not all of the photos need to be taken at eye level. Sometimes you can get a unique, most unusual shot if you put your phone in the grass or raise it above your head. Since smart phones are small and light, it’s easy to place them where no standard cameras can fit, so don’t be afraid to experiment. After all, if you don’t like a photo, just delete it.

5. Avoid flash.

Flash should be used only if absolutely necessary. If you’re at a restaurant and wish to take a photo of your friends, flash is an excellent choice. But if you’re looking to capture a view of the city at sunset or would like to show off the beautifully decorated food on your table, flash will be of no help.

6. Learn the basics of composition.

Studying a few key points about composition and framing will be of the greatest use if you want to get perfect photos. The terms ‘rule of thirds’ and ‘golden ratio’ may sound complicated but they both come down to the fact that the main subject should not be the focal point of the photo. Most smart phones feature an option that displays the lines of the thirds, which will make it easier for you to align elements in the shot.

7. Experiment with filters.

Each mobile phone offers at least basic photo editor options and the possibility to subsequently add various filters to your photos. Sometimes a photo will look much better in black & white mode, or if you add some contrast or saturation. Filters are particularly useful in cloudy weather, so try your hand at editing photos even if you’re an absolute beginner. If you’re not satisfied, there are thousands of photo editing apps out there. And for the lazy ones, there are Instagram filters that never fail.

8. Go underwater (if safe).

Pricier mobile phones are often waterproof, meaning you can safely take a dip in a pool or the sea and share photos your friends will find a little less ordinary. Make sure to check if your mobile phone is fully waterproof to avoid costly mistakes. If you’re taking pictures in the sea, don’t forget to rinse your phone under tap water, wipe it off and let it dry away from direct sunlight.

9. Clean your camera lens.

If the camera glass is smudged with fingerprints, the photos will not turn out as you desire.

10. Try out HDR.

It’s an acronym for high dynamic range, which means your phone will automatically combine three exposures into a single image, each of them capturing a certain part of the light spectrum (from deep silhouettes to dazzling clouds). Details will be captured regardless of whether they are in light or in shadow. This shooting mode is especially useful for daytime or sunset photo shoots.

11. Tell a story.

If you plan to share your photos on social media, see if you can use them to share a story. Beach and city street snapshots are fine but also focus on cute eye-catching details, smiling faces of your hosts or the best ice cream you’ve ever had. A variety of motifs, unusual colour combinations or funny situations will hold the viewer’s attention longer.

12. Make an effort.

It may sound quite obvious, but it often takes an effort to capture a good photo. You may need to walk to a nearby lookout or reach the farthest end of a beach… that’s how you can find inspiration for an original photo.

13. Don’t take risks.

In an attempt to snap an original photo, some people will go too far and put themselves in danger. It may seem you’ll get the best shot in the middle of a busy road or a few steps behind a safety fence, but nobody really wants to spend their holiday with their limbs in a cast. Use common sense when choosing a shooting location.

14. Try out different modes.

Use portrait mode to blur the background behind the person, sports mode to capture every detail of an activit or panoramic mode to take wide-angle photos. Many of them also have special modes for capturing food, children or pets. For better photos, tap the screen where the main subject is located and the camera will automatically adjust the settings. Learn what your camera can do to avoid tampering with the settings and possibly miss a beautiful photo of a sailboat passing by.

15. Have fun!

You’re not on an assignment and your photos are personal and unique as such. Not being a professional photographer can be an advantage. Instead of spending your holiday chasing that perfect photo, relax and enjoy. With a little luck, effort and spontaneity, you’ll bring home long-lasting memories.

Bloggers, journalists, tourist guides, artists, entertainers and all kinds of hospitality experts and enthusiasts have gathered under the ValamArtists handle to lovingly bring you the best out of the Croatian holiday experience. Enjoy the ride!
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