Nowadays, most people go on holiday equipped with only their smartphone to capture memories
Nowadays, most people go on holiday equipped with only their smartphone to capture the best moments with their friends, family or a significant other. The biggest reason for this is because the quality of mobile photography has dramatically improved in the last decade.
Firms such as Huawei – who have recently launched their P30 Pro model – have recognised travellers don’t want to carry a bulky camera, and so have worked hard to make the one that comes with a smartphone so good cameras become obsolete for the average holidaymaker.
Award-winning photographers Shannon Wild and Archie Brooksbank shared six ways you can improve your holiday snaps with Express.co.uk.
1 – Play with light
Photographer and filmmaker Brooksbank was eager to explain the fundamental role light plays when taking a great photograph.
Knowing when to take photos during the day is vital; shooting after sunrise or before a sunset means daylight is not as harsh and will typically result in a better final product.
While it can be easy to see a great scene on holiday and instantly want to take a snap of it, Brooksbank emphasised the standard of photography is usually elevated when people experiment at different times of day.
He told Express.co.uk: “Light is really what separates the men from the boys, or the girls from the ladies. Light is our biggest tool in photography, so knowing when to shoot and when not to shoot. Midday sun is really tricky to shoot in, so little things can help like having a reflector to harness the sun but also to take it away.
“But if you’re on holiday and you see a really nice scene like ‘oh that pool is really nice out there’, it’s actually looking at it at different parts of the day.
“So instead of running out and taking pictures instantly, you look at it and go ‘okay I’ve got five days here, I’m going to watch that spot during the three different points of the day and see what the light is doing’.
“So maybe you’ll come back the next day and realise you should shoot in the evening and that just makes a huge difference with the shot.”
Shannon Wild spoke with Express.co.uk about how you can improve your holiday snaps
2 – Have patience
Both photographers and filmmakers also iterated how important patience is when looking to take the best photos.
In particular, Brooksbank emphasised people should embrace a particular moment first and then start thinking about how they can take a shot that is creative and differs from a typical “postcard” image.
He explained: “So I think just photography in general, whether it’s on a phone or on a DSLR, or even on a Snappy Snap, it’s not shooting postcards. That’s probably the simplest way of putting it; it’s doing a shot that says something rather than just being a pretty shot.
“So I think it’s really about thought, having more thought and really experimenting with the creative process of photography which is, as you know on social the stuff that really stands out is the stuff that is surprising.
“Those beautiful little moments that you catch. And I think that comes from at first just stepping back and looking at it. But it’s also about looking at things in different ways and actually the light as well.”
Wild echoed Brooksbank by stating it is typically the moment an impatient photographer lowers their device that an incredible shot will present itself.
She said: “A lot of people will pop the phone up and they are holding the shot and it’s not doing anything and they put it down, and then something amazing happens.”
Brooksbank was eager to explain the fundamental role light plays when taking a great photograph
3 – Experimentation
Photography incites experimentation and creativity; instead of pointing a camera at a subject and hitting the shutter button repeatedly, Wild explained people should shoot at different angles and ranges of zoom to see what works best in a given situation.
In particular, Wild said during her years of photography work she has developed a particular fondness for snapping subjects from the ground.
Wild noted this is not only a way to shift the entire perspective of a photo, but that it also typically results in a more dramatic end result.
She commented: “Zoom in and out, get variety, that’s really key. And move around if you can, if you safely can. In most normal situations you can move around; get a different perspective because a lot of people will take a gazillion photos of that same angle, same frame. Mix it up – that’s definitely key.
“Definitely perspective, and that applies not only to left and right and round, it’s up and down as well.
“I basically live on the ground and it’s like a whole other world – so if you put the frame of your screen on something and literally crouch down and see how that whole perspective changes.”
Knowing when to take photos during the day is vital
4 – Try to capture shots that are truly candid
Capturing a candid moment can be incredibly difficult, especially if you have an awkward subject on the other side of the camera.
Putting someone at ease is key to capturing a photo that is unique and most importantly, genuine. Brooksbank was keen to discuss techniques he has developed to get the best shots when capturing snaps of people.
The award-winning photographer noted tension can be eased by doing something simple, like pretending you are taking a video of a subject instead of a still image.
He said: “Great portraiture is capturing people in motion, that’s how you capture someone. Putting people at ease is key, but in a quick instance it is just trying to distract them.
“So one technique I use is I’ll come and photograph you and I’ll just hold the camera and they’ll look over and say ‘what are you doing’ and I’ll say ‘I’m just doing a little video’ and then they’ll laugh and I’ll click, click, click, click.
“So it’s just a very easy way because some people are awkward and they’re looking for someone to make them laugh just to ease the tension.”
Once you have your subject laughing or smiling, utilising your smartphone’s burst mode is apt way of ensuring you get the best photo possible. On most smartphones this can be activated by holding down the shutter button.
Shannon Wild emphasised the importance of taking photos at different angles and ranges of zoom
5 – Use your smartphone’s “pro” mode
An increasing amount of handsets on the market offer a “pro” mode within their respective camera apps that allows users to adjust the ISO, shutter speed, exposure, focus and white balance of a particular lens.
While all that photography jargon may sound incredibly intimidating, understanding the purpose of each setting is easier than you think.
Pro mode further ignites creativity when it comes to photography, a sentiment that was echoed by Brooksbank.
Encouraging others to make use of the functionality, he said: “When you can start playing around with pro mode it makes photography more fun.
“You’ve suddenly got this control where you can be really creative and I guess that’s what excites me about the P30 Pro.”
Using a smartphone’s pro mode further ignites creativity when it comes to photography
6 – Utilise video
Smartphone photography has become so good in recent years that it can easily overshadow the radical video enhancements that have been made during the same period.
Most devices on the market right now are able to record in 1080p or 4K resolutions, meaning footage is usually crisp and retains glorious amounts of detail.
Shannon Wild started out solely focusing on photography but has since developed an incredible passion for video.
While testing the Huawei P30 Pro, the award-winning professional emphasised the importance of video in capturing some of the most genuine moments with the greatest amount of context.
Experimenting with video when on holiday, no matter what the subject, can often result in some of the best content to share with friends, family or social media.
With that said, Wild recommended people get comfortable with taking still images first before switching to filming and had a number of tips for aspiring videographers.
She commented: “I think the ultimate step-by-step path is starting with still photography on subjects that maybe aren’t going to move as much or you have more control over.
“So even if that’s a pet because you know it’s treats and toys and you can control the environment a little bit but it’s still very dynamic. And start playing with composition; it really makes a huge difference to the impact of an image and it’s exactly the same in video.
“Because once you get comfortable in a few elements and fundamentals of photography you then start combining them all and all of that is exactly the same with filming with a few extra things to consider.
“So without getting techie, just play around with some more dramatic compositions. The best way to do that, especially as a beginner, is to zoom out a bit, give yourself more area to play with. Then if you’re not sure what makes a good composition, after the fact start playing with cropping options.”