Travel Photography: How To Take Great Vacation Photos with Your Phone

  • Wait for the right moment
  • Always photograph at the highest quality (“Selfie” mode is usually the lowest quality option)
  • Shoot in the brightest conditions possible
  • Think about light, shadow and shapes in the image
  • Focus on objects closer to the camera and allow the background to blur
  • Lower angles make people/animals look statuesque and grand
  • When shooting panoramic shots, do this in portrait angle using the “pano” function, start from the lightest
  • point to the darkest [TAS tip: turn the phone upside down if it does not allow you to change direction]
  • Avoid “pinching” (zoom), as the quality is usually not that great [TAS tip: rather crop the image afterwards]
  • Mobile devices now support lens attachments, which enhance photos. When purchasing attachments, check for best quality. Glass is preferred
  • Always try to show a unique view

TAS tip: Be present in the moment; don’t miss the action because you’re obsessing about the shot


Shoot when the light is right

  • The best, pics are taken in the “golden hours” just after dawn and just before dusk
  • Overcast days provide soft, even lighting.
  • Just after a light rain is the best time to shoot dynamic landscapes
  • Use flash as a last resort, except if you’re shooting into the sun with your subject in the foreground, try using flash to illuminate your subject and prevent silhouetting

Tell the whole story

  • Every place and every trip are unique
  • Capture your personal safari story, including aspects like your room and view, the environment and all the exceptional little details
  • Place yourself in the shot – your friends and followers like to see you
  • Go beyond the animal mug shot, show wildlife in their habitat and surroundings
  • Capture sunrises/ sunsets, landscapes, trees, insects, activities and guides

Apply the rule of thirds

  • Imagine dividing your photo 3 lines across and 3 lines down [TAS tip: you can activate a grid on your smartphone to help you see it, if you like]
  • Position key elements along the gridlines or at the intersections
  • Place the horizon along the top or bottom third for a strong compositional mobile photo
  • This is used to balance an image
  • It creates space for the subject to look to or move into

Frame your main subject

  • Use structural, environmental or architectural elements to bring focus to a subject
  • Think of trees, the landscape, sky and other animals as potential frames


  • Go wide and shoot panoramas of big vistas
  • Skew photos can be edited in apps, aim to get the horizon line straight
  • Pick what to focus on by tapping it on the screen
  • Use a tripod at night for sharp photos

TAS warning: phone photography can be very addictive when you get it right!