Travel Photography Tips With Your Smartphone

After travelling to thirty countries (and counting!) I love keeping scrapbooks and albums of all of the photos I have taken on my trips.  Everything you need for you next big trip can usually be found on your smartphone or tablet. Packing light has become easier than ever! From travel guides to boarding passes to your camera, everything you need can be stored on this one, very handy, device. We sat down with Ren Bostelaar, Manager of Henry’s School of Imaging and photography expert, who gave us his Travel Phoneography tips and tricks.

Fort Worth International Airport (Dallas, Texas, USA)

Phoneography for Travel Photography

A smartphone is a great travel companion. It saves your boarding passes and itinerary, makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family back home, and it can even help you translate local words and phrases. And with ever-improving lenses, sensors and software, it’s also a fantastic camera!  A smartphone will let you take great photos on the road without standing out or drawing too much attention to yourself, and you won’t come home with a sore back from hauling heavy cameras and lenses halfway around the world.

Travel Essentials

Pearson International Airport (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

What to Shoot

Everybody comes home with pictures of landmarks, so instead of shooting only shooting another photo of the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon, look for subjects that tell a story. Visit a local market or participants in a local festival and shoot the people that you meet. Capture photos of your meals that will remind your taste buds of your adventures, and consider shooting little details like the local coins and bills that pass through your hands as your trip progresses.

Australia Postcard

 Airlie Beach (Whitsunday, Australia) 

Advanced Features

Many smartphones are capable of some fairly advanced photo and video features, often without even needing down download specific apps. Consider using the “time lapse” feature to turn hours into minutes and capture the hustle and bustle of a busy town square or the bumpy ride of a ferry boat in super-speed. Or use the panorama feature to sweep a beautiful vista and make your friends at home jealous of your holiday in widescreen.

Santorini Panorama

 Oia (Santorina, Greece)

Bridgetown Barbados

Dover Beach (St. Lawerence Gap, Barbados)

Back up

It’s easy to fill up your available storage space with photos and videos on a holiday, so consider using a service like Dropbox to easily back your memories up on the road. Find a coffee shop with wifi and enjoy a cup or two while your images and video seamlessly sync with “the cloud”. Once you’ve confirmed the data is safely stored online, delete some images and video to make room even more great memories.


 Bloomsbury Square (London, England)


A smartphone can do a great job on its own, but consider adding a couple other tools to your kit. A wide angle lens attachment will help you capture even more of your view, and a small tripod will make it much easier to capture steady photos at night or indoors in low light. And, of course, a weatherproof case will greatly improve the chances that your device survives a beach vacation or a trip to the ski slopes.

Horseshoe Valley

 Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort (Barrie, Ontario, Canada)

One of my favourite accessories is the Joby Mpod Mini , a fun and flexible miniature tripod suitable for any smartphone. The bendable legs make it easy to position your phone on uneven surfaces, guaranteeing crystal-clear shots in low light and making it possible to put yourself in the shot by using a timer app. Small enough to fit in your backpack, this is the ultimate travel accessory for phoneographers on the road.



Great Apps

Even the best photos can use a little bit of extra help, so consider using an editing app to add some personal touches. VSCOcam (iOS and Android) features a suite of vintage analogue film-inspired filters and enhancements that will make your photos look like they were lifted from the page of an old copy of National Geographic, and Diptic will allow you to turn several photos into beautiful story-telling collage.
Acropolis Collage

 Acropolis (Athens, Greece)

For more  information on photography courses, check out the full listing from Henry’s School of Imaging here:

All of the images in this article were take by me with my iPhone 5. 

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