I often get asked on Instagram what camera I use to take my pictures, and how I get such bright, colourful photos. My friend Matt even commented on a picture on Facebook recently saying he loved my pictures, and uses them as wallpapers on his phone. And my cousin Bev once asked if she could turn one of my snaps into a canvas for her living room. I am flattered guys, truly – what lovely things to say.
Well Matt and Bev, this post is for you – and anyone else who wants to make their photos really clear, vibrant and eye-catching, before sharing them with the world. Here I’ve summarised how I take my photos, and in another post I’ve discussed the best photo editing apps I use to turn my holiday snaps into works of art.
Firstly, I should clarify that all pictures on AlwaysCarryOn.com are taken by me unless stated – and if they’re not taken by me, I will never edit them, as I feel they’re not mine to edit.
My pictures are also always taken on a mobile phone, unless stated. Yep, that’s right. No fancy camera equipment, lenses or tripods here. Just a girl and her mobile, snapping away.
I’ve mentioned before that I currently work for a mobile network in the UK, and before that, as a tech journalist at MoneySavingExpert. I’ve always been into my tech, so playing around with the latest handsets is one of the many perks of the job for me, something that I’m extremely grateful for. It means I’m able to use some of the best camera phones on the market while on my travels, which really helps when it comes to uploading amazing photos on the go.
The fact that I’m on the Three network is great too, because its Feel At Home service let’s me use mobile data abroad without being charged an arm and a leg. Yet another perk, and the reason I’m able to post so many pictures to my social feeds while I’m away.
So what phone do I use to take these pictures?
Well, for texting, emails and just about everything besides photography, I use an iPhone 6. The interface is great and I’m accustomed to it, so I can’t quite bring myself to make the leap from iOS to Android for my day-to-day mobile life.
However, I personally feel that the camera on the iPhone just isn’t as good as some of the other handsets on the market. So I prefer to use something Android based for my travel photography. This has included Samsung, Sony and HTC handsets. That said, if I need to take a photo on the go, then the iPhone is always there. It’s ideal for quick Twitter pictures (and sending ugly selfies to my friends).
The majority of photos I’ve uploaded to Instagram recently and shared on the blog have been taken on a Samsung Galaxy S6 edge – I love everything its camera has to offer. There are so many features that just aren’t available on the iPhone camera. We’re talking beautiful panoramas (that actually look like one continuous shot, as opposed to three photos fused together), flawless selfies and a selective focus mode that lets you bring either the foreground or background into focus.
There’s also the ability to switch to “Pro mode”, so if you’re feeling brave you can select the white balance, the ISO level and tone. I tend to stick to “Auto mode” and just point and click, unless there’s a detail I particularly want to pull out (usually an unusual door knob design or a plate of food), and then I hit “Selective focus mode”.
The only thing that’s missing on the S6 is the IP67 water resistant certification. This was a feature of the Samsung S5 which I loved, but it didn’t make it on to its successor. However, it seems Samsung has taken note, and brought the feature back for the latest handset, the Samsung Galaxy S7. I’ve yet to get my hands on one of these, but as soon as I do you’ll be the first to know about it, I’m sure.
So now you know what I take my pictures on, what you really want to know is how I make the cloudy skies look so dramatic and the beachy sunsets look so vibrant… Well check out this post on my 5 best photo editing apps, and get snapping.