Greetings from Christmas card season! We hope your holidays are jolly and bright…and that you got that holiday photo “just right.” We live in the age of “pics or it didn’t happen!” and that’s a wonderful thing; photograph is a way of immortalizing a memory, helping one remember happy nuances as time passes. Sometimes a photograph catches beautiful details that one might miss at a first glance, whether it’s kitten peeking through a frosted window or friends caught in an embrace. Regardless of the final destination of your photos—your mantelpiece, on a Christmas card or shared online as a means of full-time income—these tips will have you embracing and excelling at taking photos this winter.
Making memories requires memory—quite literally. Thankfully you can score a whole terabyte of photo storage for free on the Flickr app. For any tech novices out there, 1TB is a TON of storage. One memory card is typically between 8 and 32 MB, which equals one minuscule fraction of a terabyte. Flickr’s storage capabilities are incredible for a multitude of reasons, but here are our top three:
1) You’ll never have to cut a photo shoot short due to a “memory full” notification.
2) Photo sharing is instantaneous and easy.
3) If, heaven forbid, something happens to your device, your photos and videos are still safely backed up on the Flickr cloud.
That Inspo, Though
The Facet travel app and website is an incredible way to get exposure to beautiful destinations before you go. The visually pleasing layout is awe-inspiring, with a “trending” tab (currently trending: adventure travel, Stockholm, Barcelona, drone views, brews, and deserts) and “destinations” tab (featuring New York, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Los Angeles, Japan, and Sayulita). Basically, it’s like Flickr meets Tumblr meets Lonely Planet. Within each destination, you can sort users’ images by see, do, eat, nature, time lapse, urban life, and drink. These photographs convey far more than a guidebook or blog ever could. Beyond helping you gauge a place’s mood, Facet provides a plethora of ideas for vantage points and angles. So when you finally touch down, you know where to go so you can snap the very best shots with ease.
Foggy photos rock (check @livefolk for inspo). Snow-dusted photos rock (see @jimmy_chin for inspo). Ocean photos rock (follow @ocean for inspo). Wet equipment…doesn’t rock. A mini-investment in a watertight camera bag will keep your gear dry and functioning if the weather forecast is anything but 100% sunny. If it’s particularly frigid outside, try to keep your camera on your body for warmth. The colder it is, the faster its battery will drain.
Steady As She Goes
The difference between a pro photo and a phone snapshot often comes down to sharpness. Luckily, there’s an easy hack to make your iPhone photos appear like they were shot on a DSLR—simply take them with a portable tripod. You can bring flexible mini-tripods anywhere, as they can fit in your satchel and bend to be propped on cobblestone or wrapped around a tree limb, koala-style. A tripod combats shakiness and lets you experiment with unexpected angles. For taking photos from afar or going wild with a self-timer, bring an affordable and tiny phone remote on your adventure. This is a must-have for nailing the perfect group photo.
Lemme Take A Selfie
Selfies are far more than a fad: a selfie stick is practically a household commodity. Get your beautiful face in the shot, whether it’s with the fam, locals or an ancient landmark. Gone are the days of posing for a camera with a slow shutter speed—selfies allow for silly photoshoots and creative freedom. We recommend an adjustable selfie stick (or “monopod” if you must) so you can stow it in a back pocket or purse.
Fake It ‘Til You Make It
While professional cameras can’t be beat, smartphones come pretty darn close—the iPhone 7 and Pixel Phone both boast a 12MP camera. Here are some tips to take your iPhone photos from “pretty good” to “Nat Geo centerfold.” My only beef with phone photography is that my phone tends to die much faster than my camera, given I’m using a gazillion other apps in addition to the camera. Luckily, this problem has a simple solution known as a portable charger. Plug it in and boom! you just won ten more hours of battery life.
Wouldn’t it be cool if your entire adventure was captured with virtually no effort or interruptions? The Drift Compass Wearable HD Camera does exactly that. This little camera captures the world from your point of view, and has several modes: from live-stream to time-lapse, all in crystal-clear HD. Simply attach the Compass camera to your body (it’s similar to a GoPro in this sense) and it will automatically snap away throughout the day—one charge lasts four hours. The camera syncs to the Drift app so you can control the camera from your phone, whether you’re adjusting the viewfinder or capturing photos and videos.
Maybe She’s Born With It. Maybe it’s Snapchat.
A little photo editing at the end of your day—maybe snuggled between crisp hotel sheets, or while resting your head on the window of a wobbling train—can go a long way. What’s more, some of photographers’ favorite tools are on apps, meaning that editing can be done in the palm of your hand, on the road. Snapseed, developed by Google, is a powerful photo editing tool that lets you tune, crop, transform, rotate and spot-repair your images. If you wanna get funky, you can play with the intensity of Snapseed filters. For even more filters that add flare while still looking natural, check out VSCO and Afterlight.
So snap away, as photographs turn memories into something warm, fuzzy and tangible. Whether you post ‘em or print ‘em, you’ll be happy you took ‘em. Cheers to a photo-liscious 2017!
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Annie’s based in Los Angeles but hails from Portland, Oregon. Sort of. She moved to six states by the time she reached middle school, and continues to move around the US and abroad – call her a nomad, but she prefers “Location ADHD.” After studying abroad in New Zealand, Annie circled the globe, graduated from USC, and circled the world once again. For one year she lived out of a backpack everywhere from The Philippines to Nepal to Slovenia to Norway. She’s a curry connoisseur and passionate explorer, taking the road less traveled, the “trail” covered in vines and swarmed in exotic bugs. Foreign lands feel like home, and Annie loves encouraging more and more people to utilize their passports and experience a new culture.