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Taking a great travel photo involves a lot more than just an Instagram filter and a quick tap on your touch screen.
Whether these pictures are documenting your road trip through the Rocky Mountains or just a weekend cottage trip with friends, you want the photos to capture the essence of the place, all while appearing aesthetically pleasing.
It’s a lot to consider, and could be expensive if you’re planning on buying professional photography gear. But luckily there is a way to improve your travel photography on the cheap. Rather than spending a few thousand dollars on high-end equipment, you can invest only a few bucks in camera apps for your Smartphone instead.
From editing like the pros to taking sharper photos at night, these apps are sure to help you take better travel photos.
This app is for those who are serious about their travel photography and is easily one of the most resourceful Smartphone camera apps on the market. 645 Pro Mk III has the interface of a high-end camera, offering full control of exposure, white balance and focus, as well as shutter and ISO priority modes. For $3.99, it’s as close to a DSLR as you can get.
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The idea is just as the name implies: one second of video, every day. One second to represent your days adventures. Then, at the end of your travels, the app compiles all of those one-second clips into one continuous video. It’s perfect for refining your summer vacation into less than 30 seconds! This app is available free on Android (free) and for $4.99 on iOS.
SKRWT works to fix one thing that can made your photos look like snapshots: perspectives. This app straightens distorted lines caused by the wide-angle lens in most of today’s mobile phones. It’s great for adjusting the slanted lines you get when shooting different types architecture and places. And even better yet, SKRWT will only set you back a couple bucks at the app store.
Snapseed is a free app and offers a wide range of photography editing tools, like HDR and red-eye reduction. There are actually so many different settings and effects to adjust, it can take some time to find the tools you need. But once you do, your travel photos will be looking better in no time. Plus, all edits made on the app are “non-destructive,” meaning you won’t be overwriting your original photo and you can go back through all your edits at any time.
Rather than having a bunch of different editing tools, NightCap focuses on doing one specific task as well as possible: taking better quality low-light photos. NightCap analyzes each scene and adjusts the exposure to capture as much light as possible, resulting in a much sharper image. With it’s $0.99 price tag, this app is one to consider if you plan to be taking a lot of low-light photos or photos at night during your travels. NightCap also offers a Pro version with more options for $1.99.
This app doesn’t have any fancy controls of filters for your photos but will still noticeably improve your travel shots. Sun Seeker works to fix sun glare and overexposure by overlapping your Smartphone screen with the current and projected sun position throughout the day, so you’ll know the best time to shoot. Coming in at $9.99, Sun Seeker also allows you to view the sun’s arc for a different date and scope out shots in advance to help you plan your travel photos accordingly.
VSCO is a photography app go-to, but it provides more than just photo editing—it also works to create a community for pros and amateur photographers alike. Like Instagram, you can browse other VSCO users’ photos but unlike Instagram, the photos here show you which filters and settings the photographer used, so you can pick up the techniques. The editing interface is simple and easy to use with 10 pre-set filters (more are available for purchase) that you can make custom tweaks on top of. VSCO is free for download and also has plug-ins for Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.