Tips for taking pro-style holiday snaps on a smartphone

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With holiday season upon us, more and more of us will be taking photos of our time away.

With quality images of the past the preserve of enthusiastic amateurs, the rest of us took holiday snaps which were just that, captured quickly by Instamatics, with the grainy prints of thumbs and headless sunbathers picked up from the chemists a couple of weeks later

Nowadays, our phones have made it easier than ever to capture special moments from our time away. But something a bit more enduring than a selfie is possible now with many phones offering professional-level photographic quality.

Online smartphone retailer,, has created some top tips on how to take amazing holiday photos like a pro, simply from a smartphone, so that Brits can show off their trip in style.

Get closer to the action

Whether your mates are surfing the waves, or waving from the top of a theme park ride, the action may sometimes seem far away, Never fear, however, as smartphone camera tech has seen some terrific advances in Optical Zoom.

Get up close and personal to your subject matter with the iPhone 7, which offers 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, letting you snap clearer photos from even further.

If your subject is only a stone’s throw away, the iPhone 7 also has amazing sensors which result in a larger depth of field, meaning that the phone is able to get a sharper focus of nearby subjects.

It’s all about the angles

Angles are just as important in holiday snaps as they are in selfies. Millions of people will have snapped the same iconic landmark as you, so to really make your holiday pictures something special get creative with angles.

The HTC U11 is a great phone for trying out different angles as the new squeeze technology allows users to capture pictures just with the squeeze of a hand – perfect for keeping steady in tricky positions.

The rule of thirds is great for capturing the full beauty of the scenery and subject matter all in one photograph too, especially when experimenting with angles. All iPhones have the grid mode too which can be turned on in settings, and allows you to line up the picture within the intersecting lines – which is great for shots where the subject is off-centre.

Be aware of your surroundings

When taking photographs we always want the subject matter to be the focus of the shot. A great way to achieve this is by using the leading lines compositional hack.

Leading lines are used to draw the viewer’s eyes through the photograph to the main focal point, using other features in the surroundings e.g. using a walking trail to follow through to a mountain in the distance.

While editing tools and filters can be used to add a frame around a picture, sometimes the best way to frame your photos is to simply use the surroundings around you. The edge of a tree, a column or building, are all great ways to achieve a picturesque silhouette and emphasise your subject.

Let there be light

Lighting plays a pivotal role in the quality of any photograph and can be quite problematic when in a country where the sun is extremely bright. Phones such as the Sony Xperia XZ Premium have a brilliant HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability, meaning they are still able to capture high quality shots in bright conditions.

For a cool halo effect around your subject, shoot them in the direction of the sun rather than away from it– not only does this add a nice effect but it also eliminates the issues of squinting from your holiday companion.

Make the most of features and editing tools

Smartphones now come with a wide range of great features to give photographs a professional feel and finish. The iPhone 7 Plus now has depth of field capabilities on par with DSLR cameras which allow users to be able to focus on the subject and blur the background – which can give the photograph a very professional look.

There is also nothing wrong with using a few apps to enhance the beauty of your photographs. Photo editing apps such as Snapseed have a multitude of filters and tools to improve the quality of your holiday pictures. But remember not to go overboard, as you don’t want to lose the true beauty of the memories from your time away.