Two Ladies Taking iPhone Photos

5 Essential Tips for the Traveling iPhone Photographer

For many, the iPhone has quickly gone from a luxury item to a travelling essential. A wonderful piece of palm-sized equipment that provides 1,001 ways to navigate, communicate, translate, entertain and (as camera technology improves year on year) take photos.

Vagabondish is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read our disclosure.

Such good photos in fact, that at Foto Ruta in Buenos Aires, we’re seeing more and more travelers who have chosen to leave their cameras at home in favor of their beloved iPhones. We’re often asked whether the iPhone’s camera technology is good enough to replace a dedicated point-and-shoot camera. And the answer is, yes. Although it won’t be able to replace an SLR or high-end consumer camera, it’s a fantastically versatile, competent piece of photographic kit.

With that in mind, here are Foto Ruta’s top five tips for great iPhonography:

#1: Get App-in’: Download and Get Comfortable Using iPhone Camera Apps

iPhone App (screenshot)
iPhone App

One of the greatest assets to this device is the ever-expanding number of apps that allow you to do almost anything (at the touch of your screen) with your iPhone images. They range from free to inexpensive (try camera + for only 0.99 cents). Check out more iPhone app recommendations.

#2: Frame Your Subject Creatively

Two Ladies Taking iPhone Photos
Snapping iPhone Photos

The iPhone produces creative images by virtue of its camera apps and “range of motion” so to speak. So don’t stop at putting your subject front and center … turn the camera upside down, to its side and use different compositions to create unique images.

#3: Get Close

Black Puppy (closeup)

The advantage of this powerful piece of technology is that its size and weight make it portable and unintimidating to the subject. Where you otherwise might be carrying around a large lens that can be intruding to whomever you’re taking a picture of, the iPhone allows you to approach your subjects with the innocence of an amateur but the access of a professional. Use this proximity to your advantage and get close, right in the face of your subject.

#4: Take Multiple Exposures

It’s still a camera and the fundamental rules of photography still apply. For the best shot, shoot with several different settings (HDR, flash on, flash off and using different apps) so that you’re guaranteed at least one in your series that’s a success. The iPhone may be the ultimate point-and-shoot but treat it like an SLR and you’re more likely to get the professional results it’s capable of.

#5: Be Illicit

Man Walking Street in Thong

Take the picture you weren’t allowed to take in the first place! The great thing about the iPhone is that first and foremost it’s a phone. Not allowed to take pictures at the exclusive tango show, the fancy clothing boutique or you don’t want the old Italian guy with empanada grease all over his mustache to know he’s getting his portrait snapped? Now no one has to know.

Pretend you’re dialing a number, checking email, or sending a text and snap a picture instead and get all those pictures you weren’t supposed to take in the first place. As we say in South America … be cladestino.

  1. Great tips. I don’t have an iPhone but they are completely transferable to my Android device. :-)

  2. The iPhone is so good now that it’s not really worth it to have a point and shoot. An iPhone camera and a DSLR will do just fine.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let's Make Sure You're Human ... * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Subscribe to Our 'Under the Radar' Newsletter
If you love travel, you're gonna love this!