4 Tips for Taking Surprising Mobile Photos

It doesn’t matter if you use an iPhone or an Android there are a few things you can do to get your mobile photography to the next level. All of the photos included with the tips were taken with my Google Pixel phone. I normally shoot with a big Hasselblad camera, but sometimes all I have with me is my phone. I’ve come up with some great tricks to make them look as surprising and incredible as possible.

1) Don’t hit that big circle on the screen to take the photo. Use the Vol Up button on the side! One, when you jab the screen with your finger, you’re causing camera-shake and it will make your photo more blurry. Two, using the volume up button allows you to hold the camera much more steady with one or two hands.

Image 1

This was taken an underground Turkish bath in Budapest, Hungary. This is Olya, my crazy Russian videographer, who traveled through Europe with us to make some inspirational and tutorial videos.

2) Experiment with the mobile app Snapseed! It’s free and available for Android and iOS. This is, by far, the best app for editing your photos on your phone. There are many tools in there and many different filters. One great thing about Snapseed is you can layer many different filters together to really give your photo a unique look. People will wonder how you did it!

Image 2

Here’s a fun family photo from a few months ago when we rode camels near the pyramids in Egypt. I used Snapseed filters to give it this “look.”

3) Take some cheeky street photos. If you’re like me, as you walk around the streets, you often see interesting people, crazy outfits, or just kooky things you find interesting. It can sometimes be embarrassing to blatantly aim your phone at these things, so get used to using the Volume Up button to take the photos. On the Pixel phone, for example, I can turn on the camera by double-clicking the power button. Then I move my finger to volume-up to take the photo. Your horizon will probably be off, but you can fix that later.

Image 3

Here’s a cheeky street photo I took in Budapest, Hungary. This is my assistant Tane. He’s not posing; this is literally how he looks all the time.

4) Try combining your phone with an iPad or tablet to edit your photos to the next level. Professional photographers know that a photo reads differently on a larger screen. Next time you’re at a coffee shop, why not zap your photo over to your tablet (via Google Photos or Airdrop), then use Snapseed to edit it there. A good photo always looks better bigger on a tablet, so don’t feel like you’re forced to use that tiny little screen.

Image 4

This a photo I took in Aruba. I was jogging on the beach, and of course I had my mobile phone with me. I was able to cover a lot of ground quickly, and there’s no way I would go on a jog and carry a Hasselblad! But it’s nice to always have the phone with me and take a ton of photos, picking out the best after I sit down to relax.

Image 5

Here’s a panorama of three different photos I took while on a walk here near my home in New Zealand. Since I have an Android, I use Google photos. One great thing about Google Photos is there’s a little AI assistant that will “gift” you a panorama if it senses you took a lot of photos close together.

Image 6

Near my home on the south island of New Zealand, there is this amazing place to watch the sunset called Lake Hayes. I forgot my big Hasselblad camera, so all I had was my phone. There’s a saying that the Best Camera is the one you have with you!

Late Night, Streets of Venice

My Photography Tips from London! – London Highlights

While we’ve been on the road our master videographer Olya has been filming non-stop and has put together some highlight videos for each city. In the latest highlight reel of London, Trey dishes out some tips for colour (not color) in photography. Have a watch below and see what you think! 🙂

Daily Photo – Late Night, Streets of Venice

A few weeks ago, I posted a similar photo from the streets of San Juan. This is one of those “lay-up” shots that I often go for. I find a fairly symmetrical pedestrian walkway (usually better than roads), then set up with a tripod for a long exposure. It's just satisfying for some reason!

Late Night, Streets of Venice

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2015-05-10 11:23:12
  • CameraILCE-7R
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1.6
  • Aperture4
  • ISO250
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Hasselblad Greatness

For Passport Members

As a reminder for Passport members, please don’t forget to visit your special Passport page to see all the goodies. One of them is the unboxing of the New Hasselblad! Also, you’ll see, in the new HDR Video Tutorial (which you can buy separately or get for free as a Passport member), more from this amazing church below where I took this photo.

Daily Photo – Hasselblad Greatness

This was taken with my first Hasselblad, and it's one of the photos that made me fall in love with it. I do love my Sony too, but this one a bit more. This was shot at an extremely high F-Stop and you can just sort of see the sharpness in it, eh? This was shot in San Rocco in Venice.

Hasselblad Greatness

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-28 11:35:11
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time40
  • Aperture16
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Into the Night

Tip: Over-Touristy Places

Venice is definitely over-filled with tourists, but the hottest tip I have is to rest during the day and stay out most of the night, when there are about zero tourists around. For one thing, cruises just dump tons of people in the city during the day, but all of them go back to the boat after sunset, leaving the city just for you. Also, people tend to walk around a LOT during the day, which totally wears them out… so, be like a cat and nap/rest all day, then at night, go out on the prowl!

Daily Photo – Into the Night

Have you noticed I'm adding new Venice photos every other day here for the past week? Yes! I had a huge backlog of these things and decided to crank 'em out. And, even though I've posted a lot of them, I hope you are not getting tired of them earlier!

Into the Night

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-01-27 22:39:44
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time40
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length35.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Above Puerto Rico

Pano Tip

This is made from a Phantom 4 Pro and about 5 different photos. I stitched them all together in Lightroom and then ran them through sweet sweet Aurora HDR to give it a little HDR love! 🙂

Daily Photo – Above Puerto Rico

Here's the fortress in San Juan, which I never realized was practically an island. Or actually, it MIGHT be an island where you have to take a bridge. I should know these things. But I seem to remember being on a bridge… wait let me look at a map because now I am very curious. Oh yes, it is an island, as you can plainly see from this map. I took this photo just off the northern edge looking back to the southwest as the sun was setting. So what you're seeing here is the very tip of the island.

Above Puerto Rico

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-25 17:48:58
  • CameraFC6310
  • Camera MakeDJI
  • Exposure Time1/160
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length8.8 mm
  • FlashNo flash function
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

The Lights in the Mosque

Tips on Taking women into mosques

I get a lot of questions about the local ethics and cultural requirements for bringing women into mosques. As you know, I often travel with my wife and two daughters. All I can say for sure is it varies from country to country. Some are very relaxed. Some are not-so-much. But, it’s usually never a problem and I just suggest getting a local guide on TripAdvisor or through your hotel concierge. In some places, like Egypt, the women did not even need to wear headscarves. Others, they need to wear the habib and make sure none of the hair is visible. Anyway, it’s nothing to worry about and once properly dressed, you can go see anything! I certainly don’t get upset by any cultural/religious differences… I just try to think of it as being respectful, like when you put on nice clothes of a certain type for an event like a wedding or funeral. It just is respectful, which isn’t so bad! 🙂

Daily Photo – The Lights in the Mosque

I was at the main mosque in Abu Dhabi for about four hours before I eventually came to the Very-Obvious-In-Retrospect idea, hey I can actually go INSIDE. As with most mosques, there is a tremendous number of shots from the outside and the courtyards. But you can go inside most of them anytime (as long as it's not during the call to prayer). Just slip off your shoes and go inside for a wander! I've never had any issues at all… very friendly people!

The Lights in the Mosque

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2016-02-12 15:19:10
  • CameraH5D
  • Camera MakeHasselblad
  • Exposure Time2.5
  • Aperture16
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length28.0 mm
  • Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

European Photo Walk Announcement Yay!

I’m doing TEN (count ’em 10) free photo walks across Europe… also a few special day-long workshops. Wanna see the list of places? Come check out the new site at 80stays.treyratcliff.com!

See your city? Tell your friends! 🙂

These photo walks are family friendly events and all are welcome. Bring a friend or two! 🙂 Anything from a mobile phone to a DSLR will do swimmingly. I share lots of tips and tricks, do Q&A, and more… even better, we get to roam part of the city taking photos together. Come on out – I can’t wait to meet you! 🙂

Walking about the Sorbonne in the evening

Apple may be dead to me but Aurora still has my heart!

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICIAL JURISDICTION OF TREY RATCLIFF IN REGARDS TO THE SEEMINGLY UNRESOLVED MATTER OF AURORA HDR, SUCH OFFICIAL JURISDICTION NEITHER BEING OFFICIAL NOR A JURISDICTION.

IN REGARDS to ARTICLE (also known in common world wide web language as a BLOG POST) that MAY contain the words: “Apple is Dead To Me”

DATELINE: SAN FRANCISCO. I, Trey Ratcliff, hereby being of sound mind and body, understanding that these two aspects of the aforementioned are held in dispute by many authorities and experts, he, himself, speaking in the third person, furthermore hereby declares his unfettered support of Aurora HDR for the Computer In Question (Hereby toafter referred to APPLE MACINTOSH or derivatives thereof, including the latest manifestation of the APPLE MACINTOSH line of computers, albeit slower and sillier and donglier) and forthrightly denies moving back to Previous HDR Program in Question (hereforafterknown as PHOTOMATIX, which is a program that Windows users must tirelessly suffer, until said AURORA HDR is completed for MICROSOFT WINDOWS PROGRAM).

Furthermore, Trey Ratcliff (TR) does not claim any knowledge of an exact date for which AURORA HDR will be made for MICROSOFT WINDOWS computers. But he welcomes that day. TR has weekly conference calls with MACPHUN SOFTWARE (MS, not to be confused with MICROSOFT which often uses the acronym MS, but that is not recognized by this textual body), with which he partners on AURORA HDR. Even though the aforementioned may have written an article-post (Known in AOL Browser-device as a BLOG POST) entitled “Apple is Dead To Me,” it does not indicate that TR does not use MS for HDR on APPLE MACINTOSH or its various un-MAGsafed derivatives. The following paragraph will no doubt clarify.

Many INTERNET denizens, including such entities as 4CHAN and REDDIT and COMPUSERVE ALT-DATING GROUPS have made reference to the controversial BLOG-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me.” The “Me” in this case is indeed TR (In the future to be referred to a “Trey Ratcliff”). Many Denizens may have indeed read the headline, but failed to read the actual article written by “Trey Ratcliff”, in which he details a rather convoluted DROPBOX (like “Microsoft Briefcase” that actually works for those familiar with PRODIGY) system that includes using MICROSOFT WINDOWS MS OS to do all of his photography work, however carving out DROPBOX (“MSDOS Briefcase”) as a means for transporting (over world-wide-web) certain files to his MACINTOSH system, upon delivery when he utilized AURORA HDR to process said photos, and then putting them back in the MS Briefcase (DROPBOX) to be transported across the internet (INTERNET) back to his MSDOS Windows COMPUTER, where he may or may not put them into ADOBE LIGHTROOM (to be known SLOW ADOBE PROGRAM or SAP). He then uses this SAP to receive into its digital innards the final photo which was beautifully adorned using AURORA HDR (High Dynamic Range), a program that was created by MACPHUN MS in partnership with “TR”.

Let it also be known that there are absolutely no discussions to port AURORA HDR to LINUX (LX), which has caused a great tumult amongst 0.1% of the INTERNET, which causes TR and MS and MSDOS no short amount of Linux-bitterness. TR apologizes for any inconvenience caused by operating systems he doesn’t understand.

Let it be known that TR recently visited the HQ of Apple in Cupertino. Upon entry, he had a sudden thought that he should have published the internet-log-article entitled “Apple is Dead to Me” after his visit to said Apple HQ. Many executives withheld a quiet rage and asked TR if he would consider waiting for WWDC (What Would Diablo Create) to see if perhaps something might change his mind. TR contended he maintained a small flicker of hope, as it is the only thing that springs eternal. “Trey Ratcliff” has not completely given up this hope that perhaps Apple will come back. After all, Microsoft did. He also gave an executive of APPLE (A) a Jar of Honey from his bee hives in New Zealand (NZ), where he farms as an amateur beekeeper, as a peace offering. TR harvested it by hand a week prior after a rigorous AURORA HDR session on his A Computer. In return TR received a VISITOR’S STICKER upon his hoodie. A facsimile (FAX) of said sticker is attached in ADDENDUM Q (Addendums A-P hereby being occupied by all the places TR has misplaced his DONGLES).

In case any of the above is unclear, let it forhitherwither be known that “TR” (TR) uses Aurora HDR on MAC (intosh) computers via a modern-day MICROSOFT BRIEFCASE also known to Internet Citizens as DropBox. For Further Explanation, please see magazine-online-article known in TCP (IP) language at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/2017/02/10/switching-from-mac-to-windows/

/EOL


As a gesture of goodwill to Apple users worldwide… for a limited time you can save $30 off the Aurora HDR (for Macs) Bundle. It contains Aurora HDR 2017 and my newest (and arguably best) HDR tutorial. Grab it now!

Horse Play in the Water

Get a Pixel Phone!

These Google Pixel phones are great. Note Google didn’t pay me or anything to say this… I even bought a 2nd one for my wife and she loves it too. I find it superior to the iPhone in almost every way… and since I Switched from Mac to Windows now I am totally Apple-free! And yes, we’re still working on the Aurora HDR version for Windows! 🙂

Daily Photo – Horse Play in the Water

Heck of a nice photo from a mobile phone eh? One of the best advantages of the phone is I was able to go jogs with it up and down the beach here in Aruba. I saw so many interesting things! And it was so easy to quickly grab with by pressing the power button twice on the side then Vol-Up to grab it. I often didn't even have to look at the viewfinder. I would just “guess” and then edit in Snapseed or on my computer later.

Horse Play in the Water

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-17 15:09:38
  • CameraPixel
  • Camera MakeGoogle
  • Exposure Time1/6000
  • Aperture2
  • ISO57
  • Focal Length4.7 mm
  • FlashAuto, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramProgram AE
  • Exposure Bias

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

New Plotagraph Pro pricing

See today’s photo ? I also made an animated version that turned out great! You can see it over here on Facebook – it should auto-loop!

And if you go over to the Plotagraph Pro page you’ll see they have new pricing including a monthly plan. Give it a whirl… very fun! If you check my Instagram Feed you’ll see I’ve been posting a lot lately 🙂

Daily Photo – Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

On my last night in San Juan, I went around to do a little exploratory fun walk with my friend Scott Jarvie. After moving around and through the town, we ended out by the docks. How pretty eh? It was a nice and moody night with all the clouds that made it even more romantic. I mean, I love a good romantic night with Jarvie.

Ye Olde Pirate Shippe

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2017-01-26 09:02:48
  • CameraILCE-7RM2
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time0.4
  • Aperture4
  • ISO800
  • Focal Length13.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias

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