3 Easy Tips for Impressive Smartphone Travel Photography

By Syd Wachs

On the road again? The days of lugging around a heavy camera are over. With the right apps and a smartphone, you can freeze moments in time and edit them to look as captivating as the moment felt.

Here are 3 easy (free!) tips for creating a library of incredible travel photos on your phone.

A yellow car drives through a landscape with canyons.


With good lighting, your photos will be more dynamic and way easier to edit, even if you have an older model of smartphone.

Tip #1: Night or day, get creative about the light source around you. How does it interact with and illuminate your subject?

Tip #2: Pay attention to shadows. How can silhouettes add to your picture?

Tip #3: Hold colored tissue paper or lace over a flashlight or lamp to add texture to your photo.

Travel Photography Apps

A man stands on a rocky ledge looking out at a waterfall.


The Visual Supply Company (VSCO) app has a wealth of features for both taking photos and editing them. In need of some visual inspiration? Check out the “Feed” and “Discover” tabs for endless ideas.

Why it’s great: An impressive in-app full manual camera that includes RAW format. You can also save your custom presets to speed up batch editing.

Easy tip: Play with aperture using the in-app camera to give your photos depth of field.

Price: FREE, but has an affordable membership with more features.


The Unfold app’s professionally-designed layouts highlight one to six photos at a time. They import directly to Instagram stories or your camera roll.

Why it’s great: Create customized mood boards, promos, and more from your photos in less than five minutes. If you have a mix of horizontal and vertical photos, there are plenty of templates that showcase both beautifully. 

Easy tip: For grids, choose pictures that have similar color palettes. Example: if your photos all contain vivid whites, stick ‘em together. Switch the photos around to find a nice visual balance, and then change the grid’s background color to connect them.

Price: FREE. Unfold has 100+ grid collections for a one-time purchase, as well as a membership.

Being able to travel lighter with only your phone enables you to experience more on your adventures. Have fun experimenting with these apps to take your photography game to new heights!