We all want to take fantastic photos to remember our holidays by, but don’t necessarily want to take bulk camera equipment that you’d have to lug around the place. Lucky for you today’s smartphones – and no, it doesn’t have to be an iphone! – can do an amazing job.

You’ll have some fantastic anecdotes to share from your trip to Cuba, what’s even better is to illustrate your trip is through photos. Photos tell a thousand words! They document where you’ve been, and also capture what made the experience special for you thru capturing a precious moment or quirky detail!

So what are the benefits of smartphone photography?

Sure a DSLR would have higher resolution finish but, today’s smartphones are right up there. On top of that they win hands down on being lightweight, easily portable, easy to set up and you will already be carrying it with you so why not take advantage of it?

If you are not sure how to capture some stunning travel photos with your iphone here are some pointers.

Treat it as you would your camera

iPhone photography is not always taken seriously. Whilst you don’t need the same level of preparation with an iphone as you would with a camera, you do still need to take some pre-cautions to ensure a great photo, like keeping still as you take the photo.

Walking as you shooting or moving your arms about ends up producing a low-quality focus, poor composition, shaky pictures. It is important to remember to stop, hold the phone still then shoot.

Remember to treat the iPhone the same way that you would standard camera, and you can construct your framing and point of focus for much better results.

Basics of composition made easy

Composition is always key. The best thing is that iphones have a camera setting to help you with composition. You just need to go into camera settings and turn a grid on. In the beginning you don’t need to focus on the rule of thirds, all you need to consider is to put the main point of interest on one of the lines, and you will end up with a naturally balanced picture.

Apart from that, just like with a camera, the same rules apply with an iPhone in terms of looking for lines or shapes that draw the viewer in.

Use all of the frame

It’s important to fill the frame with what you’re interested in. To ensure that you keep the image quality, it’s better if you are close to the subject you are photographing rather than zooming in. As the iphone has a digital zoom, it actually lessens the picture quality when you use it.

If you zoom or crop, the picture will end up looking slightly fuzzy, with and will lose the colors.

Tell the whole story

What I mean by this is to think of your whole adventure as a novel with the individual images as chapters. After all you are taking your viewers on a journey, so don’t limit yourself to one or two great destination shots, take pictures all the way, after all travel photography is about showing adventures.

Try to give a photo a sense of place, a sense of scale, a sense of local character. Take photos from the window of your plane, train or car. Include windows and airplane wings to give people who can’t be there with you a sense for what it’s like in real time!

Think about this: “What is it about the place that inspires me as a person?”, and then try to illustrate that with your picture. Sometimes that might be a series of details in a place that you can then put on your social media feed as a little set of pictures.

What also gives a sense of being there is using different formats: ‘square’, ‘panorama’, etc. They give a different perspective and a different sense of scale.

Please Avoid The Cliché Tourist Shots

Don’t be a copycat! Create your own shot and capture your own experience with your photos. Unless you want to create a comic take on a cliché like Celeste Barber does… At least we can have a laugh about it then.

Let’s face it, we all have seen the classic cars and the colourful buildings of Cuba. They are the first shots we think of when Havana comes to mind.

So how do you take original shots?

When we visit some of the tourist destinations on our travel photography tours, you can think of capturing a different perception, different angle or take use of water puddles and the like. We will also take you to places where tourists may not venture to make your story completely unique!

Get the Perfect Exposure

Exposure means the level of brightness in a photo. When a photo is overexposed – meaning it’s too bright, the colors looked washed out, or underexposed – meaning it’s too dark, the picture will lack detail.

A perfectly exposed photo, however, has a beautiful amount of detail. How do you get a beautiful amount of detail in your iPhone photos?

You use HDR.

HDR is especially useful for travel photography, because no matter the lighting condition, you will always walk away with great photos.

Make sure you turn the Auto HDR off and also that you turn the option on for keeping the normal photo as well. To navigate this you need to go into your Settings – Camera tab. This way you will get the normal photo and your HDR photo and you can pick the one you like best.


You’d do this with your camera! And now you can do it with your smartphone too! If you tap on the screen when you’ve got your composition set, a little box appears: that’s the point of focus. Focus is really important, because you want the object that you’re most keen on to be sharp. It’s important to tap that.

The added bonus with iphone photography is that you can also test different exposures easily. Just slide your finger up and down to see which exposure setting will give you the exposure that matches what you’re seeing. Often, when you focus on something that’s dark, the rest of the screen will go white, and vice versa. It’s not complicated on a smartphone. It’s intuitive.

Make it Personal

We have touched on the technicalities, now let’s add some personality. When you are telling a story, your story or other people’s story, you want to evoke an emotional connection with the audience. The best way to achieve this is to include people in your photos.

Include your travel companions, yourself, the people of the place you are visiting. It gives a personal touch and makes your photo story a lot more relatable.

Experiment with apps

Once you took the perfect picture, it is time to get creative! If you want to…

There are plenty of different apps to use with an iPhone to apply different effects to your images. Slow Shutter Cam allows you to do a blur effect. PhotoSplit allows you to do multiple exposures, so you could do seven pictures layered on top of each for fun results. Or create a montage of four photos in one picture to tell a story. Works well for your Instagram feed. Circular Tiny Planet is great fun for doing pictures where it looks as if you’re standing on top of a globe, or if you want to create funny circular effects in rooms.

Post-production still matters

Yes! You can still play around with Lightroom – in fact they have an app so you don’t even have to transfer your photo to the laptop! It’ll help you play with things like contrast, selectively altering different areas or creating a work of art by adding some drama to skies.

All in all the aim of the game is to have fun and experiment.

Make sure you have plenty of storage space and lots of battery power!

Are you ready to capture Cuba through your lens? Join us on our upcoming tours!