Tips and Tricks to Creating the BEST Content Possible from your Smartphone
Written By: Andy Ogg, Editor and Marketing Director – Travel Professional NEWS®
Smartphones have become an everyday thing for nearly all of us. Whether it’s use is for phone calls, which is becoming rare, or if it is used to run your business, the capabilities of these devices have become unavoidable. On top of their powerful computing function, the camera built into today’s smartphone devices is simply undeniably awesome.
In Part 1 of this 3 part series, we discussed the features that most smartphones hold in their camera ability. From standard photos, video, portrait and panoramic shots, we dove into what those mean and what types of content are best suited for each setting. In this next portion we are going to discuss 5 Tips and Tricks to not only capture content but to capture content of high quality to use in your marketing for your Travel Business.
In case you missed Part 1, the theology behind this series is to empower you, the Travel Professional to utilize tools that you have at your disposable to create unique and stunning content for your agency’s marketing and branding efforts. While out exploring our world, a massive opportunity is presented for you to create content that isn’t only unique but will entice your clients to experience the exact content you’ve created and who better to get them there, than you?
DON’T Point and Click
One of the largest mistakes in making high quality content from your travels is to think that any content will work. The truth is that if you want to create eye catching content, you need to put in some work to make it look that way. Pulling out your smartphone and snapping a few photos may suffice but 9 out of 10 times, the pictures will not portray the message you are hoping to share, unless you have an eye for art and photography.
My wife has an amazing skill with her smartphone and to this day, I am amazed at some of the images she captures with it. She has a skill and an artistic eye, where I (and many of you) have to work a bit more for the same quality. Instead of being able to quickly capture content, I must stop and look at things for a bit longer to ensure that it will convey the feel, message and experience that I want to convey.
Landscape is the Only Way
While many applications like Snapchat and Instagram lean themselves to display a “live” video in vertical mode, landscape or horizontal content is far superior. Not only do you capture more of the desired image or video, but landscape content much more options due to the layout. For example, chances are that you may be reading this article in a landscape (horizontal) environment.
Whether it’s your desktop computer, laptop, tablet or even your smartphone, life is better when you have more room for content to display.
Capturing content in landscape mode is easy enough, just rotate your phone to it’s horizontal direction and capture away. Nearly all smartphones nowadays have sensors to sense the direction of the phone and automatically adjust to capture the content in that fashion. However, some phones have a “lock” feature to keep the screen or phone from naturally rotating between vertical or horizontal. If you find yourself having this trouble, I suggest you review your settings and adjust as needed.
Tip: While making landscape (horizontal) capturing your primary method may take a bit of adjusting at first, the content created will be far superior as a result. Train yourself to always lay it out before hitting that capture button!
Angle Makes it Interesting
While we live life at our current height and more often not, stay at that same height when capturing an image or video, moving can make the difference between a good photo and a great photo. Look around you for a different perspective, whether it’s kneeling down to shoot up or even to bring the content into a more interesting perspective or standing on higher ground to capture an overview, elevation and position is the key to capturing good content.
In contrast to moving up and down, moving around can make a huge difference as well. Just a few steps to the right or left can do a lot of things like removing an unsightly object in the background, a parked car or even a harsh light. When creating content to use in the marketing of your Travel Business, make sure to take those extra seconds and look past the “normal” capture to the “possibly great” capture.
Tip: While laying on the ground is never fun, in an upcoming article, I am going to discuss tools that can help you with capturing these unique angles, without having to climb around or dirtying your clothes while out and about.
Lighting. Lighting. Lighting.
This seems to be the most obvious thing to consider but even obvious, it deserves to be discussed as lighting, whether natural or artificial makes content happen. A few questions can help you with determining if the lighting will help or hinder your content:
- Is the light coming from behind or toward the image I’m taking?
- Is there another way to use the light that’s available?
- If you move to the right or left, what happens to the desired image or video?
Tip: Most smartphones have a brightness setting built into the camera function. On the Apple iPhone, you can touch the object that you wish to capture and adjust the brightness when the small sun icon appears. If you slide up on the icon, the image gets brighter and sliding down darkens the image. Samsung, LG and most other manufactures have the same ability so please review your device to learn how to use this very helpful tool.
To Flash or Not to Flash
The LED lights contained in today’s smartphones are insanely bright for their size. In fact, the iPhone X has an LED bright enough to use it as a functioning flashlight when out at night. The flash function of your camera on your smartphone has the ability to control when the flash is used and it should always be considered in your photo or video creation.
First let’s look at the options:
Flash On: Having your flash on means that for every photo or video you capture using your smartphones camera, the flash will automatically turn on. Many professional photographers recommend using the flash at all times during the day. They recommend using the flash to “fill” in dark spots of a daylight photo and provide light to areas of the photo that are creating shadows due to the sun above.
Flash Off: Having your flash off means that it will never turn on, even in the darkest of photo settings. Leaving your flash off can be a great idea if you are attempting to capture a cityscape at night or the moon setting over the ocean. However if you are looking to capture a person or subject at night, the smartphones camera will not have enough light to successfully create an image.
Auto Flash: Quite possibly the most commonly used setting, Auto Flash uses sensors in the camera of the smartphone to decide if more light is needed. In most cases, the flash, when using Auto Flash, will never turn on during the day and will almost always turn on at night or in dimly lit settings.
Like all aspects of creating high quality content from your smartphone, the flash is a feature that should not be ignored. Assuming that Auto Flash will create the best images is simply not correct. In fact, adjusting the settings of your flash, unique to each photo will create the highest quality content.
While the idea of taking photos with a smartphone isn’t groundbreaking, making the most of the effort to create high quality content may be. Spending a little more time reviewing the shot, making an effort to capture the best imagery possible and of course, enticing viewers to engage with will have enormous benefits for your Travel Agency success.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Part 2 of this 3 Part series, in the next and final installment, we will be looking into Tools, Apps and Hardware to Maximize your Efforts. Until next month, get out there are create!