Riviera Maya

Tips for Great Smart Phone & Social Media Vacation Photos

Planning your next winter getaway? Here are my top tips and tricks for taking great social media photos with your phone.

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I have been taking photos for 25 years and 20 of those years have been travel photos. Within that time I have documented countless resorts and beaches using various cameras and phones and have I always been pleasantly surprised at what can be accomplished without a professional camera. The Samsung and iPhone 6 are perfect for social media as they have optical lenses added. The addition of an optical sense is especially helpful if you like to use filters and want to capture rays of light.

Be sure to check the bonus tip at the bottom for a trick that is almost always overlooked.

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1. Sunrise and Sunset Shots:

Taking photos between 10 am and 4 pm is generally best for capturing a subject with out trying to convey an emotion. Looking at the same subject during a sunset and sunrise, a photo changes completely and the shifting light captures the subject and then adds an emotion. I call sunrises the “greatest show on earth” because they are free to watch and the most beautiful to experience. Morning and dusk are the perfect times to capture the shifting lights across any body of water and with an optical lens, you can point the camera directly into the sun to capture actual rays of light.

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Going by Destination:

If you are in a destination where the sun rises over the sea, this is the best time to dedicate to taking pictures in the morning. For example, in Cancun and Riviera Maya, the sun sets over the land, which means that it goes from light to dark rather quickly without many variances in tones. Because the sun hits the water in the morning, it makes Riviera Maya and Cancun the perfect destination to take great sunrise shots. On the other hand, if I am on the Pacific side, I like to take sunset shots because as the sun sets over the ocean, every imaginable colour and hue is displayed. It’s in this way, I truly rely on the sun and the ocean to dictate my vacation experience.

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2. Overcast vs. Cloudy Day Photos:

I love cloudy days for taking photos, but there is a difference between overcast and cloudy days that dictate where I am going to point my camera.

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Overcast: Think green and red. These days may seem like a non-camera day, but on days with complete overcast, I know I am going to skip the beaches and pools and capture subjects that are optimized by evenly distributed lighting, like gardens and animals. In my experience, green and red hues on smart phones on very sunny days phones can appear washed out and bleed together. But on overcast days, the light is often even and indirect, which allows for richer and clearer greens and reds.

Rainy day? Even better, try to capture some raindrops on leaves.

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Semi-cloudy days:

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These are some of the best days for beach or ocean shots. Like sunrise and dusk, cloudy days can convey drama and emotion, especially if you can capture some light rays in your lens. The shadows and shifting colours are perfect for post shot filtering.

3. Frame it:

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When I am taking a picture, I like to think about where my eye is being led. Am I being directed to look from top to bottom, left to right or up to down? The edges of pools, the line where the beach meets the ocean, a palm tree to one side can all to give a frame or direction to the photo. Pools are often curved, so pool shots look best if one of the pools edges leads my eye to a corner of my screen. Maybe the framing of a shot leads my eye to the center of the photo giving intuitive direction to the background. I like to think out each shot as if I was telling my eye to go in a particular direction.

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I make a point to never take a shot of the resort, beach or pool areas when the umbrellas are down. The photos are so much more inviting if I know there is a spot in the shade waiting for me.

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Stay tuned to the blog and my Instagram, next week I am heading back to Cabo San Lucas to see some amazing resorts and a brand new property that will blow everything you thought about Cabo away!

In the mean time check out some of the other resorts I have been to on Pinterest.

If anyone has any additional ideas and comments for what has worked for them on vacation, please leave me a comment and I promise to try them out!