Design beautiful travel memories on the go

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Taking snapshots is everybody’s favorite way to create lasting travel memories. Real cameras, editing tools, and other professional equipment are very expensive, not to mention extremely heavy to carry around with you. Nowadays we have access to all this mobile technology, so we are able to take pictures at any time, at any place. Smartphones are getting more powerful every year and can be used for all sorts of applications. With the help of entirely free tools, you can improve your pictures and make stunning images to savor for life.

Take totally different types of pictures

The essential thing for visual travel memories is taking pictures (or videos)! There are many ways to improve your photographing skills. What I like to do, is take a bunch of different types of pictures. Here are some of my ideas:

  • A cut-in is a picture where you only show a small part of an object, maybe only some key details or patterns. The same effect can be achieved by zooming in, without losing the quality of the shot.
  • Mid/Wide-shots are photos of either a whole object or half of it. Think of a person, an animal, a house or a car.
  • An extremely wide-shot is a picture where you capture a full landscape, a skyline or some other kind of scenic view.

By combining these different types of shots, you’ll create an interesting visual. Try changing your position and angle, and always add a margin around your motive of choice (just don’t fully center it!).

Find the right tools for your very purpose

There are so many amazing free applications out there for editing your pictures and videos and creating intriguing compositions. The only way to figure out which one works for you is by downloading them and testing them out. Once you’ve decided on your favorites, delete the others to free up some space on your device. Either pick one general tool that can do everything you need (both editing and stitching), or find a few specialized apps. The latter might take more time but will eventually lead to a much better result.

Edit your pictures only as much as needed

Although smartphones are great for many reasons, their cameras usually aren’t of the highest quality. Pictures taken on phones can be blurry, too dark, too pale or reddish. The first editing step is to remove those flaws. You want to keep it ‘real’, not create a fake world. Look at the work of others, but don’t copy them - you want to make your travel memories personal and unique. Only continue to edit if you really want to use the photo for artistic purposes.

Professional photo editing at your finger tip with Snapseed

Snapseed (recently bought by Google) - which is free for both iOS and Android, is one of my favorites. Of course, there are endless possibilities and ways to improve your pictures, but here are my preferred methods:

To tune my pictures, I increase the ambiance, which improves the colors, mid-tones, and contrast. Depending on the light of the shot, I play with the warmth, pushing more into the blue or the red. To improve only parts of my pictures (for instance, a dark face on a bright background), I use the ‘selective’-option. This way, I can change brightness, contrast and saturation of one part without touching other areas. Of course, if your image is tilted, you can easily use ‘rotate’ to fix that. My finishing touch is vignetting most pictures - which darkens the borders and sets the focus to the center.

screenshots of snapseed on ios

Create stunning postcards in just minutes with FotoRus

My other application of choice is called FotoRus. This one is also free on iOS and Android, and it’s a great tool to create artistic postcards.

It all starts by selecting a limited number of images, I recommend three to five for the best optical result. To keep it interesting, I pick photos that match visually but have different styles (close, mid, or far as mentioned above). Then, to create an appealing collage, you can choose between different arrangements, zoom, rotation and even border style. The main idea is to portray your travel memories in a beautiful way, telling a short story. Now it’s about adding your personal spin, and attracting the viewer’s attention! Adding filters, overlays, improve the contrast and colors in a way that represents the experience’s emotions. A triste experience might come out rather dark or sepia, while a happy event ought to be more colorful. Finally, you can add text if you feel the need to explain what exactly you are portraying.

screenshots of fotorus on ios

In this day and age, anyone who wants to, can take and edit amazing pictures, and portray their travel memories. There are endless tools on the market, and so many possibilities to edit photos to your liking. It’s a challenge to create something unique and personal - albeit a fun one. You want to make sure that YOU like what you’re making, that’s the most important part. Think of what others like later! So now with some information in your pocket, go ahead - get out, and capture some amazing pictures to share with the world!