#CapturingVegas With Your Smartphone
A few months ago, my husband, Zach, and I traveled to Las Vegas for a wedding. (Be sure to check that blog post out here) While most of our trip was spent with the bride and groom, we did manage to sneak away for one day to explore the Las Vegas Strip. (Find that blog post here.) My photo gear is pretty heavy, so I decided to leave it in the safe in our room for the day while we hit the town. That meant that my only tool for photographing our day's adventure was my iPhone 7 Plus. I was asked to share some tricks that I used to capture all of the awesome sights in Vegas using only my smartphone!
1.) Watch the Light
Everyone has their own preference for the amount of light in their photos, but I prefer clean, even lighting for the majority of mine. So when I look to take a photo, I pay attention to where the sun or light source is before I start snapping away. A big misconception that a lot of people have is - the more sun, the better the photo - but not necessarily so. Of course, Vegas is bathed in gorgeous sunlight during the day, so it can be a challenge to work around sometimes. Look for shade and try and keep the sun behind you when possible. This is especially good for those selfies we all love.
2.) Get Creative
If you can't find even, "pretty" lighting - don't be afraid to get creative and work with the light you have! There is all kinds of unique architecture that you won't find anywhere else in the world. It's just begging to be captured in interesting ways! I loved the detail on the Venetian and wanted to remember the way the light fell through the decorative pillars. So I went with more of a silhouette look for this photo of Zach and our friends. While eating dinner at Gordon Ramsay Steak in Paris Las Vegas, Zach and I used the mirror above us at the bar to get a unique photo of our time there. Plus that drink was delicious! Sometimes you just have to think outside the box!
3.) Use What You've Got
I'm certainly no expert on all the different types of smartphones out there, but I do know a thing or two about iPhones. I currently have the iPhone 7 plus, and with it comes a lot of really awesome features that can help you get some fantastic shots! One handy feature that I love is the iPhone's ability to expose for whatever you want it to - all you have to do is touch the screen where you want it to focus. The iPhone will automatically expose properly for the subject. This is especially helpful in front of windows. I used this feature in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace to take photos of the ornate ceiling. I touched the screen to focus on the window to expose for the sky above. I then took a second shot, this time touching the screen to focus on the ceiling just to the right of the window. My iPhone adapted to the change and exposed for the light inside. You can also hold your finger down to lock your focus and then drag your finger up and down to adjust the exposure, making the image brighter or darker as you wish. Just look for the little sun icon. Pretty cool!
I also really like the portrait mode which is currently only available on the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait mode works best in locations with a lot of light, but other than that it is pretty easy to use. It will even give you directions on how far away you should be from your subject before you take the photo. I used this feature to snap a couple quick photos of the Welcome to Las Vegas Sign and to photograph some details around the Venetian.
4.) Use Apps to Add Interest
My personal favorite app to edit my iPhone images with is called Filmborn. It is an app that was created by Kirk Mastin and it is designed to help your smart phone images look similar to film photography. Uhm.. deal! There are several different types of film presets to try out on your images, including a really fantastic black and white preset!
Another app that I adore is called Boomerang from Instagram. If you've never played with this app, you really should check it out! I was hesitant at first, but I have to say, I'm hooked! This app allows you to create mini videos that loop back and forth. It is so fun and it really helps you capture the excitement of Vegas!
5.) Don't Forget The Details
It is altogether way too easy to photograph everything in front of you in Las Vegas, after all - it is all just so incredible! But make sure you remember to pay attention to the little things too. Details add interest and help tell the story of your trip better. And details don't have to be just tiny things, be sure to remember to look all around you - including up and down. Being from Indiana, I loved seeing the red dirt and the dry ground and I was certain to get some photos to remember that. I also really loved the Chihuly ceiling at the Bellagio!
There you have it, my list of five tips for using your smartphone to take awesome photos in Las Vegas. In fact, every photo in this blog post was taken on my phone! If you are thinking about visiting Vegas, please do and check out some of these deals in Vegas to help plan your adventure! If you need any recommendations, let me know! I'm happy to help!