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Practical Tips to Improve Your Travel Photography – They’re easy and effective too!

August 23, 2017

As the technology that goes into cameras improves, one could be forgiven for thinking that you can just sit back and relax after the photo’s taken, and by all means, you can.

Or you can do better without too much effort!

If you would like to take your holiday snaps to the next level, we suggest choosing your favourite few and running them through a program on your computer or phone to really bring out the best them.  It’s incredible what a difference spending just a minute or so on each photograph can do.

How we Bring Out the Best in our Photos

Let me start by saying, we’re not professional photographers (obviously, right?), we’re just a couple that enjoy capturing our holiday memories and sharing them with you.

We have however picked up a few simple tricks along the way to bring out the best in our photos and figure, if we can improve our photos, so can you.

Tap into Instagram

Regardless of whether we choose to post a photo to Instagram or not, this free app is our go-to editing tool.  If you see a photo on our blog, chances are we’ve run it through the photo editor on there.

Just Editing?  Flight mode’s your friend

If you’re not wanting to post your photo to Instagram, just flick your phone into flight mode.  This will disrupt your internet/data connection and when you go to publish the photo, you’ll find Instagram saves the new copy in your photo folder without publishing it to your feed.

Make sure you remember to delete out the queue though, otherwise the photos will automatically publish when you’re next online.

Lux it up!

Instagram followers a variety of different filters and though we played around with them when we first started using the app, we use one almost exclusively now – and it may be one you’re not even aware of.

Before doing anything else, I play around with the Lux option, testing out the impact that it will have on my photos.  Generally notching it up results in crisper, brighter photos with improved exposure.

From there, I sometimes go on to make additional edits, but often find that’s all a photo needs.

The ‘lux‘ filter sits apart from the rest in the app – you’ll find it on the top of the first editing screen (look for the sun icon), as opposed to sitting in the carousel below.

Other Useful Edits

If you flick over from ‘Filter’ to ‘Edit‘ on the bottom of your screen, you’ll find a series of options that all you to change one element at a time.

Not all photos require changes to be made here but I’ll sometimes use the following:

Brightness – If your photo was snapped in a dark location, a touch of brightness can make a world of difference to the details in it.

Structure – This can add definition to your photos, bringing out the details that might otherwise go unnoticed.  It’s especially well suited to architectural features and water but doesn’t always do well in photos with people.  Bumping up the structure generally increases the contrast and sharpness of an image so it can work wonders on the right photo – if you’ve already used ‘lux’ then be mindful of how much ‘structure’ you add on top.

Warmth – I don’t generally play with this setting but do find some cameras tend to produce colours skewed to being either too warm or cool (my GoPro for example), in which case I’ll do my best to correct it.

Saturation – Another one that I dont tend to use if I’ve ‘lux’ed my photos but I will sometimes amend the saturation (both up and down) so ensure my images are bright but close to life.

Vignette – Sometimes when you use ‘lux’ on your photos, some of the shadows are removed.  If this happens, I’ll sometimes add darkness back to the corners of my photo using this option.  It can also add a bit of variation to an otherwise plain blue sky and bring clouds to life.

Sharpen – Again, some cameras tend to take softer photos, in which case I’ll use the sharpen option to bring definition to the details should the picture need it.

You can do a lot by altering your photos but we always try to keep them as close as possible to what we saw with our own eyes.  Because we’re not professional photographers, we tend to shoot on ‘auto’ which means we don’t get the most out of our cameras generally speaking – by following these easy editing steps though, we find it pretty easy to bring life to our snaps and hope you’ll be able to too!

If you’re keen to see the difference some simple editing in Instagram can make, check out these examples.

As always, click to enlarge (if you want to see the details) – the first of each is the original photo and the second is the edited version.

We recon it’s worth spending a few extra moments to bring out the best in our photos – what do you think?


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An easy guide to editing travel photos on your mobile phone.  Instagram is your secret editing tool to bring out the best in your vacation snaps! An easy guide to editing travel photos on your mobile phone.  Instagram is your secret editing tool to bring out the best in your vacation snaps!

Must have apps planning tech stuff Travel Gear

How to Avoid Loneliness on the Road: HerePin – Your Essential Travel App

February 11, 2017
Skaftafell Glacier Iceland winter South East Iceland Itinerary Ring Road Kathmandu driFILL jackets

Travel opens endless doors, of that there is no doubt.  It pushes comfort zones, challenges complacency and rewards in all manner of ways.

When you travel, you come to realise that people the world over are remarkably similar, whilst also reminding you of how fortunate you are to be in a position to travel in the first place.  Spending a significant period of time overseas makes you that little bit prouder of your heritage and culture but leaves you with a newfound understanding and appreciation for different ways of life.

Travelling obviously makes up a large part of our lives and though we adore discovering new spots and the personal growth that comes with new adventures, nothing impacts us quite like the people we meet on our adventures.

Sounds pretty amazing right!  Could it get any better?

Well, yes.

Travelling can also be hard – sometimes you get lost, run out of money or end up in an uncomfortable situation – it is after all, still life.

Sometimes when you move on from place to place (and everyone around you is doing the same thing), you feel like you’re surrounded by people but know no one.

Whilst at times it’s easy to meet likeminded travellers and locals, other times, it can be difficult to connect with people.  Though every traveller sets off with great intentions, sometimes it just ends up being difficult to meet others on the road – that’s where HerePin comes in!

HerePin travel app

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles” – Tim Cahill

HerePin is an app sets out to connect likeminded travellers on the hunt for information, local insight and friendship – it’s like the Tinder of the travelling world, but with none of the seediness (and the added bonus of being a great resource of helpful hints).

Designed in New Zealand, a country know for its entrepreneurial spirit and desire to see the world, the team has managed to centralise exactly what travellers need.

HerePin travel app

Getting started is easy – just download the HerePin app for free, sign yourself up (we linked our account to Facebook so the photos load automatically – too easy!) and away you go.  You can choose to either set your location automatically or plug in a specific spot (maybe where you’ll be travelling next so you can start gathering some tips?) and straight away, you’ll be able to connect with others locally and see past pins that have been dropped, offering local insight.  If your question hasn’t already been answered, go ahead and ask one yourself.

It’s almost like having your own personalised travel guide in your pocket for free!

HerePin travel app

Right now the majority of users are based in New Zealand but global use of the app is spreading and with more users comes more information and opportunities to connect in meaningful ways.  This app functions based off its community so jump in and join us – let’s get it cranking!

Whether you’re a traveller off to check out somewhere new, a local looking to make some new friends or someone that’s just moved to a new city and on the hunt for the best hidden treasures, HerePin will help you on your journey.


How to Avoid Loneliness Whilst Travelling - HerePin App

This post was brought to you in collaboration with HerePin.  As always all thoughts are our own.

Though there aren’t many users in Abu Dhabi yet, we’re signed up for HerePin and love it.  Don’t forget to connect with us on the app  if we’re in the same part of the world (we’re @ExploringKiwis).  We can’t wait to see you out there!

blogging Must have apps tech stuff

Track your travels with ‘Been’

March 4, 2016

I love travelling.  I love technology. I also love cats, but that’s a whole different post…

If you’re anything like me, there’s always room on your phone for another handy travel app and Been (Apple|Android) may be worth adding to your collection.

This handy free app allows you to mark off the countries that you’ve visited (+ the states in the US) so you’ll have an easily updated record of the amazing places you’ve seen.  I must admit that I get a little too excited at the prospect of adding another tick to my map, enjoy looking reminiscing over the fantastic times we’ve had whilst out exploring and can’t help but think of our next potential travels when I look at my map!

Have you used Been before?  What are your must-have apps?

blogging tech stuff

The Best Little Photo App!

January 26, 2016

Kia ora everyone!

This wee post is for the bloggers out there that swing by Exploring Kiwis.  I’ve fallen in love with a great photo editing app and wanted to give it a shout out as, chances are, you might benefit from it too!

A few days ago I downloaded a couple of simple photo editing applications on my iPhone – two got deleted almost right away, but Typorama has really struck a chord with me and is likely to become one of my go-to apps for preparing photos for the blog.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 6.42.23 AM

So far, I’ve only played with the text feature but I’ve found it simple to use whilst offering a wide range of interesting and unique text options.

Typorama couldn’t be any easier to use; simply open the app, select your photo, and double click to add your text.  From that point, you can scroll through the different text ‘themes’ and click each one to bring up alternative versions of your chosen text.

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I paid the NZD4.49 price tag to remove the watermark and unlock some additional feature but I love that they give the option to explore the app for free initially… all too often I’ve paid for an app that I’ve gone on never to touch!

If you’re looking for an app to bring a unique touch to your photos, I’d suggest checking this one out.  Likewise, if you have any recommendations, please share them with us in the comments…

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