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5 tips to take stunning photos on your phone from a Local Guide Level 8

Level 4

Even before he was a Local Guide, David M (a.k.a. @Davo_dw) tracked his travels on Google Maps. The Sydney native—who’s been to 57 countries—started starring the places he visited. “I used it as a travel journal for myself,” he says. “And I shared it with my family, friends, and followers on Instagram."


As David discovered interesting spots around the world, he started adding ratings and reviews to help others find off-the-beaten-path places he loved. “I realized I could contribute to other people’s experiences as a Local Guide,” he says.


Though he’s an accomplished photographer, David is not one for lugging a around big, expensive DSLR camera; he’s documented all of his adventures using nothing more than his iPhone. And the resultsmore than 1,800 photos shared on Google Maps—are pretty fabulous. They’ve also helped him reach Level 8 status as a Local Guide.   


Here are David’s five best tips for taking stunning photos on your phone. Try them yourself, and share your favorite shots on Instagram with #OnGoogleMaps!


1. Zoom out for context. “I try to include a lot of background so people have a good idea of the atmosphere of the place,” says David. Instead of focusing on a single building or object, he includes surrounding details that show what’s unique about a location.


IMG-7412.JPGCaption: Bang Pa-In Royal Palace in Thailand

2. Seek out sunsets and sunrises. Photographers swear by the “golden hour,” and indeed, nearly every place looks magical in the early morning or late evening. David says he tries to take pictures during these moments because “it puts a completely different dimension to the place you’re in,” bringing out different shapes and colors that you can only see during those times of day.


IMG-3467.JPGCaption: Sydney Opera House in Australia

3. Skip the filters. David recommends sticking to basic adjustments like contrast, warmth, saturation, and brightness with the goal of making your image true to how the scene really looked. “Filters don’t seem real to people,” he says.


IMG-0305.JPGCaption: Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

4. Turn on HDR. High Dynamic Range photos have more detail in both their bright and dark areas. David, who doesn’t like to edit his photos, says the HDR setting creates shots that are closer a finished product. 


IMG-2493.JPGCaption: State Library of South Australia

5. Give a sense of scale. You’ll notice that David loves to photograph landscapes, and he has a trick to make them look especially awe-inspiring. He recommends including an element in the frame for comparison—for example, showing a person next to a building to show its height. “I like to give a sense of how small we are,” he says.


IMG-9988.JPGCaption: Petra archaeological site in Jordan

Level 8

Wonderful Wonderful Tips @Davo_dw

👍👌 and thanks @LawrenceNYC for sharing 

And Wonderful Photos Specially Petra in Jordan 👍👍👍👍😁

@HelloSamsonR @LucioV @MuhannadK

Level 7

Thanks for the tips! 

Level 8

I agree. The best photo is Petra 😊 @OSAMA


Best regards.

Level 7

Con tal de sentir el momento de la foto, con eso basta. Ya los caracteres tecnicos vienen después. 

Connect Moderator

WOW! You are an inspiration @Davo_dw. I will definitely follow your tips next time I take any photo for maps. And I like your photos a lot.

Thank you for sharing the story @LawrenceNYC

Connect Moderator

@OSAMA, I see Petra in the series of photos. It makes me feel great!

Level 10

WAOOOW Amazing 👏👌👍🕺 Photos, and nice teaching @LawrenceNYC  I like it very much. @Davo_dw Thanks 🙏 a lot! Because of very beautiful photographys sharing with us. @ShafiulB @Kamalhasnainee  I think you also like it very much

Level 10

Great tips and contributions @Davo_dw! Congratulations for your featurette! :D

Level 10

Elegant photos and kudos to David! Definitely agree with the 'Filters aren't real to people' statement. Phone contributions are ace!

Although I never found myself taking photographs during the golden hour...

Level 9

That's really awesome

Level 8

Great tips David!

Keep up the great work.

Connect Moderator

Really great insights that equally apply any types of cameras.


I find my hands are not steady enough, so most of my shots are out of sharp.  How can I improve on this problem?

Level 9

Beautiful photos and useful tips, 

Yes we can do many things with our phone camera especially with iPhone camera. All the photos are really good @Davo_dw.

Thanks @LawrenceNYC to share with us. 

Level 7

Oh my

OMG really stunning photography

Level 7

Wow amazing 👍, Thanks for sharing

Level 10


OSM Level 10
Level 10

Thanks for the tips , hopw it will help each and everyone of us to be abetter photographer

Great Photos Congratulations.

Level 8

helpful tips ✌️✌️👌👌

Level 7

Nice tips

I will read it carefully step by step.


Level 8

the same feeling @SoniaK ;-)

맘에 들어


Level 10

 Wow! Great tips @Davo_dw and @LawrenceNYC thanks for sharing with us.

Level 7

Hey @Davo_dw,
The pictures are really stunning. They are really so good. I love them.
@LawrenceNYC Thank you for sharing the pictures with the community.

Level 7

Hey.., @Davo_dw   

Nice tips.... 👌 

I like it... Useful.. 

Nice and simple tips


Level 7

Wow. nice picture. I have never seen this kind of picture quality.

Level 7

Mycket bra

Level 9

Thanks for sharing @LawrenceNYC, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi has a great reflections.

Level 9

@LawrenceNYCGreat Photos ! Thanks fpr Sharing 

Which Phone did you use to click these photos ?

Hey @LawrenceNYC thanks giving knowledge as a best way contribute . I also Have differen't question as will it be helpfull to become as like u googler


The scale sense is most useful.
All the tips are very useful. Thanks for it.
Level 9

Thanks, @LawrenceNYC for your share. I think , People all over the world will get help and able to take great photos by reading this informative post. 

Definitely it's a helpful post and @LawrenceNYC Thanks again ..:) 

Level 9

Thanks for nice tips. Great idea.

Level 9


Very good and useful tips,that i had never thought

Thanx friend to gave us the useful tips

Level 8

Nice tips, I take pictures using same ways, except for the sunset  shots.

Wow, really nice photography & tips also perfect. Thanks @LawrenceNYC for sharing these nice tips with us and also thanks to brother @DieHeart for tagging me here..!   

 Wonderful Tips , thank you so mush

Level 6

Great advice! Thank you

Level 5

Great advice and time spent to write this, very nice of you

Level 1
Ty my friend
Level 8

Awesome tips, hope it will helps.

Level 8

Very useful post .. @LawrenceNYC Thanks for this nice share!!!

Level 9

nice tips. im trying.

Level 7


Level 8

Awesome tips David M and thank you so much @LawrenceNYC. I am going to follow these strongly. 

Thanks ,

Niraj Bhusal, Local Guides from Nepal. 

Level 8

Great Idea @LawrenceNYC,

Still i am facing problems to take photo by my Huawei GR5 2016

I think the low light problem is effect most photo that taken by such mobile camera like my one.


Again thanks for your nice post

Really remarkable ideas for those who eager to deep photography.