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Rainbow Mountain Selfie

Machu Picchu Photo Tips

Don’t underestimate the capabilities of your smartphone! Here are some easy tips to follow for taking photos with your smartphone at any of your destinations, including Machu Picchu!

Photographs tend to be the best way of documenting your travels. They can tell a story, last a lifetime and are great for sharing. While a DSLR camera would certainly offer the best image quality, those looking to carry less weight during their excursions may find it more practical to use a smartphone.

Before your trek make sure to explore your camera’s capabilities. Using manual mode, practice with your Iphone or Android to see how HDR, focus, shutter, lighting, etc. can be tweaked. An easy Iphone trick is to tap the screen, for your focus point and exposure, then drag the sun icon up or down to add more or less light to your photo. Remember, you can always alter additional settings and filters following your trek.

Prepare for low battery life! Whether you’re hiking to Rainbow mountain for the day or taking the 5-Day Salkantay Hike, taking a lot of photographs can use up your battery life fairly quickly. In addition, higher altitude locations tend to drain your battery even faster so it’s important to bring a battery pack or external battery charger with you. Depending on the number of photos you think you’ll be taking, search for a battery pack that can recharge your phone several times.

Image quality. Clean your lens before you head off the beaten path! This will greatly increase image quality. It’s better not to zoom in on an image. A typical smartphone has 8 megapixels and when you zoom you lose pixel resolution and the fine details within an image. It is best to crop a photo following your trek in order to have a high-resolution photo.

Charge up everything if you have the chance. If your trek includes a stop in Aguas Calientes before arriving at Machu Picchu, make sure to charge up your phone, battery pack, and any additional electronics you may want to carry with you. It’s good to have the extra battery life for those spontaneous llama selfies. If you return to Aguas Calientes, this is a good time to backup your photos.

Be safe and have fun! Sometimes there can be a lot of people at Machu Picchu. The paths around Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu can be steep and narrow so you should always stop walking before taking any photographs.  It is just as important to have your full attention while walking as it is to take a photo.

By Katherine Franks

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