5 Simple Tips For Taking Killer Instagram Travel Photos

When you're visiting a beautiful new place, it's perfectly natural to want to capture the moment with a camera to take it home with you -- or Instagram it, so you can share it with your friends immediately.

Well, creative tourism startup Foto Ruta (that's Spanish for "photo route") is here to help optimize this combination of exploration and photography. The company provides informational tours that come with tips about how to capture each destination on camera. Currently, they run tours in Buenos Aires, Barcelona, London and Santiago, as well as pop up events in New York City.

Sound like fun? We thought so. But, if you can't get to one of these destination spots, don't fret -- Foto Ruta gave The Huffington Post a few tips for taking photos on smartphones, no matter where you are. And the photos below -- all taken with iPhones on Foto Ruta tours -- are stunning examples.

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Create a mood. Smartphone photography is as much about creating an image as capturing it. Think about what mood you want to convey in your picture, and then select an app or filter that enhances it.

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Move your body and think about viewpoint. Using creative angles to frame your shot will take an ordinary photo to new heights. Think of using a bird's-eye perspective, or get down to street level.

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Get close. Really close. The iPhone and most Androids have increasingly improved technology for capturing detail and focusing up close. Test the limits of your camera, and try some macro shots. You’ll be impressed with what you can create.

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Crop instead of zooming. Using your smartphone’s digital zoom can result in a loss of quality. If you’re far from your subject, take the shot and crop later.

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Look for the light. The lower the light, the more grainy the photo will be. So if you want a crisp picture, look for where the light is -- and play around with it.

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Amalfi Coast
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The Champagne Bar at La Sirenuse. From: Amalfi Coast >

Photo: David Cicconi
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People-watching at Bondi Beach. From: 101 Places Every Traveler Should Know >

Photo: Troy House
Grand Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, HI
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This pool on the island of Maui features the world’s first water elevator—swimmers are lifted to the surface in a sealed chamber. From: World’s Coolest Pools >

Photo courtesy of Grand Wailea
Havasu Falls, AZ
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Water streams across the sunburnt rock face of the Grand Canyon's south rim, collecting in a pool 100 feet below. From: America's Best Swimming Holes >

Photo: iStock
U.S. 1, Florida Keys
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From Key Largo to Key West, this overseas highway strings the islands together like beads. From: America's Most Scenic Roads >

Photo: M. Timothy O'Keefe / Alamy
Hot Springs, Central Florida
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Blue Springs State Park, 40 minutes from Orlando, is favorite winter escape for scuba divers, snorkelers, and manatees alike. From: Best Warm-Weather Family Adventures >

Photo: M. Timothy O'Keefe / Alamy
Sliding Rock, NC
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Smoothed by centuries of flowing water, this 60-foot boulder shoots bathers into the frigid Carolina mountain waters like they have buttered backsides. From: America's Best Swimming Holes >

Photo: George and Monserrate Schwartz/Alamy

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