The Best Island Photos From Instagram

Instagram frequently leaves me with a serious case of travel envy, particularly when my dashboard is filled with photos of islands. There they are: fringed with palms, festooned with colorful fishing fleets and bathed in the gold-pink light of sunset. Then come the rocky, overgrown and uninhabited islands, which poke out of the sea just for a photo op. Do they go back to sleep underwater when no humans are around? Perhaps my favorite island photo porn is the aerial shot so you can see every line, curve and undulation of the isle or isles below.

Following are some of the most awesome photos of islands that have popped up on Instagram recently. For more island inspiration, explore the #islands hashtag within the app or browse, which makes use of Instagram’s API so that users can browse photos on their computer.

Kauai, Hawaii

Koh Phi Phi, Thailand

Zakynthos, Greece

Whitsunday Islands, Australia


Key West, Florida

Photo of the Day: raining in Tel Aviv

The rainy day colors and textures of Flickr user Better Nothing Than Almost’s photo caught my eye today. Taken near Tel Aviv, Israel, the blurry drops of water that cling to the window create an impressionist-like effect on the image. I love the hushed color palette, darkening skies and bursts of warm light. It feels eerie yet warm at the same time.

Taken any great travel photos of your own? Why not add them to the Gadling group on Flickr? We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.

10 best photography apps for travelers

Sometimes, your basic camera just doesn’t cut it. With all of the advancing technology we now have, the possibilities for travel photography are endless. Before your next trip, make sure to download these ten photography apps that will help you capture, edit, and share the perfect picture.


Pro HDR is perfect for people who want to take high dynamic range shots without investing in an expensive DSLR camera. It’s also extremely helpful when the scene you’re trying to snap contains a lot of contrast. What’s really useful about the app is that it has a manual mode for you to choose where you want to adjust brightness and darkness in your shot, as well as an automatic mode. Final images are shown almost instantly, and you can save, edit further by adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, warmth, or tint, or discard your finished product. There is also an option to e-mail your photo to others.

Pro HDR is available for Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99. A free version is also available that takes smaller shots. Instagram

This free photo sharing application is extremely popular among travel photographers and those who just enjoy taking pictures. Instagram allows you take a photo with your device, choose a filter to manipulate the look and feel, and then instantly send to Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr. There are tons of mood-altering filters, like 1977, Earlybird, Kelvin, Rise, and Nashville, to name a few.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Free.


TiltShift is a photography app that mimics a tilt-shift lens, transforming photos into miniature worlds. Basically, your photos will appear like small-scale models by manipulating different effects and contrasts, like creating a focus and blurring the surrounding area (as shown right). You can also adjust brightness, color saturation, and contrast and even choose a shaped aperture, such as a dollar sign, heart, or hexagon.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99.


iSynth brings Photosynth to the iPhone and allows users to not only take great photos but also allows viewers to immerse themselves in the photos as if they were actually there. The app transforms photographs into 3-dimensional worlds that people can virtually explore. There are also different “modes” you can use, such as the Orbit Mode, which allows users to circle around the synth as well as move in all different directions on the screen in order to get the desired shot.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Free.


CameraBag is a filter app that uses many different camera and video simulations. The app gives you the chance to choose from a range of different camera styles all in one application, some of which include:

  • Helga- “Square-format toy camera with washed out highlights and old-school vignetting”
  • Cinema- “Dramatic, moody coloring with a widescreen aspect ratio”
  • 1962- “Dynamic, high-contrast black and white from the photojournalism of a bygone era”

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $1.99.


Luminance allows for powerful and professional photo-editing for those on the move. With this app, you can easily add special effects to your pictures as well as edit numerous photos at one time. Filters include white balance, exposure, brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, tone curve, split toning, vignette, colors, and sepia. The app also makes it easy to crop and rotate photos, as well as share them via social media, Camera Roll, e-mail, copy, or print.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.

360 Panorama

360 Panorama is a must-have for anyone looking to take panoramic photos. While many cameras and apps with a panorama feature have users stitch multiple photos together, 360 Panorama allows you to simply pan the camera around the scene that you want included in the picture. Sharing your photos is simple, as well, and no app is necessary for viewing.

Available on Android, iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.


ShakeIt combines modern day technology with old-school photo developing methods as users can watch as their instant pictures are developed slowly. To speed up the process, simply shake the photo. It’ll take you back to the days of dark rooms and photo labs.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. $0.99.


Camera+ is one of the best apps there is for taking high quality photos as the shots appear to come from a SLR lens. With an array of features and editting capabilites, you can literally take the perfect photo. Another useful feature is the ability to set the focus and exposure separately by tapping the screen, allowing you to have the photo come out exactly how you want it. A photo flashlight to brighten photos, a stabalizer to fix blurry pictures, a grid to line up shots, a zoom feature, scene modes, and special effects make the possibilities limitless for your photos.

Available on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. On sale now for $0.99.

Camera Zoom 3

Camera Zoom 3 is perfect for those times when you see the perfect picture you’d love to take but are just too far to get a good shot. This app allows you to zoom in and out up to eight times by simply moving a slider. For clarity and focus, just tap the screen. There is also a useful anti-shake feature as well as an auto-adjust that sets the photo to its best quality.

Available on iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. $0.99. If you’ve got an Android, a similar app you can use is the Camera ZOOM FX, which is on sale right now for $2.99.

iPhoneography: Make your iPhone travel pictures spectacular

It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and this is particularly true when it comes to your travel snapshots. Whether you’re back from a business trip or the family vacation from hell, you can regale your friends and family with stories of cool restaurants or the holiday romance you had… but everyone wants to see your pictures. With today’s technology, you can’t claim you didn’t have a camera with you (assuming you have a smart phone) when you stumbled across that supermodel in the Galapagos. So what if your photography skills are non-existent? There are apps for that!

If you’re reading this on Gadling, it’s likely that you (or someone traveling with you) are going to have an iDevice with them. Truly, the iPhone/iPod Touch has the potential to become the must-have travel gadget. Its camera is so stealth and so versatile that you no longer have an excuse for your photos to be anything less than awesome, even if your vacation is a total bust.

If you haven’t yet checked out the exploding world of iPhoneography, here are a few user-friendly apps that are worth investing in and playing with. Whether you work with one or all of them, it’s not an exaggeration to say that these apps are pretty much guaranteed to improve your travel photos.

Camera + $0.99
If you’re looking to improve your photo game in a single app, Camera+ is a great way to go. This is the app of choice for non-photographers or people who don’t care about the technical side of shooting, but who want to make their images look better. Not only is it user friendly, it’s intuitive and almost impossible to mess up — and it also gives you control over the strength of its filters and effects.

From an operational standpoint, the interface on Camera + makes sense and the lingo they use is understandable while the icons are self-explanatory. One can use Camera+ for both image capture and editing, even if they’ve been shot directly on your iPhone’s camera.

This app lets you shoot and be in the moment and fix any mistakes (exposure being the most common one) after the fact. You can download it now and even try to correct that shot you took long before you read this post. It’s easy also easy to share your creations on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. As a warning: this app has a reputation for being addictive.
AutoStitch Panorama $1.99
AutoStitch Panorama enables your humble iPhone to capture the broadest scenic landscapes and then turn them into modern day postcards. Basically, the clever app lets you take a series of shots with your limited point and shoot lens and then stitches them together into a panorama. If that technology is not cool enough, it also lets you control how seamlessly you want them blended. Here’s a tip: sometimes an imperfect melding of pictures is the best way to go. You can achieve some really cool and artsy images with just a bit of experimentation.

toonPAINT $1.99
If you’ve ever fancied yourself the creative type but just never got around to submitting your portfolio to get into Art School, toonPAINT could be the resolution to all of that angst. It can turn any of the photos taken and/or stored in your iDevice into an illustrated image that you can then color-in as you please. Turn that airport shuttle into a comic or the beach sand into something no one has seen before.

Iris Photo Suite $1.99
Iris Photo Suite is definitely the most advanced of the bunch here, but the key is that it allows you access to over 70 photo effects and then gives you the ability to layer and blend them. This is what turns snapshots into really memorable images. Check out what can happen when you add Iris to the equation after using other apps.

Instagram Free!
A work of art is nothing without its audience. And if you’re itching to share your images with the world via any portal of social media, you should definitely have Instagram in your arsenal. You can take a picture in the app, or add some cool (but limited) filters to an existing photo, caption it and release it to the world via Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Instagram also has its own feed and you can check out what the world wide community of Instagramers is up to. Use location hashtags and who knows? Your photos might be big in Japan, even if you’ve never been there.

Instagram Puts the World in Your Pocket

If you’ve got an iPhone – or are planning to get one when Verizon starts selling the iPhone – chances are you know about Instagram, the free photography app that lets you share your photos with your friends near and far. Like Twitter for photos, Instagram is one of the most popular apps of all time in Apple’s App Store, having captured over 1 million users in less than three months.

Why is Instagram so popular? What Instagram allows you to do is upload photos from your phone, apply one of 14 (and counting) filters, then share them with your followers. You can choose to share your photos strictly within Instagram, or blast them to your accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Posterous, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Within seconds of posting your photos, followers can “like” and/or leave comments. Notch up a dozen or so “likes” within a short amount of time, and your photo may end up on the popular page.

Instagram is simple. And it’s very addictive.

Although the app’s popular page regularly features photos of cozy kitties and posed bathroom mirror shots, some of the best photos that its users share provide a window onto the world. In other words, Instagram feeds the travel porn addiction in real time. A quick look at my Instagram feed as of this writing returned images of the sun setting over Eminönü in Istanbul; a train station in Moscow; a cottage in Bath, England; San Francisco’s Union Square decorated for Chinese New Year; and a snow-capped Mount Fuji. Instagram makes you want to travel and it’s a fantastic way to show off your own travel photos, a fact not lost on National Geographic, Instagram’s first major media brand partner.

If you don’t have an iPhone – but still have wanderlust – several websites, such as, allow you to view the most popular photos of any given moment on Instagram. You can also follow the Instatips Tumblr, a collection of photography tips and Instagram photos curated by Josh Johnson, the self-appointed Instagram guru. But while these websites are handy, there’s nothing like having Instagram – and the world – in your pocket.