You don't need to leave the UK to take spectacular landscape pictures, and you don't need a fancy DSLR either. Here's Daniel Casson to explain why...

Processed with VSCO with a9 preset

We recently took some of the UK’s top Instagrammers away to the fantastic sights and heights of the Lake District, putting the iPhone 6s’s camera to the test against the breathtaking scenery. While we were there we had the chance to grill each of our top social photographers about making it big on Instagram, and how to take some amazing shots in amazing home-grown places.

First up we have Daniel Casson, otherwise known as @dpc_photography_, who’s no stranger to shooting in remote, rural UK areas with beautiful views. But what is it about the great British outdoors that inspires him, and what tips can we all glean from his latest shoot?

“Make them wish they were there”

Daniel’s part of the Peaks Collective, an Instagram account comprised of group of photographers local to the Peak District national park, which means he’s a dab hand at capturing the UK at its picturesque best. Peruse that account’s feed and you’re sure to find plenty of his work, but what exactly is it about the area that inspires him?

“The Peak District is on my doorstep,” he says, “but having people like @ryansheppeck [who created Peaks Collective] to inspire me to get out into it more often makes me realise how lucky I am to have it so close to home. The love of photography joins us together as a group, but the main thing for me is getting out into the countryside and realising how beautiful it is time and time again.

“Every day in the UK countryside can be completely different,” Daniel says. “The weather plays a big part in my photography and seeing the landscapes change with the weather makes it very special to shoot.

“I’ve photographed in pretty much every weather condition, and I’ve never stopped shooting in any of them.”

“I’ve photographed in pretty much every weather condition, and I’ve never stopped shooting in any of them. The only time I would stop is if I felt like I was in danger or in trouble, but I make sure to keep an eye on the weather beforehand, and in any case, changing weather is the best time to get a really good shot – you don’t get that kind of natural drama in many other countries.”

And that drama is only amplified by the unique look of all of Daniel’s shots. “I needed something to help me stand out,” he tells us, explaining how he arrived at his work’s distinctive aesthetic. “I’m a landscape and nature photographer so I want to keep the photo as natural as possible, but the way I edit includes a lot of dark and blue tones. That’s because I think this effect gives it a nice faded film feel to it.”

You can see the results of Daniel’s Vodafone-powered Lake District shoot simply by scrolling up and down this page, along the way he’s made his shots unique with the introduction of the red hat and coat, but if you want to take similarly awesome mobile shots when you’re out and about in the UK, you’re going to need Daniel’s top tips…

“People always want to shoot in the most popular locations,” he tells us, “which is great, but my main tip, and what I try and do when I photograph these places, is to be original and photograph wherever you are from a totally different perspective. This shows creativity and it’ll make your work really stand out from the rest. In fact, if I want to shoot a new location I always prepare by Googling the area to try and get familiar with it.

“I always prepare by Googling the area to try and get familiar with it…”

“That said,” he adds, “if I’m not used to the area it pushes me as a photographer. And the only way I am going to get better and grow is to push myself and try new things. At the end of the day, my main aim for when people see my photos is to make them wish they were there.”

Thankfully, the UK countryside has those enviable vistas in spades – it’s just about getting out there with your smartphone and snapping away. And remember: the early bird catches the worm:

“I like to photograph in the morning when the sun is rising,” Daniel says in closing. “It can be a very special time of the day, and it’s even more special if I’m the only one around, witnessing it alone and being fortunate enough to capture it.”

Taking your smartphone camera abroad? You can now roam and use data without worry in a whole heap of international destinations. Click here to find out more. Prefer to stay in the city? Here’s how to get the best of any urban sprawl on camera.