The iPhone and smartphones in general have caused a massive boom in photography worldwide. With each new model, Apple raises the bar in smartphone camera features. Over the past 5 years, smartphone cameras have taken a quantum leap in terms of image quality.
We’ve all seen the commercials that proudly boast “Shot on an iPhone,” but who among us has been able to shoot images that good on their own iPhone? With these iPhone photography tips, you’ll be shooting DSLR-quality images before you know it!
Tips on iPhone Camera Settings
1. Turn the Grid On
The Grid places a 3×3 grid on your phone screen so you can create the ideal composition for your photos. To turn the Grid on, go to your settings, select “Photos & Camera,” look for “Grid,” and toggle it on.
2. Turn off Autoflash
Even though newer iPhones have a pretty solid flash, the last thing you want is to ruin a perfectly good composition with a surprise flash. Just look for the lightning bolt on the camera screen and select “off”. It’s easy to turn on the flash or turn Autoflash back on with the same settings.
3. Enable Auto HDR
HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. Turning this setting on uses multiple exposures to give your camera more information on highlights and lowlights to automatically create a more dynamic photo.
4. Opt to Shoot in RAW
If you really want to shoot in RAW and you have OS 10 or later you can, but you’ll also need a third-party camera app installed to actually capture those images. iPhones do some pretty great work for quick shooting, so this is probably something worth experimenting with only if you can’t achieve what you’re looking to do with the built-in camera features.
Take Advantage of Built-In Features
5. Select Your Shutter Button
If snapping pics by tapping the shutter button on the screen is causing problems with your photos, including a delay (the photo is taken when the screen button is released, not when it’s tapped), try an alternative. You can hold the phone more like a traditional camera and use the volume buttons to trigger the shutter.
If you have earbuds from Apple plugged into your phone, the volume button on those will also trigger the shutter. Apple watches and other peripherals can also be used as remote shutter triggers.
6. Tap to Focus & Lock Focus
If just tapping to focus isn’t working for you (sometimes the phone will refocus after you’ve chosen the subject), you can actually tap and hold to lock your focus and your exposure. Once focus is locked, you can adjust the exposure with a slider.
7. Use Burst Mode for Action or Fast-Moving Targets
Press and hold the shutter button when photo mode is on and your iPhone will shoot in Burst Mode. In the Photos app, you can see the burst as a set of photos, making it easy to select your favorites and delete the rest.
8. Review Live Photos in the Photo App to Adjust the Default Image
Live photos make great bounce or loop videos because the phone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after the photo. If you’re just looking for one key frame, you can find that by editing the photo. When you edit a Live photo, you’ll see a slider at the bottom — just move it to the frame you like and tap “Make Key Photo” and you’re done!
9. Try Portrait Mode
For Portrait Mode, which uses the twin-lens rear cameras, you’ll need at least an iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, or X. Portrait mode puts the subject in focus while giving you a blurred background (or bokeh). It also has lighting mode options to help you achieve your desired look. The portrait mode emulates bokeh, the blurred background effect achieved with shallow depth of field in DSLR cameras.
Don’t forget to try adjusting some of these camera settings in the editing tool of the Photos app after you take photos, too!
iPhone User Guides
iPhone users have probably noticed their phones don’t come with printed user manuals or guides. Instead, User Guides for each operating system are available online directly from Apple. Here are links to the IOS 14 User Guide and guides to the previous 5 versions on Apple’s website;
iPhone Instructional Video’s from Apple
Most iPhone users are unaware of the free training videos available from Apple. Here are some short stunning iPhone photography instructional videos.
If you’re interested in learning more about iPhone photography, we compiled a list of the 5 best photography courses from Udemy.