7 Tips for Taking Great Photos with Your iPhone
March 10, 2021
We've all heard the saying, "The best camera is the one you have with you," so I want to share some tricks that'll help you take better photos with your iPhone. We live with these devices, so here's how to always be ready to take incredible images.
Keep your lens clean
Your phone spends its life going in and out of your pocket, bag, and hand, and along the way, it picks up all manner of dust and fingerprints. The lens on your phone is pretty small, and you'd be amazed at what a difference it makes when it's clean. A quick wipe with a lens cloth or even a clean t-shirt will work wonders.
Use the grid to help with composition
A classic principle in photography is the "rule of thirds." By arranging key elements of your image on the intersection points of a 3x3 grid, you can create images with a balanced and natural composition.
Your iPhone has a built-in tool to help with this! You can turn on grid lines that will help you. To switch the grid on, go to "Settings," choose "Camera," and slide on "Grid."
Think about your focus
The iPhone has fantastic autofocus and face-tracking features, so for the most part, you can point and shoot, and it'll do the heavy lifting for you. However, there may be times you want to focus on something in a different part of the frame.
Simply tap the screen to tell the phone where you want to focus. If you want to lock this focus point, press and hold it until "AE/AF LOCK" appears at the top of the frame. You can then recompose your shot, and the focus will stay fixed at that point.
Take control of the exposure
Your phone will assess the whole image and make the best guess at the correct exposure. Cameras can make mistakes, though. For example, if you're shooting a bright scene or a backlit subject, the camera will likely underexpose the scene. Otherwise, you may want to adjust the exposure for creative effect.
To manually adjust the exposure, tap the screen until you see the yellow focus square. There will be a little sun icon to the side of that square. If you hold and drag the sun, you can manually adjust the exposure, making your photo lighter or darker.
Get professional-looking results with Portrait Mode
Newer iPhone models have a feature called "Portrait Mode" that uses software to produce the beautifully blurred backgrounds you'd normally only be able to get with expensive cameras and lenses.
To use Portrait Mode, slide the camera view over to "Portrait." You may see a notice to stand closer or further away from the subject, so adjust accordingly. Simply compose your shot and click. The phone will do all of the hard work and produce a beautifully blurred background. And even better? You can adjust the level of blur after you've taken the image! Press "Edit" and then press the fancy "f" at the top left. You can then adjust the slider to increase or decrease the blur effect.
Try not to go overboard with it as the results can start to look a little unnatural if you push it too far. If you press the hexagon icon next to the "f," you can also experiment with different lighting options—together, these features can help you create images that really pop!
Shoot with the volume buttons
This little-known trick is particularly helpful if you're taking a photo in landscape format. Not only can you take pictures with the button on your screen, but you can also use the volume buttons on the side of your phone.
This means you can safely hold your phone with two hands, which will reduce the risk of camera shake and make sure your photos are super sharp!
Use Burst and Live Photos to capture the perfect moment
If you're shooting an action shot, you won't want to miss the most crucial moment, so your iPhone gives you two great ways to capture the perfect image.
First, by pressing the shutter and dragging your finger to the left, you can capture a burst of frames. You can then select the best one (or more) and delete the rest.
Another option, and one I use a lot, makes use of "Live Photos." The idea here is you can press and hold a photo and see a short snippet of live-action. However, not many people know that you can change the key photo within that sequence. When editing an image, press the leftmost icon (it looks a little like a dartboard), and you'll see the sequence of images with the current frame selected. If you drag the white square left and right and press "Make Key Photo," you can select which frame of that sequence you want to use for the image. This is a fantastic way to fine-tune your photos. I find this particularly useful if someone in the image blinks. Simply move the keyframe forward or back until you find the perfect shot — magic!