iPhone Photography Tips for Pros
Posted on 17th December 2020 by Mark Condon

Some people think that you can only take good photos if you’re using a professional camera. The reality is that iPhone photography has become so popular that even professionals do it.

So, if you’re not getting the best results yet, here are some iPhone photography tips to help you improve your images.

Take Control With AE/AF Lock

IMAGE CREDIT: Jatniel Tunon

Even if your iPhone doesn’t have all the buttons and settings you can find on a camera, it does have different modes.

If you simply launch the camera app, frame the scene, and snap the photo, you’re using it in full auto mode. This way, the camera chooses what the main subject is and decides the focus and exposure accordingly.

If you want to take control of the iPhone’s choices, you need to let it know what the main subject is. To do this, you just need to tap on it.

Now, to lock that information, you need to tap and hold instead of just tapping - this will activate the AE/AF Lock. This way you’ll have it perfect even when you have moving subjects, or you want to take multiple pictures of the same scene.

Manually Control the Exposure

When you tap somewhere on the screen, you’re telling the iPhone camera where to focus and set the exposure.

If the focus is right, but the exposure isn’t, just slide your finger up to make it lighter or down to make it darker.

This will keep the focus where you wanted it but give you the chance to adjust the exposure. If you want more control, you can download a camera app that allows for manual exposure.

Capture the Perfect Moment With Burst Mode

If you often find yourself capturing a photo a little too soon or too late rather than at the perfect moment, burst mode is your solution.

It’s not easy to snap a photo that captures the action in a precise fraction of a second. Fortunately, iPhones allow burst mode.

If you’re photographing a moving subject or action scenes, try holding the shutter button for long periods of time.

This will take about ten photos per second, ensuring that you’ll snap the perfect shot every time.

Use the Grid to Compose

IMAGE CREDIT: Eaters Collective

The composition can make or break an image. Positioning your subject in the right place is essential to make your pictures more interesting for the viewer.

There are many composition rules and theories that you can follow, but one of the most popular is the rule of thirds.

The idea is that you divide the image into nine sections and place the key elements in the intersections.

To help you with this task, the iPhone has a grid that you can turn on and follow for a perfect composition.

You just have to go to the Settings in the iPhone camera app and enable it.

Take Advantage of Portrait Mode

When you use the portrait mode on your iPhone camera, the background gets blurred automatically.

This is useful to mimic the shallow depth of field achieved with wide apertures and long focal lengths in cameras.

With this effect, you’ll make your subject stand out by being the only thing sharp in the image. The newest iPhone models also let you choose the light - and you can use it for selfies too.

Use Volume Up

You probably don’t know that pressing the volume up button works as a shutter. This is much more comfortable to use in burst mode, for example.

Another improvement is that it helps you avoid camera shake that often happens when you use the digital shutter on the screen.

Accessorize

IMAGE CREDIT: Aaron Burden

Getting accessories for your iPhone will open a world of possibilities for your photography.

With clip-on lenses, you can expand the range of focal lengths that you can use. You can find all types: wide-angle, macro, telephoto, even fisheye lenses.

A tripod is another must-have for iPhone photography. You can find them at a variety of prices so you can choose what’s best for your needs.

Finally, a torch will come in handy to photograph in low light situations. You can get a ring light for portraits or a multi-LED to light bigger scenes.

Avoid Using the Flash

You should avoid using the built-in flash at all costs. This advice is valid for any camera, even DSLRs.

This light is harsh and unflattering. Try to use natural or ambient light as much as possible. For this, you might sometimes need a tripod - but it’s worth it.

If you prefer using artificial light, then you can buy extra accessories to create softer and more even light.

Download a Mobile Photo Editor

If you feel like your photos are not up to par with others that you see online, you might be missing the last part of the process.

Most images these days pass through a little (or a lot) of photo editing before being posted. There are many options - free and paid - to do this.

The industry standard in photo-editing has always been Adobe. You can find their apps in a mobile version too. Photoshop mobile is free to use, and Lightroom has a limited free version. For the full version, you need an Adobe subscription.

Other well-known alternatives in mobile photo-editing are VSCO (paid subscription) and Snapseed (free).

Use HDR for Contrasted Scenes

IMAGE CREDIT: Lubo Minar

You’ve probably seen the HDR icon on the top bar, but perhaps you haven’t tried it. This is the option that you should use when you have a highly contrasted scene.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and this means that you’ll get details both in the shadows and the highlights.

It works by taking multiple pictures at different exposures, then blending them to compose a final image with a high dynamic range.

Using this feature, you’ll never have to choose between a well-exposed sky with a dark foreground or a well-exposed subject with a white over-exposed sky.

Note that this isn’t going to give you a good result if there’s a moving subject in the scene. This is because it takes many pictures to compose one, so a moving subject will have ghosts.

Also, in low light situations, you’ll want to use a tripod or otherwise stabilize your iPhone to improve the results.

Practice As Much as You Can

The best way to improve your iPhone photography is to keep taking photos. Since you have your iPhone with you at all times, you can use every chance to snap your next picture.

Take some time to evaluate the pictures you’re taking and see where you can improve them. Also, use this exercise to better understand your own interests and individual style.

Finding your passion automatically improves your images because you’ll have a unique point of view about what excites you.

Guest post by Mark Condon, owner of shotkit.com and goldhatphotography.com .

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