How to take beautiful photos with your iPhone
If you’re one of the millions of people who regularly snap photos on their iPhone, you might want to read these tips for taking better pictures
People take millions of photos on the iPhone every day – making it the world’s most popular camera, according to photo-sharing site Flickr .
Taking great iPhone photos is not always easy because, unlike compact cameras, smartphones don’t offer features like optical zoom and the ability to adjust the shutter speed and aperture.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t take still stunning photos on an iPhone. Apple’s latest device, the iPhone 6s, boasts Apple’s best camera yet, with a 12-megapixel sensor, advanced pixel technology and an image signal processor.
The photographs form part of an annual ad campaign – with images plastered on billboards and magazines all over the world.
They are not commissioned but found by scouring social media and photo sharing sites. This year, Apple looked for photos that showcased humans in moments of everyday beauty.
iPhone camera tips and tricks
If you’re feeling inspired to start taking more photos on your iPhone camera, here are a few tips to help you get snapping:
1. Use the camera grid to set-up your shot
While wonky photos can look cool if they’re deliberate, it’s all too easy to accidentally end up with a tilted horizon when you’re snapping pictures casually.
The best way to make sure your pictures are straight is to turn on the grid, which superimposes a series of lines on the screen, to help you compose your photo.
This isn’t something you can do within the camera app. Instead you need to go into your iPhone settings, select “Photos & Camera”, and switch the grid on.
The gridlines can also be used as a guide for the rule of thirds – a principal based around the idea that photos look better when your subject isn’t slap-bang in the middle of the scene.
Place them to either side, with perhaps another secondary element to interest the eye on the other side, and you’ll have a recipe for a winning photo.
2. Tap on the subject to focus
In general, the iPhone camera will ensure that everything in the shot is in focus – which means having a sharp subject and a blurry background is pretty much out of the question.
However, it’s still a good idea to let the iPhone know what the subject of the picture is. This allows the settings to auto-adjust and show the subject in the best possible light.
When you want to take an iPhone photo, tap on the subject. This will focus on that person or object and set the exposure for that person.
Simply taping on the face of the person you are taking a photo of can also add more light to their face so you don’t need to use a flash.
3. Change exposure manually
The iPhone lets you add or remove light from your photos by manually adjusting the exposure.
After you tap on the subject of the photo, you’ll notice a small sun icon on a vertical line to the right of the central box.
Drag the sun up on this line to increase the exposure of your photos, or drag down to decrease.
Increasing the exposure will brighten the photo, as the shutter will stay open longer and let more light hit the sensor.
This can be particularly useful when taking photos in low light conditions. Experiment with this and you’ll soon find that you can turn an otherwise poor photo into something quite special.
4. Turn on Auto HDR
One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your iPhone photos is to experiment with HDR – a mode that you switch on and off at the top of the camera app.
HDR stands for high dynamic range, and is a mode that artificially enhances the darkest and lightest parts of an image, to stop them becoming overexposed or disappearing into blackness.
While keeping HDR on all the time can result in images looking unrealistic, the Auto HDR mode means that the range is adjusted for each photo. However, it’s worth playing around to see what works best for you.
5. Avoid using the flash
The iPhone’s flash is useful in some situations, like when you’re taking a photo of a person with the sun behind them – removing shadows from their face so you can actually see them.
But for the most part, the flash leaves your subject looking washed out. It’s also pretty useless if you’re at a large event or taking a photo through glass.
For the best photos, turn the flash off by tapping the lightning bolt at the top of the screen, and either adjust the exposure or find a better position with more natural light.
6. Use burst mode to capture the moment
If you’re taking an action shot, or a picture of your pet or your toddler – who just refuses to sit still – it’s a good idea to use the iPhone’s burst mode.
Just hold the shutter down while taking a photo, and the camera will take 10 photos per second until you release it.
You can then choose the picture that best captures the moment, and delete the rest.
7. Add a filter
In the bottom right corner of your iPhone camera app is an icon with three overlapping circles. Tap that to add a filter to your photo before you take it.
This is like Instagram, but before you even take your photo.
Of course, there are plenty of third-party apps that let you add filters after the app is taken. One good option is VSCO, which also lets you adjust the “temperature” and “exposure” settings.