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iPhone Camera Tips for better, professional looking photos.
Mobile photography is growing at a rapid pace and the iPhone is among the most popular compact cameras in the world. Apple is also aware of this and proudly displays “Shot on iPhone” images in retail stores, and even have advertising campaigns that promote the iPhone camera.
However, as with any digital camera (even video cameras), you need to learn to use your smartphone correctly to take great pictures. You also need to learn the right techniques and apps (to enhance those pictures).
Once you start taking great pictures with your iPhone, you could turn into a professional, or you could even make some money out of your photography skills.
Here are some important & effective iPhone camera tips:
Learn to Launch Your Camera Quickly
It might sound cliché, but the best camera is the one you have on you. Being quick is often paramount, which is why you should launch your camera from the iOS 10 lockscreen with a simple swipe to the left.
If your phone is already unlocked, you can also swipe up to reveal Control Center and launch your camera from there. This is a lot quicker than manually tapping an icon on your home screen.
Zoom With Your Feet (Move Around)
Unless you have an iPhone 7 Plus, which features a dual camera with a 2x optical zoom, you shouldn’t rely on digital zoom, which stretches pixels and results in a gradually worse quality image the further you zoom in.
The iPhone camera has a focal length equivalent to around 30mm on a fullframe SLR camera, which makes it a versatile lens. It’s great for landscapes and cityscapes, but also makes a solid portrait lens when used up close. Ultimately it’s good all-around, but you’ll need to get up and move to make the most of it.
Use Grid and Auto HDR
Head to Settings > Photos & Camera and you’ll be able to turn on the Grid. This overlays a 3×3 grid of squares on your viewfinder that allows you to compose photos in accordance with the rule of thirds. Essentially you want to arrange your subject or other interesting parts of your image on the same axis as the lines you see on your screen.
The rule isn’t golden, and you shouldn’t aggressively stick to it at the cost of a good shot. I also find the grid is handy for centering images, getting a straight horizon, and generally composing interesting images.
Another feature you’ll want to enable from the Camera app is the Auto HDR function — just tap HDR and choose Auto.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and it’s a feature that uses multiple exposures to increase the dynamic range of your image. This means that you’ll get more information in the highlights and shadows within a single image. While many SLR users take the HDR thing a bit too far, the iPhone implementation is subtle and rarely looks overdone.
Use Burst Mode for Action
Often overlooked and forgotten, your iPhone has a pretty competent burst mode that you can take advantage of by pressing and holding the shutter button. Generally speaking, the newer the iPhone, the bigger the buffer, and the more shots you can take. This is a really handy feature for capturing action, fast moving targets, or when you absolutely don’t want to miss a moment and ruin a photo with a badly timed blink.
Avoid Using the Flash
Even with a TrueTone flash, which balances for skin tones, the iPhone LED often results in disappointing images. It can often fire when you least expect, it’s weak, and as it faces the same direction as your lens, it often washes out detail with a harsh rear-facing beam of light. For this reason, it’s often better to just disable it: open the Camera app, tap the “lightning” flash icon and select Off.
Lock Focus, Adjust Exposure
Tap to focus is a great feature, but the iPhone often decides to refocus even when you’ve selected your subject. Conquer this by tapping and holding to lock both focus and exposure. From here you can slide your finger up and down the yellow box to adjust the exposure and get your shot just right.
This is great for use in challenging lighting conditions, like shooting sunsets or when your subject is dark and throwing the rest of the scene’s exposure off. Practice really makes perfect, and it’s often a good idea to take a few shots at different exposures to get a handle on what you can achieve.
Triggering the Shutter
Your iPhone can closely mimic the form of a traditional point and shoot camera when you hold it like one. You can use the volume buttons on the side like a traditional shutter, but you’ll still need to tap to focus first. This also works with burst mode, and it’s arguably a much more comfortable position than using your thumb to hit the on-screen shutter.
Apple Watch users should also note that their wearable can launch and fire the iPhone camera, and it even includes a handy preview of what the camera sees. Pair it with the three-second timer, else you’ll look like you’re always checking the time in every picture you shoot.
Consider Using Third-Party Apps
If you want a little more control over your exposures, consider ditching Apple’s stock app for something else. Camera+ (Rs 190) probably offers the best bang for your buck, with fully manual controls, an intuitive editing suite, and accompanying Apple Watch app. If you need something a little more powerful, Obscura Camera (Rs 300) focuses more on the ergonomics and interface side of things.
The only problem with third-party apps is that they’re not as readily available as Apple’s own app, which requires only a swipe on the lockscreen to access. To help combat this, some include dashboard widgets, which make launching the app a lot quicker.
Also Read: iPhone for photography
Some iPhones Shoot RAW
iOS 10 introduced what is possibly the biggest improvement to iPhoneography in years: the ability to capture RAW. When you shoot images in RAW, you don’t necessarily capture an image file but a dump of data. This data is then rendered by your device, allowing you to make changes to your photo before creating lossy (JPEG) images for sharing.
This gives you a lot more freedom in terms of post-processing your photography. You can make big changes to your image by adjusting parameters like exposure and white balance, and scrape a lot more detail out of the shadows and highlights to improve the dynamic range of your image.
Unfortunately, not all iPhones are capable of RAW capture. You’ll need an iPhone 6s (or Plus), SE, or 7 (or Plus) in order to shoot RAW images. You’ll also need an app like Obscura Camera or Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in order to capture images in this format.