How to Get the Most out of Your iPhone Camera
It seems crazy that we all have these expensive iPhones with awesome cameras and we really have no idea the potential they hold. Why do only a few professionals know how to use them? Well, I am here to change that! Through research I have discovered these 6 hidden features. I can’t wait to share them with you. Firstly, they are very easy to start using right away. Secondly, they exist on all the iPhones, not just the latest versions. It’s time for us ALL to start taking better pictures!
Note: (If you are not an iPhone user scroll to the bottom where I share two breakthrough tips that will help EVERYONE take better photos!)
Here are 6 secret iPhone camera features that are the key to unlock your best photography.
1. Swipe to Open
This one some of you may know already. This can be crucial when taking action shots or capturing unexpected moments. The time it takes to open the regular way by entering your passcode you may have missed the shot! Touch the home button to “wake up” your phone. Then grab the “camera grabber” icon at the very bottom and slide it up. It will open directly to your camera (skipping the verification step). On my iPhone 7 doing this brings me to another screen where I have an option to choose the camera icon in the bottom right corner. If you are shooting home decor (like I am) this one isn’t a game changer. For spontaneous captures and all sports/action photography this really is vital.
2. Tap Focus & Set Exposure
Here’s the biggie! To manually tell your camera where to focus tap the screen. How did I not know this?? OK, now I do, so I’m going to try to calm down! This is very important. By tapping the screen and telling your camera where to focus you can control what is in focus (which will be what you care about). Now that you have set where to focus you can also adjust the exposure manually by sliding your finger up or down on the screen. When in doubt go slightly darker because in the after editing you can always lighten. But you cannot bring back details lost by overexposing because the shot will not have that stored information. Hopefully that makes sense.
3. Lock Focus and Exposure
So now you’ve spent some time setting the focus and exposure. As soon as you take that one photo those settings disappear and your camera goes back to no setting. But you might want to take 1 or 2 (or 30) more photos of this shot 🙂 You do not want to have to repeat this every time. So set your focus and exposure to lock itself. When you tap the photo to begin the process instead of releasing it simply hold it for a couple seconds and the text will appear at the top “AE/AF LOCK”. When you are done, simply tap the screen again to unlock.
4. Take HDR Photos
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Confession: I would see this on my photos from time to time and I had zero idea what it meant…I didn’t even know how it got on there. Yikes! I’m so happy to be enlightened now, and to share this in case you too have been in the dark.
HDR allows you to properly expose your photos so that both the highlights (lighter areas) and the shadows (darker areas) are properly exposed. This is especially helpful when you are taking landscape photos, but it also is sometimes very helpful when you have a room with a lot of light in one area and dark in another area.
Your iPhone will automatically have HDR set to Auto. You can change this to On. At the top of your camera screen is a bar where you have the flash option, HDR, live option, timer option, and filter option. Hit HDR and select ON.
You will want to set your camera to save both the HDR version and non HDR version so you can compare and choose which is best. In your phone go to SETTINGS, then PHOTO & CAMERA, at the bottom under HDR select “Keep Normmal Photo”. Then your phone will save 2 of the same photo. It does a 2 shot burst to capture the best lighting!
5. Burst Mode
If you are taking home decor photos as I am you will not be as excited about the burst mode as sports photographers are, but it’s still good to be aware of. Burst is very useful for moving subjects. Tap and hold your finger down on the shutter button and you will create a burst of photos, which is a collection of rapid-fire photos. It is great when you are trying to get the timing right…this takes the guess work out of when to push down the shutter.
Then at the top of the burst gallery you can select the ones the are the best and discard the rest. This way your photo gallery doesn’t fill up with your burst photos.
6. Take Photos with Your Volume Button
Did you know you can take photos with your volume button on the side of your phone? I didn’t. When you are trying to get level with a surface or just need to hold your phone like a camera it can come in handy to have this spot to take the picture. Sometimes the center of the screen isn’t easily accessible.
Two important tips that can greatly improve your iPhone Photography:
1. Use a Tripod with a Phone Attachment
We don’t realize how much our hands and bodies move when we take a picture. Nor do we realize that this is causing our pictures to be less sharp than they should be. You really can’t hold the phone completely steady. This is why I’ve started to use a tripod. It takes an extra minute or two to adjust but it is worth it when you see the clarity. This set is only $17 and comes with a case and a blue tooth remote control so you don’t have to even touch the camera to take your shot.
2. Camera Lights
Use camera lights to get the correct lighting on dark days or in darker spaces. Jodie and I took a couple video and photography courses recently at the blogging conference, Build Your Blog Conference in Salt Lake City. Every photographer was mentioning the essential use of lights. We had been waiting around for sunny days, and even then there were places in our homes we couldn’t adequately capture due to shadows and not enough light. Professionals don’t wait around for light. We thought these lights were hundreds of dollars, even thousands (and the best are). Well, we found a complete set of 3 lights (with 2 umbrellas) and carrying case for under $55! We were so excited. This is the exact set recommended by our teachers at the conference and the exact one Jodie and I both purchased and are thrilled to have.
Let’s Take Some Pictures!
With the quality of the camera we already own in our iPhones we don’t need to be using a fancy DSLR camera. If we take full advantage of the features of the iPhone we can be taking stellar photos. Who’s excited now?
Just as with a DSLR camera or any camera you use, the technology is only useful if you know how to use it. In manual mode the iPhone is limited. But with this added knowledge you will be able to take your photography to the next level with just a few easy-to-learn adjustments.
Stay tuned because we will be posting an article soon talking about the best APPS to use for photo editing and how to use them. Until then, Happy Shooting!
XO ~ Julie