Tips for taking better photos with your iPhone
‘The best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time’ that’s how the saying goes. And the most common camera we all use everyday is right in your pocket. Smart phone cameras are advancing faster than anyone could have imagined and none more than on the iPhone. Although most of my tips below would transfer to other smart phones or even a digital camera, I have mainly used iPhone photography to capture images and all of my Instagram account to date has been taken on my iPhone 6. I haven’t used any lens adapters or add on’s. Just simply the camera itself and a few fantastic apps. See my top 8 Iphone Photogrpahy tips below
My top tips for iPhone photography
1. Clean your lens
just like a DSLR camera you need to look after your lens on your iPhone if you want to get take amazing iPhone photos. So before you take that perfect capture make sure the lens is sparkling clean. Because any smears or dust will massively degrade the image leaving it looking noisy and grainy
2. Natural light is key
all photography needs some natural light but iPhone’s need a lot to get the best out of them. Some smart phones say they work well in low light, but personally I think they get muddy and the images look false. So stick to the real deal. Get some good old fashioned natural light to boost the the clarity in your iPhone photography
3. Whats in the frame?
Before you take the shot just consider everything that you want to be in the shot and everything you don’t want to be in the shot. We have all taken a cute photo of our baby or dog, or a great shot of coffee only to realise that there’s a carrier bag or random personal item that stands out like a sore thumb. So think before you snap/tap.
4. Flash and HDR
I turn flash off, I have no need for the harsh artificial light in my lifestyle shots or flatlays. Then come the automatic HDR function on your iPhone – it can be a love it or hate it addition to the intelligent little lens. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range will take take multiple images of the same image at different exposures (over exposed, under exposed) to bring everything into a more cohesive overall exposure. You can switch to auto and let the phone decide or I tend to have mine off and choose when I need it. Typically for back lit scenes, or scenery. Your phone should save a standard photo and a HDR photo, so you will have two images of the same shot but with a different texture/quality.
5. Be ruthless
If its blurred, over exposed, grainy, dark, or just a bad photo. Take it again. If the moments gone, trust there will be another moment. Learning to be strict with yourself is your best editing tool. All the apps in the world can’t save a bad photo. Iphone photography is all about catching those moments fast, without the need to set up your DSLR – so make sure you get the right shot. And discard the rest
5. Get some equipment
And you don’t have to spend a fortune. There are a lot of expensive tools and gadgets out there, but the three things I use the most cost less than a fancy cup of coffee
- the remote! A bluetooth remote will change your life – I purchased mine on ebay here
- A selfie stick… not just for selfies! I also use mine to set up over head shots of my coffee where I want two hands in the shot, or I use for capturing images from above when I need distance and want to sit of the floor
- mini tripod – light weight, super portable, baby loves to chew on it. I think my husband bought me mine from the pound shop as as a stocking filler and its great!
6. Know your camera
I’m using an iPhone 6, so my advice is based on this, but the advise should work for most other models and smart phones. With the exception of iphone 7’s which do have some additional features now with the camera.
- Tap the screen once to adjust the exposure by dragging your finger up and down
- for downward shots turn on the internal spirit level on to get a perfectly balance flat lay
- Careful with pure whites – they can over expose in low light on the iphone
- Trick the phone into depth of field by putting something in the foreground and double tapping the auto focus
AND PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT
iPhone apps for editing are developing all the time and it seems to me that there are so many new ones every week. These really help with iPhone photography, and it means you don’t need to go near Photoshop – would you like to know my secrets?
- VSCO – They are are probably the most used filter i know of, many top instagrammers including @me_and_orla and @siennaandi, are using VSCO
My preferred filter is S2 – I don’t use it on full though, i turn it down to about 6 and then adjust a few other settings like exposure, and tempurature
- Snapseed is from google is one of the most detailed on the block! You can select particular ares to increase brightness, you can use the curves function to change levels through the image and some of their presets in HDR will add an incredible amount of depth to the image if used carefully. For me i use their ‘Tonal Contrast’ function as I like a fair bit of contrast and depth.
- Tadaa has some pretty cool features such as masking out a specific area so you can blur or sharpen different parts of the image, its really easy to use and has quite a few features that other apps don’t offer.
- Lightrooms – is a form of Photoshop where you can edit photos. I have used this on and off, but i know its very popular. I think i find it slow and buggy on my phone, but that’s not a reflection on the app, just that my phone is getting old. So i would still recommend trying it out as an alternative to Snapseed
When editing, its easy to get a little filter happy, so my advice, and what I have learnt, is to be careful with the amount of layer you add to a photo. iPhone photography can be a powerful and beautiful, but if you fiddle around with an image too much, it can start to lose quality. So know when to stop.
8. Find your style
Lastly – the best thing with iphone photography is finding your style. Perhaps you want to use your phone to practice lining up shots before you fork out for a DSLR, perhaps you want to improve your family photography skills or grow your Instagram following. Whatever it is, find your style and keep developing it. You will always be able to get better at what you do, and the convenience of learning through iPhone photography is amazing. But don’t change too much too soon, let yourself get good at one type of photo or editing and then move on. Find inspiration everywhere and don’t get stuck in rut. Take as many photos as you can, but also learn when you have ‘got the shot’. Keep evolving and above everything else HAVE FUN