A Beginner's Guide to Using iPhone Camera

For the next photography guide in this series, I thought we would go over taking photos on an iPhone as this is what I used for well over a year in the beginning for all photos on my blog. And occasionally I still use for blog/Instagram photos. As when I'm out and about, I don't really want to carry my expensive DSLR camera with me. So how can you get high-quality photographs using your iPhone?

iPhone Camera Application

The only way you'll shoot great photos with any tool is to know it. The first thing you will notice are seven options (Order: Top to bottom - Left to right):

Camera swap - iPhones have two cameras (front and rear-facing with the rear facing camera having high quality). This button helps you switch back and forth between the two cameras. For taking serious photographs, I seriously recommend using the rear facing camera, which is the default option.

Timer - This button helps you set a time for the photo to be captured. There are only two options when setting the timer: 3 or 10 seconds.

HDR - Which means High Dynamic Range. This will help you achieve balanced exposure for your photo in high contrast scenes. You can set this to on, off, or auto. In auto HDR mode, the camera will decide whether or not to use the setting based off the lighting in the scene.

Flash - This can be used in low light conditions to brighten the scene. But every time I've ever used this, it has destroyed the picture so I recommend leaving this off.

Camera Filters - The iPhone has several filters you can choose from. For the most part, I don't throw any filters onto my images when I'm taking them as I can always reproduce those while I'm editing the photography in PhotoShop or A Color Story.

Shutter - The shutter button allows you to capture your scene/picture. One tap will produce one photo or hold it down for a continuous burst of photographs.

Photo Preview - In the bottom right corner you have the photo preview, which allows you to switch over to the photo application on the phone to review any recent pictures you have taken using the camera.

Lighting

This is an extremely important detail about taking high-quality photographs. Natural lighting is more appealing than indoor lighting, as it doesn't leave a color cast on your photographs. The best way to get natural lighting are the following:

  • Take photographs during bright or overcast days where the lighting isn't going to be changing with clouds covering up the sun.
  • Have any indoor lighting turned off.
  • Take photographs not directly into the light. Make sure the source is on either side or in front of the subject you are photographing.
  • If there isn't enough light, add a reflector such as a white foam board as this will help increase the light on the scene.

Style the Scene

Whatever your subject may be, styling the photo comes in with every shot. It also helps put a personal touch on everything you do. The best way to do this is by choosing a cohesive color palette or use the rule of odds (having an odd number of subjects/objects in the photograph).

Composure

I like to follow the rule of thirds when creating photographs. This is where you apply a grid over the photo (in the application, not the final product) and keep the main subject on the grid lines or where the lines intersect. As this creates more energy and interest to the photo rather than just placing the subject in the center. To apply the grid to your iPhone camera, you need to go to Phone Settings > Photos and Camera > Grid> Turn on.

Editing

This is a huge piece of iPhone photography, as this will help bring the photos to life. See the first Beginner's Guide on how I edit photos in PhotoShop or Beginner's Guide on how I edit photos using A Color Story!

What's your process for taking photos?