Tips for IPhone Photography – Hidden Camera Features

Hey guys, before we get started with some tips for IPhone photography, I just wanted to touch base and let you know that photography is more than just being technically correct, it is about seeking out things that inspire us. My hope for you is that you take this post and just implement them into your every day use of what you already do, for a chance to take full advantage of your camera.

Using the Camera on Your Phone

We all know of an app or two that we love when taking a picture on our phones. When it comes to capturing the best quality photo my suggestion to you, is it to use the camera on the phone rather than an app. The problem with apps is they tend to shrink down the quality of your photos, whereas the camera on your phone will save the highest quality size. Not only that but, it actually offers some great features that aren’t a part of the Apps.

I usually tend to shoot in the in-phone Camera and then import it to whichever App I’d like to process it in! This gives us the greatest creative control over our photo. Not just that, but have you ever wanted to take a picture of something that was time sensitive, waiting for that special app that you love so much to load just so you can take the picture and you end up missing that amazing photo opportunity because it didn’t load fast enough?

Explore Focus & Exposure

I just recently found out about this one, when you touch the screen when in Camera Mode; you control both focus & exposure! This is not to say that you can’t just hold your phone up and take a picture without adjusting the Focus and Exposure. You are more than welcome to just take a picture without adjusting your settings and the picture will still be good, but wouldn’t you want an amazing picture instead? To adjust the Focus and Exposure, just touch the screen at different spots and see what happens. Have fun with it.

The big part of the exposure on our iPhone is how it interprets light and dark in our photo. To get to know this aspect of our iPhone camera even more, play around with touching really exposed parts (like the sky) or really dark parts (like a shadow) and see how it changes the photo as a whole! If I’m looking to find something in a photo to define the exposure for it, I’ll often choose something in between light & dark, often touching something on your screen that is green allows for a great exposure. Again, there is absolutely no need to do this in order to take a great photo, but it allows us just a bit more control which can help take a photo from something that we ‘like’ to a photo we ‘love’!.

Use the AutoFocus feature

Now, there is an awesome feature to your iPhone camera that is really subtle, this is called the AutoFocus feature. Here’s how it works, if you put you put your finger on the screen of your in-phone camera you will see a yellow box appear where you are touching it and telling it to focus. That itself is awesome and is the way to get a ‘DSLR-like’ photo with great aperture and blur in the background!

You can take it a step further and keep holding your finger there and what will likely appear is a little yellow rectangle saying ‘AF Lock’. When that appears you have now locked in your focus. This is SO fun as it allows you to move the camera around without having the focus change. This can be great for getting Macro Photos and also for experimenting with doing intentional blur!

Explore both the Front & Back Facing Cameras

You might already know this, but those cameras on the front and back of your phone…they aren’t made equally! The one that faces you as you (and makes it easier to take arms length self-portraits) well, unfortunately, that one isn’t nearly as good quality as the one that faces outwards!

Normally, I still use the lesser quality camera but if you are finding that you’d like an even better quality photo (less noise or a less grainy look to it) try using that other camera! If you had (or still have) an old school 3G iPhone, you’re probably well skilled at taking photos (and self-portraits) using that camera anyways. Just something to remember if you’d like to up the quality of the photo!

Look into the Lens!

I often think when taking self-portraits this can make such a big difference in how we see ourselves in a photo. Yes, the lens on an iPhone is little and hard to sometimes notice, but when we look into it…we engage in our photo. That little detail often makes SUCH a big difference!

Explore HDR

I thought HDR was kind of cheesy but that HDR feature on your iPhone…its actually really cool. It takes 2 photos at a time and then layers them to make your photo even crisper, even richer. This can be so fabulous for landscape & outdoor photos but it can also be amazing for self-portraits and portraits too. It also saves 2 photos to you camera (so you can always pick the non-HDR photo if you’d like) so you have lots of options.

Using it regularly does make our storage fill up quicker but often it is SO worth it! It does a way better job than the ‘HDR-ish’ feature on Instagram so if you have preconceived notions of HDR being cheesy I recommend putting them aside for a bit and getting playful with this feature as it has helped me take even stronger photos!


Use it to its Capacity (and Take LOTS of photos)

Yes, you might be thinking…if I just get the newest iPhone, I will be able to take better photos! While it is true that the camera in the iPhone improves with every version of it, if we focus on the quality of the camera as being the only thing that takes a good photo, we are wrong…you take a great photo. So with all camera gear including phones, I think there is great value in using it to its capacity.

Get to know all these features, take lots and lots and lots of photos, keep shooting, keep experimenting, keep learning about light, keep getting outside, keep seeking new things to capture, keep turing the camera on YOU to tell your story. The more photos we take, the more we will get that one we love. If we discount our skill or our value on just one photo (especially when in comes to self-portraiture), we miss out on the opportunity to keep developing our photographic eye! I hope that makes you want to run outside right now & experiment with your iPhone!

Happy iPhone Adventuring!

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