As many of you guys know, one of my biggest passions is photography. One common question I get is: ‘what are you shooting with?’. The funny thing is, 9 times out of 10, it’s just my iPhone! People are usually surprised by this but really, your phone is one of your best resources for photography. My fave saying is the best camera to have is the one you have in your hand. And who doesn’t always have their phone in their hand? Another question I commonly get is how did you take this with your phone and how do you edit!? Well, I’m gonna not only answer how to take the photo but also how to get the final product 🙂 Let’s get started! 

1. Create Compositions

Photography is all about how a photo is composed. Composition is basically HOW your photo is made up, as in where things are, the arrangement of things within the photo. The first part to any photo is this. You have to understand how to arrange things in an aesthetically pleasing way. There’s a lot of rules regarding this such as the rule of thirds or filling the frame. You can follow these rules or break them, it doesn’t matter; as long as your photo looks good. You also have to keep in mind the subject you’re photographing and what composition will highlight it best. If you’re shooting something that’s stacked, shoot from a lower angle to show height. If you’re shooting something with a lot of details, get in close and fill the frame with the details. You can play with shapes, play with lines, etc to make your photo more interesting. Remove distractions or change your perspective if a distraction can’t be removed. Turn on the grid for better compositions when starting out. I could do a whole rant on composition alone but that’s just the start. Take the two images below: both are taken with an Iphone AND edited the exact same way. However, the one on the right is so much more dynamic just by switching the composition.

2. Change your Perspective

This kind of goes along with #1, but if you notice most people take their photos at eye level, which usually makes for a nice photo. But if you’re really trying to wow people, change that perspective. Get high, get low, shoot through things to frame your subject. This can make you stand out from everyone else and shows you how diff things look at diff angles thus making it easier for next time you come across a similar subject because now you know ‘hey this angle worked well, this one didn’t!’ 

3. Take sharp photos

One of the most important parts of photography is simply getting your photo sharp. People really struggle with this either because their hands are shaky or they hold their phone weirdly. Keep your hand steady, relax your breath, and snap a couple photos in a row. Usually if the first one isn’t sharp as you’d like, the 2nd one will be after that moment of anxiety passes. Another tip for sharp photos is using the volume button to snap the photo rather than the button in the camera app especially when you’re in an awkward position to take the photo. You can also use a remote shutter release/tripod combo to eliminate camera shake! Amazon has them for around $10 or even less. Simple things to up your photog game.

So sharp you can see the pollen.

4. Keep your lens clean

This seems really obvious but you’d be surprised how dirty our phones get, front and back! Clean your phone regularly, it’s also just good for your hygiene, too. All kinds of junk gets stuck in and on our phones which transfers to our hands and faces. Yuck! But dirt and debris will create lens distortion. It’s a quick fix and it’s my go to move when my camera isn’t focusing how it should.

Clean lenses ensure the best shots.

5. Choose your own Focus

Your phone is very smart and will choose what you’re wanting to focus on. Most times, it’s right but sometimes it isn’t. This is when you should choose your own focus point by tapping on your screen. Holding down on that point will also lock in the focus and keep the focus on that subject which is helpful for moving subjects such as at concerts. You can then also change the lighting by sliding your finger up or down the screen to lower or increase the light in the image! Really helpful when your shadows or highlights are blown. 

6. Action shots

For capturing action shots, like pour shots at brunch, use the burst mode. The burst mode takes a bunch of photos really quickly and then you are able to go frame by frame and pick out the best shots that captured the motion. I love this especially for pour shots. 

7. Long Exposure

You can also do long exposure in your iPhone! Long exposures basically blur motion while keeping still images in focus. Great for water shots. To do this, you need to take a Live Photo of the movement you’re wanting then swipe up on the photo and you’ll be presented with a few options: choose long exposure. 

Look at the water, so beautiful.

8. Frame Your Image

This kind of goes along with composition and how you compose your shot but wanted to do its own tip. Framing can really create a cool and fun image, you basically look for natural things around you that are framing other things around you. If you do this often, you’ll naturally notice it and won’t have to look. But it’s a really easy way to make a photo more interesting. 

9. Create depth 

You never want your image to be flat and boring. One major thing to remember especially with landscapes is creating depth. You can do this a few ways such as ensuring you have a foreground, middle and background. A landscape of the ocean is a nice photo but when you add something in the front, it brings more life to it, adds more of a story. Leading lines and framing also brings depth to an image. You’ll notice a lot of times, photographers will add a hand or feet or hold something in front of their camera to create more depth in a scene and it elevates the photo from a simple landscape that easily. 

The pedestrian adds a bit more oomph to the photo instead of just an empty street.

10. If you wanna zoom, move closer 

The best zoom you have is your feet. Unless you have a zoom lens accessory, you don’t want to use the zoom on your phone because it lowers the image quality and you’ll just get a blurry mess. Instead, just move your camera and or your body forward to ensure the same quality but the shot you want. 

Moving closer instead of zooming ensures the best image quality.

How to edit:

Now that you know how to take the photo, here is the second most important part! How to edit them. Creating your photo will always be more important because the better your photo is originally the less you’ll have to do in post processing. Don’t fall into the habit of ‘I’ll fix it later.’ No, just do it now. You’ll be thankful cuz editing can get tedious and it’s one less step of work to do later. 

One of the best apps for editing iPhone photos is VSCO. They have a basic and premium option and you can purchase packs of filters to use to edit your images. I highly recommend for those just getting started. For others, I recommend Lightroom mobile. If you’re familiar with Lightroom, this option will be better for you. I’ll focus on VSCO for now though.

So once you upload your photo to VSCO, you’ll be presented with preset options ‘For this Photo’ which I think is a really nice gesture. They basically decide what presets would fit the photo best. I always check them out; sometimes they work sometimes not. But I also always go to some of my faves depending on the type of image it is. Each preset is different and useful for diff things. 

The C pack is great for editing photos of people, the M pack is great for more darker, moodier images; the S pack is great for a more clean look, the U pack is good for sunrises/sunsets, the E pack is also good for a clean look & great for colorful images, the A pack is great for landscapes. 

Once you decide what preset you want to use, lower the strength of it. I usually lower it to around +6 to start.

You can adjust the strength with the slider. I never use it at full strength.

Then I go into the editing options & I just go down the line: I start with exposure then hit contrast, sharpness, a TINY bit of clarity, a lil saturation, white balance, split tone is important because it’s a way to color grade your images. Depending on the mood you’re going for, this should determine the colors you use. Play around with the colors and strength of them and see how they change your image. I have the premium VSCO so I also have access to HSL which is hue, saturation and luminance so I have more control over the colors of my images. Highly recommend for those who want to get more serious with their photography!

😏

Other fun apps I love for image editing are lens distortion and enlight Quickshot. Lens distortion allows you to add diff lens distortions such as sun glares, or rain or fog or snow; Quickshot allows you to do even more image manipulation such as changing the sky and adding clouds, colors etc. Check those out if you’re wanting to get a bit more creative or just jazz your photos up a little. I won’t tell 

That’s really it for iPhone photography. I hope these tips and info helps you to become a better iPhone photographer in the future, excited to see you guys’ images!