I often get asked what camera I use to shoot my Instagram photos and the simple and honest answer to that is I mostly use my iPhone 6s. I would love to shoot with my camera more often but to be honest it is not always practical when I’m out and about with the kids and have to juggle a camera in one hand and a child or two in the other hand (like most days). My phone however is always with me, it’s small and light enough and I can just quickly slide it in my back pocket whenever I need to quickly attend to them.
This post will hopefully give you a few simple but slightly more technical tips on how you can use your iPhone camera to take great photos so you can start taking better photos with your iPhone right now!
Use iPhone Camera to Take Amazing Photos
Focus and Exposure
If you thought your iPhone was just another point and shoot devise think again. With the iPhone you can set focus and control exposure too. Yes, it really is true and much easier to do than when you are using a DSLR camera. So how do you do this? Easy.
To set focus for your photo all you need to do is tap the screen (an yellow square with a sun will appear then). If you are taking more than one photo with the same focus you will need to lock focus otherwise the iPhone will always reset it’s focus. To lock focus you need to tap and hold until (on your desired focus spot) you see AE/AF LOCK in a yellow box at the top of the screen. AE = Automatic Exposure and AF = Auto Focus. This feature may be particularly handy when you focus on your subject and then something else changes in the scene (a bird flies past, a big splash from a wave crashing on the rocks or even just someone else walking past). With AE/AF LOCK the camera won’t accidentally re-adjust the focus and exposure onto anything else.
Simply put, exposure refers to how light or dark the photo is (of course there is more to it than this but for the purpose of this post this explanation is enough). Your iPhone will automatically select the best exposure depending on where you tap to focus. If you tap on a light area the camera will ensure that area is well exposed. If you tap a dark area the same thing happens. However sometimes you want to expose one area and focus on another completely different area and this is when adjusting the exposure comes in handy.
To adjust the exposure simply slide your finger up or down on the screen and you will see the sun icon next to the focus box moving accordingly. When adjusting the exposure you should make sure that no part of the scene is totally white or black as the camera won’t be able to capture any detail in those parts.
Use HDR Mode
This is probably my favourite tip. I came across HDR on my iPhone by accident while looking though some photos I had snapped. As I looked through my photos I noticed that some were HDR on the left hand corner and others were not. So I decided to investigate. The reason why this happened is because I had my camera HDR button on auto and it so happened that while I was shooting some of my photos were automatically taken using HDR.
So, what is HDR? HDR (High Dynamic Range) essentially takes 3 differently exposed photos (ranging from light to dark) and combines them to create a perfect exposed photo with amazing shadows and highlights.
HDR is great for when you are photographing scenes with a lot of sky, landscapes or whenever you are struggling to get a decent exposure because the highlights in the photo appear too light and the shadows too dark.
To enable HDR on your iPhone just look to the left on your camera screen. Tap HDR to select auto, on, off. I normally have my HDR off and will only turn it on when I want to use it.
Please note that HDR doesn’t work well with movement because it is essentially a blend of 3 consecutive photos so if there is movement blurring may occur.
Use Burst Mode to capture action shots
If you ever tried to capture photos with moving people or objects you will know that its really hard to get a good quality photo that is not blurred. I always find that by the time I press the shutter button the moment has gone and all I’m left with is a very blurred photo that I can’t use or want to keep!
The Burst Mode on your iPhone is the best way to avoid blurred action shots. I always use it when photographing my children, birds, water and even people walking by. This is how I manage to capture sharp images of my children playing, splashing, dancing or even simply laughing.
To activate Burst Mode, hold down the shutter button for a couple of seconds, and the iPhone will start taking photos one after another. All you need to do then is choose the best photo from that particular burst.
Of course there are a lot of other less technical ways you can use to take great photographs and technical knowledge is not everything but you know it doesn’t hurt to have a couple more tricks up your sleeve right?
I hope you have found this post interesting and useful. I would love to know what you think so please do leave me a comment below. Do you ever use any of this iPhone camera features? Or do you use your iPhone as a point and shoot camera?