Are you ready to take better iPhone photos?
Cell phones have come a looooong way since I got my first LG flip phone back in 2002. The things we can do on our phones these days is pretty much amazing. Including taking better photos.
I’ve been a hobby photographer since my daughter was born in 2011, and loved learning to use my DSLR in manual mode. I have taken some pretty fantastic photos of my kids over the years (if I do say so myself!).
But, the more kids I have, the less I find myself wanting to lug around a heavy camera along with all the other baby gear. I’m capturing more and more memories on my iPhone.
Thankfully, cell phone technology has improved so much that if I do it right, I almost can’t tell the difference between a photo taken with my iPhone and a photo taken with my DSLR.
My husband just got the new iPhone X, and the camera on it is remarkable. He snapped this shot of my little brother while I was hassling with my “real” camera.
Ok, why do I even bother?!
Taken with an iPhone X in portrait mode
The basics are the same
There is a lot about photography that remains the same regardless of what equipment you’re using. Photography is all about finding the right light, beautiful composition, and the photographer’s creative eye.
None of this changes when you’re talking about using an iPhone to take good photos.
If you’re looking to take better photos of your kids or everyday life, this e-book was what got me started in being able to capture candid moments more beautifully.
Even if you don’t want to dive into what makes a “good” photo, there are a few super simple things you can do to improve your iPhone photos.
What’s the secret to getting frame-worthy iPhone photos?
1. Wipe the camera lens clean. Ok so I didn’t learn this tip until recently and it was a complete “Duh!” moment when I heard it.
I’m a mom. My phone gets tossed around in a diaper bag, slobbered on by a baby, and played with by grubby hands all day long. So yeah, wipe the viewfinder clean if you want a chance at a clear photo!
I have a nice cleaning cloth, but when I’m on the go a T-shirt works fine too.
2. Use the grid. Frame-worthy photos usually have quality composition. This starts by using the grid to get your lines straight before you snap the photo.
To turn the camera grid on, go to Settings, select Photos & Camera, and tap the switch next to Grid to turn it on.
Follow the rule of thirds by placing your subject at one of the intersecting lines. Aim for the horizontal line in your photo to line up with either the top or bottom horizontal line of the grid.
3. Take photos in natural light. Lighting is one area where traditional cameras still heavily outperform the iPhone.
Natural light is the only acceptable light for quality iPhone photos.
Sure, there are ring lights and other gear you can buy, but natural light will never let you down.
The trick is that you don’t want the light to be too much or too bright. Indoors, you can usually find great light next to a window. Not one where the sun is beating in making harsh shadows, but one with a more gentle bright light.
Outdoor photos on a cloudy day are ideal, but if it’s really sunny, look for an area of open shade like under a big tree or in the shade of a tall building.
4. Stand still. Obviously. But really, since iPhone cameras are less sophisticated than the real deal, they take a little more care in making sure you get a good shot.
When I take an iPhone photo, I look for something to anchor myself. Rest your elbows on something, lean against a wall, anything to add stability. If you want to get really fancy you can use a little tripod like this one.
5. Clear the clutter. Candid shots are awesome, but they don’t have to look like just a snapshot. Take a minute before you click to evaluate the scene.
If you’re at home, you might push a laundry basket or a glass of water out of the frame. Or maybe you can move your subject two steps to the right for a cleaner view.
You can also try different angles to find the one that captures your subject the best without distracting clutter in the background.
A Note About Portrait Mode
The newer iPhone models have a really neat portrait mode that digitally gives you the effect that a great lens would on a DSLR. Without trying, you’ll get that beautiful blurred background and bokeh effect many photographers strive for.
But portrait mode comes with its pitfalls too. Go ahead and shoot in portrait mode, but it’s even more important to follow these tips. Without great light and keeping the camera completely still, you’ll have a grainy, blurry mess on your hands.
Most photos can benefit from a little bit of editing. I have tried so many photo editing apps, but Snapseed is my favorite. I’ll have to do an in-depth post on editing in Snapseed, but I usually adjust the brightness, contrast, and ambiance and add a little curve to brighten some more.
If you don’t want to mess with another app to edit, you can adjust the brightness and contrast right in the iPhone camera app.
I would love to see your frame-worthy iPhone pics! Tag your best photos #frame_worthy on Instagram so we can all follow along! Or maybe you’re ready for a photo project? And if you have any questions, email me at [email protected] I’d love to hear from you!