Want to take iPhone photos like a pro? These 15 camera hacks definitely upped my iPhone photography skills. Take better photos in 2020 and learn how to optimize your iPhone camera settings today.
15 iPhone camera tricks to take better photos
Wondering how to create professional-looking blurry backgrounds, lock your focus and add cool lighting effects to your iPhone photos? Then make sure to keep reading and discover all 15 things you didn’t know your iPhone camera could do.
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#1 Wipe your lens
Duh! Sounds obvious, right? But you would be amazed how often people (guilty!) forget to clean their lens before taking a photo with their iPhone.
As the lens on your device is always exposed, it’s usually covered with fingerprints that will make your photos look more cloudy and blurry.
Wiping your lens before taking a photo will guarantee better and sharper images and is one of the easiest hacks to improve your iPhone photography!
#2 Turn on the grid to improve composition
When taking a photo, it’s important to think about composition. To accomplish an optimal composition, you can apply the rule of thirds. I know, the rule of what now!?
It’s pretty simple, actually. Just try to avoid placing yourself or the main subject of your photos in the center of your composition, but instead on the left or right for a more compelling shot.
You can use the grid function on your camera for easy guidance. Go to Settings and tap Camera to toggle “Grid” on.
#3 Tap focus and manually set exposure
Your iPhone camera will automatically focus on something unless you tap the screen to manually set focus. After you tap, a yellow square appears on the focused area with a sun icon next to it that lets you set exposure.
You can now push your finger up and down the screen to change how light or dark you want your photo to turn out. Which is ideal when you find yourself somewhere without optimal lighting. Go try it out!
#4 Hold to lock focus and exposure
When you want to lock focus and exposure, you can use the AE/AF Lock, which stands for “auto-exposure and auto-focus lock.” Simply hold your finger on the focus point for 3 seconds and your settings are locked in for that perfect selfie!
#5 Turn on HDR
An easy trick for taking better outdoor photos with your iPhone is accomplished by turning on HDR.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and instead of taking one photo, it actually takes three: an overexposed photo, an underexposed photo, and one somewhere right in the middle.
Blended together, these three photos will create a much better-looking image with more depth of field and vibrant colors than without using HDR.
You can turn on HDR by going into Settings and tapping “Camera”. You can choose whether you want to save the normal photo in addition to the HDR one.
#6 Avoid using zoom and flash
Try to avoid zooming in or using flash when taking a photo. Instead of zooming, you can use the cropping tool that you can find by tapping on “Edit” when viewing a photo.
If you need more light in your photos, try using an external source instead of your camera flash or adjust the lighting by tapping “Edit” on your photo and drag the bars to make adjustments.
#7 Use Portrait Mode to blur the backgrounds
Want to take photos like a pro without investing in an expensive DSLR camera? Then you’ll find the newly added “Portrait Mode” is one of the coolest features of the iPhone camera.
The added shallow depth of field is the perfect way to blur noisy backgrounds and make your subjects stand out more.
With the iPhone Xs or higher, you can also adjust the blur strength after taking a photo. Open your photos in the Photos app, tap “Edit” and then tap the “f/number” icon on top of your screen.
You can drag the Depth slider beneath your photo to adjust the strength of the background blur.
#8 Use Burst Mode to time the perfect shot
Did you ever struggle with taking a perfectly timed photo of your friends jumping up in the air? I sure did, many times! Luckily, there is something called “Burst Mode”, which will help you take multiple photos in a short burst to capture the exact moment you need.
Hold down the “Photo” button on your camera to continuously take photos at lightning speed and simply select the photos you want to keep.
#9 Take photos with your Apple EarPods
Did you know that you can snap a photo with the volume buttons on your iPhone? But maybe even more interesting is that you can also take a photo with the volume buttons on your official Apple EarPods. Perfect for taking handsfree selfies!
My favorite tool for hands-free selfies is this Bluetooth Wireless Camera Remote available at Amazon (with tons of good reviews!).
#10 Snap a pic while filming
Want to take a quick photo while filming a video? No problem! Simply tap on the white circle on the left of your screen to snap a pic without pausing the video.
#11 Edit and crop your photos
After taking a photo, you can adjust multiple settings such as exposure, saturation, contrast, and brightness by tapping on “Edit”.
This is also the place where you can crop your photos to improve composition and straighten your horizon. There are also a bunch of nice filters available, but I personally like using apps such as Instagram or VSCO for this.
#12 Adjust shutter speed
Want to create the effect of a smooth waterfall, river or slow-mo fireworks? This is done by adjusting the shutter speed to create long exposure.
The iPhone doesn’t provide settings to adjust shutter speed, but you can use the app Camera+ 2 or the Slow Shutter Cam to shoot long or short exposure photos.
#13 Adjust the white balance
Did you ever notice how your snowy winter photos turn out kind of blue and your indoor photos a bit too orange? Although the iPhone camera usually does a pretty good job correcting the white balance automatically, sometimes you just need a little bit more help.
If you want to quickly adjust the settings or maybe even prevent the camera from using the correct white balance in certain situations, I recommend using the Lightroom mobile app for this.
#14 Shoot in 4K
Did you know your iPhone can shoot in 4K? You can turn this on via Settings and then tapping on the “Camera” app and even pick which framerate you prefer.
Do take into account that shooting in 4K will drain your battery more quickly and the videos will take up a lot more space due to their larger filesize.
#15 Use the right tools
The iPhone has a super-powerful camera but sometimes you just need a little extra help to improve your iPhone photography skills.
Listed here are all my favorite tools that I use when taking photos with my iPhone and that have definitely helped me up the quality:
Olloclip: Awesome Telephoto+Fisheye+Macro15x Lenses
Bluetooth Wireless Camera Remote: Take hands-free selfies
Bendy Tripod: A must for steady photos and long-exposure shots
Selfie stick: Perfect for group selfies
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That’s it! You’re totally ready to up your iPhone photography and I can’t wait to see what great photos you’ll be taking. Tag your photos with #preppywallpapers on Instagram and I’ll make sure to feature your amazing work.
Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I’ll be sharing even more useful iPhone hacks for 2020. Follow Preppy on Pinterest so you’ll never miss out!
Am I forgetting any handy dandy tips? Let me know your favorites in the comments!