6 Tips for Taking Better iPhone Pictures

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take professional quality pictures on your iPhone. Images produced by the iPhone camera are virtually indistinguishable from high-end DSLRs. However, just because the camera can produce quality images, doesn’t mean you will always get an amazing shot.

Below is a list of easy to implement tips to help you start taking better iPhone photos today.


1 Creating a level picture

Shooting a level picture is critical to achieving balance in your photograph. Having a landscape photo whose horizon is on a slant will make it feel like the scene is falling out of the frame.

To help ensure your photograph is level you’ll need to use the camera’s grid feature. You can turn it on by going to Settings -> Photos & Camera -> Grid. Now when you go back the camera app you’ll see a 3×3 grid which can help you line up your photographs.


2 Use the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is probably the most fundamental rule in photography. Now that you have your grid turned on from the previous step, you can use these lines as guides on how to frame your picture.

As stated by photographymad.com , “The rule of thirds involves mentally dividing up your image using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines, […]. You then position the important elements in your scene along those lines, or at the points where they meet.”

By using the grid to compose your picture, you can achieve better composition and balance in your photo.

3 Crop and rotate

While the first two tips are to help you create better photographs while taking the actual picture, cropping and rotating can help you further refine your photographs after they’ve been taken.

To do this open the picture you want to edit and then click on the circle/line icon next to the trash can. You are now in the editing mode. Select the crop and rotate button (next to the Cancel button) and edit your picture until it’s level and the rule of thirds have been applied. While doing this you will see the grid reappear on the picture. These lines are your friend, be sure to use them!

Alaska snowcapped mountain reflection
Original Image
Alaska snowcapped mountain
A slight rotation to level the horizon
Alaska snowcapped mountain
Applying the rule of thirds by cropping

4 Perspective – foreground, middle ground, background

Have you ever taken a picture of a beautiful landscape, but it didn’t come out quite how you imagined it? Does the picture seems bland and just doesn’t engage you the way it does in real life? There’s a good chance you missed out on creating a foreground, middle ground and background.

Perspective is important when it comes to landscape pictures. By taking a picture that includes elements in the foreground, middle ground and background, you’re visually bringing the audience into your scene, creating a more immersive experience. One easy way to do this is by lowering your iPhone close to the ground before shooting your main subject. This might not always work, but it gives you a good starting point.

5 Auto Exposure and Focus

The iPhone does a great job of automatically setting the focus and exposure for each of your shots. However, when you shoot in extreme lighting conditions with lots of sun, or very little light, the camera can struggle. To take over the exposure and focus of your iPhone, hold your finger down on the subject you want to focus. Once the ‘AE/AF Lock’ shows up on the camera screen you know your focus and exposure are now locked in. To adjust the exposure from here, slide your finger up and down until you reach the desired result.  This technique is extremely useful when shooting panoramic photos as the lighting tends to vary with wider shots.

6 Snapseed for post processing

In my opinion, Snapseed is by far the best free photo editing software on the market. Snapseed has an exceptionally low learning curve which is impressive for the amount of granular control it provides you. That makes this app a must have for photographers of any level.

While I could write a whole book on Snapseed, I’ll share with you my favorite feature – HDR Scape. Open up the picture you want to edit in Snapseed, then click on the Edit button at the bottom right. Scroll towards the bottom of the menu and under FILTERS you will see “HDR Scape”. Select this filter and then try out each of the four variations – Nature, People, Fine and Strong. Once you select the variation you like, slide your finger right and left to adjust the strength of this filter.

While HDR Scape is a great feature, it’s not the end all be all so make sure you try out some of the other tools and presets provided to you in Snapseed.

Snapseed photo editing
Snapseed before HDR Scape has been applied
Snapseed HDR Scape
Snapseed picture with HDR Scape applied

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