Nothing is more convenient than what’s already in your pocket. You take your iPhone wherever you go, so it’s always there, whether you want to take a quick snap or a carefully composed masterpiece. So, what are the best tips and tricks to getting the most from the powerhouse in your pocket?
1. Zoom with your feet
Getting a little closer might just be a gesture away, but it’s worth taking the time to put the camera in the right place. The iPhone camera can only perform a digital zoom, simply cropping and then enlarging a piece of the photograph. This means you are only using a portion of the sensor to record the image – effectively using a worse camera.
Instead, physically moving the lens closer (or further away) helps make sure you’re squeezing as much quality as possible into your photographs.
2. No flash photography, please
Images are all about light. That’s all the camera sees, just like us. There is nothing wrong with artificial light, but there is something wrong with a tiny, bright point of it mounted right next to the lens. In a word, it makes things look harsh.
If your flash is set to auto (or worse, on), your iPhone might decide to use it before it needs to. Try turning it off and finding an angle where the existing light works for your subject to keep light quality high.
3. Press the button
You don’t have to trigger the camera by tapping the screen – and in fact, you shouldn’t. Taking a picture isn’t an instant process, and tapping the screen can cause a small wobble, resulting in a blurry image.
This effect is worse in low-light, where the camera has to be ‘open’ for longer. If most of your pictures are of brightly lit subjects, or taken during daylight, they probably aren’t blurry. But that wobble might be why your images aren’t as sharp as you want.
So, if you shouldn’t tap the screen, what should you do? Your iPhone will take a picture whenever one of the volume buttons is pressed – just like an actual shutter button.
4. Brace yourself
Talking about wobble, how do you hold your phone while you’re taking a photo? Many people hold their iPhones out in front of them, sometimes as far away as their arms will let them. This isn’t really a good way to keep something steady.
The best way to reduce camera shake is to hold your phone quite close to yourself, keeping your balance neutral (not leaning over!) and holding still.
5. Squaring things up
In your camera settings, you can enable the grid. This will overlay a series of lines cutting your display into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Now, why on earth would you want to do that?
There is a concept in photography known as the rule of thirds. It comes down to images catching the eye a little easier when the subject is placed about a third of the way into the frame. Even if you don’t agree with that advice (and it is just that: advice, not a rule), having the grid overlaid onto the image you’re about to take helps you, the photographer, get a sense of the composition. While it won’t show up on the photograph, having it there before just makes it easier to judge those final tweaks to position.
These tips aren’t magic – but they will help you take sharp, high quality photographs while getting the composition just right. They also aren’t specific to any one type of photography, so you can use them every time you use your iPhone.