Our Top 6 iPhone Photography Tips to Shoot Like a Pro
If you’re like just about everyone else on the planet, your iPhone or smartphone is your on-the-go camera for capturing just about everything - real moments and social media moments, for home, and likely for work too.
These days we are seeing each and every smartphone release pushing the boundaries when it comes to their in-built camera, and the the beautiful, high-quality images they can capture, making phones just as capable of taking a brilliant photo as a stand alone digital camera.
With that in mind, it’s important for you to you to know how to correctly use the built-in camera, any complementary apps, as well as how to edit your shots to make sure you’re getting the most out of them.
We asked our in-house photographer and videographer, Tim, to share 6 iPhone photography tips to help you start capturing business shots like a pro.
Always Shoot With the Light Source Behind
The first of our iPhone photography tips, of course, focuses on how you actually take the photo. Our photographer, Tim, suggests to always take a photo, whether it’s of a person or product, with the main light sourced positioned behind you (the photographer). This will means you’ll get the maximum about of natural light on the subject, without having to worry about the flash. A couple of examples could be to shoot with the subject facing a window (if indoors), or with your subject facing the sun (if outdoors). When shooting outdoors, it is best to not use the harsh midday light from the sun. The best time to take photos is in the couple of hours after sunrise and before sunset. This is known as “golden hour”.
Use the Correct Exposure
Once you have found a natural light source, the next step is to make sure you are using the right amount of exposure and your subject is appropriately lit. Your phone automatically adjusts the exposure for you, however, sometimes, you might need to do it manually. To edit the exposure before taking your photo, go to the live camera view and tap on the part of the screen until you see a small, yellow square and exposure symbol (it looks like a sun). Tap and hold down on the screen and drag your finger up and down to adjust the exposure. Dragging down will make the photo darker (brings the exposure down), and dragging up will make the photo lighter.
Shoot With a Clear Frame
Clutter can be a huge distraction in photos. Especially on social media if you want a specific product to be the focus of the image. Before you even start taking photos, train yourself to check the surroundings and look to see if there is anything that is either show-stealing or off-brand in the background. It might be someone looking back at the camera, some graffiti containing foul language, or even rubbish on the ground. If they are easy to remove, then remove! Otherwise you may have to find an alternate framing position and move your subject with it if you don’t think it’s something you could easily edit out. An easy win for a clear frame is to shoot with a clean background behind the subject - like a bare wall or the sky.
Make Use of the Photo Modes
Both androids and iPhones offer various camera settings and modes these days. Portrait mode, burst mode and live photos are some great options to help you create beautiful photographs. This is definitely one of our top iPhone photography tips for producing some professional camera-style images.
If you want to take photos with a blurred background, Portrait Mode is perfect for creating a depth of field effect. One tip is to make sure the subject isn’t too far away or too close to the camera. Your phone will let you know if either of these are the case.
If you want to shoot actions shots like jumping or sports, Burst Mode is a camera setting that allows you to capture photos at 10 frames per second. To use Burst Mode, hold down on the shutter button. A counter will pop up indicating how many photos you have taken. To take a look at your burst images, open your Photos app and locate the set of burst photos that you took. Tap Select and swipe through and tick the images you want to keep.
Live Photos on your iPhone records what happens 1.5 seconds before and after a picture has been taken. What this camera mode allows you to do is bring movement and life to a long exposure shot. For instance, if you wanted to capture the movement of running water or fireworks, using live mode is the way to go. To take live photos on your iPhone, simply open up your camera app and locate the live photos icon (three rings circling each other) towards the top of your screen. If this icon has a line through it, it means live mode is not activated. To activate it, simply tap it. When you go to take the photo, it's important to compose your shot and hold your phone in position for a couple of seconds before pressing the shutter button, because this mode will capture the 1.5 seconds before the actual photo is taken.
Know Your Settings When Editing Your Photos
Your photos app comes with a good variety of editing features. If you prefer to simplify your editing of an image, there are several in-built adjustments you can make to any iPhone photo to make it appear more high-end and polished.
- Exposure: Even though you should do everything you can to get it right in the shooting phase (as discussed above), it often helps to adjust the exposure slightly in the editing phase. The exposure feature determines how dark or bright your image is. Generally, changing the exposure to get the perfect amount of brightness on the subject is the way to go.
- Contrast: Pushing up the contrast slightly helps to make the image more impactful and sharper. It can go a long way to enhance the work you did getting your light source and exposure right.
- Highlights: Changing the highlights adjusts the brightness of the very bright areas of your image. It might not always be necessary to use, but if you do end up with a bright and slightly washed out image, it might be worth decreasing the highlights to make your image darker.
- Shadows: Bringing up the shadows significantly is a great to brighten darker tones in your image. For both shadows and highlights, it’s all about finding that perfect balance!
- Saturation: You might find that your iPhone images lack a bit of colour at first. Pushing up the saturation is an easy way to fix this. Be careful not to go overboard with this, especially if your subject is a person. You don’t want to make everyone look orange!
- Sharpness: Like saturation, it is easy to go overboard with this setting. But, with just the right amount you can get a more professional looking image. This editing feature sharpens the details in your image and makes the edges more defined.
Download a Photo Editing App or Two
If these iPhone photography tips for editing your images isn’t enough, you can explore other app options. There are plenty of really good apps out there, so it is best to only pick a couple and try to master them! Some of our faves include Adobe Lightroom, VSCO and Colour Tone.
Now, Apply These iPhone Photography Tips in Your Next Shoot
Hopefully you can see that by following a few simple iPhone photography tips, it is possible to apply them to your next product shoot or your next round of social media imagery. If you would like more information on these tips, or you would like to work with a professional photographer to create beautiful images for your product or service, our in-house photographer is here to help! Get in touch if you would like to tee up a photoshoot!