How To Take AWESOME Photos With Your iPhone

How To Take AWESOME Photos With Your iPhone

Technically, I’m not a photographer. I don’t use a camera to shoot any of my photos; I use my iPhone 5s. Therefore, what I really am is an iPhoneographer.

Over the past two and a half years, I’ve gotten pretty good at the simple art of taking great iPhone photos. I’d love to share my knowledge with you in 7 tips that are very important to remember on your own journey of taking pictures with your iPhone. ūüėäūüďĪūüí•

{Master Your iPhone’s Camera Functions}

1. Always take photos full-size –¬†avoid shooting in¬†square mode! Crop later; most, if not all, editing apps have¬†a cropping feature.¬†It’s possible that you’ll regret only having square dimensions¬†on certain shots¬†if you ever decide to get them printed, framed, etc.

unfiltered; flower at an apple orchard

2. Turn off flash. I never use it, and I don’t recommend it; find light sources elsewhere. Plus, flash is blinding ūüėā

unfiltered; old picture of me being blinded by flash

3. Don’t use the photo filters that come with the camera. I’ve found that once I put those filtered photos¬†onto my computer, the files become corrupt! Maybe it’s just my computer … either way, I think that¬†edit app filters are prettier, anyway. ūüíē

filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother drawing with chalk
filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother drawing with chalk

4. Use the front-facing camera for all selfies. You don’t necessarily have to follow this rule/suggestion, but the quality of user-facing cameras of all phones are known for their poor picture quality. Save our eyes from fuzzy images; take photos with the outward-facing camera.

both filtered with Rookie Cam; outward-facing (left) selfie and user-facing (right) selfie

5. Learn how to use exposure. If you raise the exposure higher than auto (tap screen and slide up), that allows more light into the camera.¬†You’ll get pictures like this:

unfiltered; trees in my backyard

If you lower the exposure so that less light enters the camera, you’ll get pictures like this:

filtered with Rookie Cam; my brother’s silhouette (pic taken at 4PM)

Different settings, different results. Experiment with both; you’ll soon learn what situations look best in high, low, and auto¬†lighting.

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{3 Great Tips for Taking Awesome iPhone Photos}

1. Always be on the lookout for natural light. Phone cameras do best in natural lighting, which is why I’m always on the lookout for sunlight.¬†Most shots taken outside or near an open window will turn out clearer and brighter than artificial-lighted photos, as long as there isn’t too much movement or direct sunlight. (If the sun is visible in the picture itself, the brightness of the picture might be¬†overwhelming.)

unfiltered; my brother blowing bubbles

2. Tap to focus – always.¬†Over the years, I’ve learned that auto-focus isn’t foolproof. Get in the habit of manually focusing – just tap the screen once where the subject of your photo is.

filtered with Rookie Cam; my sister laughing

3. Take¬†as many photos as you can. iPhone camera shutter speeds aren’t very fast. (By the way, shutter speed is the amount of time¬†between when you click and when¬†the camera¬†actually¬†takes the picture.) That means that if you only take one picture, you’re not likely to have captured the moment exactly how you wanted it to look. I recommend taking tons of photos, even if they all look like duplicates from a distance.¬†Once you’re done taking pictures, view each one up close, keep the good ones, and¬†trash all¬†the ones that didn’t turn out.

unfiltered; three very similar photos of my sister

Thank you so much for reading! If you’d like to see more tutorials, please comment below on what topics you’d like to see. For now, I’m planning on writing a post about my favorite editing app¬†(Rookie Cam). ūüėĄūüíē‚ú® ¬°Adi√≥s!

— Maggie

My Favorite Thing About Photography

photoshoot-collage

Photoshoots. They’re something I never would’ve seen myself doing, yet now I love them. I’m always looking forward to the next time I’ll get to shoot one.

Both in exploring places that might work for a photoshoot, as well as being inspired by tips-and-tricks articles I come across online, I’ve come to enjoy taking pictures even more than I already did. I love having 200+ pictures to go through after I’ve shot one, choosing my favorites, then filtering them to my heart’s content.

The three subjects that I’ve¬†gotten to photograph this far¬†are my younger siblings: Joshua, Samuel, and Elizabeth.

Joshua

joshua-collage

So far, I’ve done one planned photoshoot and two spur-of-the-moment photoshoots with Joshua.

The first one (left) was kind of awkward, because it was the first photoshoot I’d ever done. While I knew where I wanted to shoot and I had some poses in mind, what I didn’t have was very much confidence. I didn’t know what to say to get the most natural facial expressions, as well as the best poses. Luckily, I still left that thirty minute session with some good pictures.

I decided to do the second one (middle) on a whim because the park we were visiting at the time was absolutely beautiful. It was late November, and the autumn-colored leaves were gorgeous. Mainly, I took pictures of Samuel and not very many of Joshua, but he was still in a few.

The third one (right) was my first time experimenting with exposure to create silhouette photos. I shot it shortly before dusk while Joshua and Samuel were walking near and along a wall. I had to focus on not only keeping the exposure down while taking the photos (sometimes, my phone tries to refresh the exposure and bring it back to auto while I’m taking pics lol), as well as keeping the wall horizontal. There’s almost nothing more detrimental to a good picture than uneven lines.

There was a lot of posing going on in the first two photoshoots. In the third, however, the only thing I¬†asked was¬†that they walk within view of where I was holding the camera, because you can’t have silhouette pictures of just a wall. Haha!

Samuel

samuel-collage

I’ve done four photoshoots with Samuel so far; two planned, and two I decided to do in the moment. (The fourth one is the same as the silhouette one with Joshua; that’s why I only included three pictures.) As I’ve learned, it isn’t an easy task to get natural smiles from little kids. However, thanks to different articles I’ve read,¬†there are a lot of different¬†ways to get kids to smile, laugh, and look like they’re having a good time, which always makes for better pictures. ūüėÄ

The first one (left) was the most fun. We walked around our backyard while roleplaying (it kept him occupied and smiling), then we went up to our driveway, where I helped him draw SpongeBob characters (which is one of his all-time favorite things!). He enjoyed himself, I had a blast, and I got about a dozen great pictures out of it.

The second one (middle) was the most formal; he wore his adorable little plaid shirt, as well as khaki pants. I had him do a lot more posing than the one before it, usually turning my requests into challenges (ex. “I dare you to cross one foot over the other, cross your arms, and smile at me”), which, at his age, turned out to work really well. The picture of him in the first collage at the top of this post is probably the best picture I’ve ever taken of him – I think so, at least.

Lastly, the third one (right) was the one that Joshua was also in. We were outside, it was a beautiful day, and there was a stone wall Samuel was enjoying playing on. Win-win for me! I snapped away to my heart’s content.

Elizabeth

elizabeth-collage

Aw, she’s so cute! Every day, I can’t get over how adorable she is. ‚̧

First, let me just say something: babies are very, very hard to take clear pictures of. It’s a big problem for me because of the camera I’m using (my iPhone 5s), as it doesn’t take movement all that well. I’ve done two photoshoots with her: a Christmas one, and a cozy one. Most of the pictures, unfortunately, turn out all blurry, but among the blurs are little treasures that definitely¬†make the photoshoots worth taking.

The first one (middle) was shot in front of our Christmas tree last month, and she sat/laid on a soft, white blanket. I talked to her, sometimes getting her to smile; Joshua was to my right, making her laugh; and our mom was to my left in case Elizabeth toppled over, which she was doing quite a lot at the time. Sadly, my favorite picture from that session was photobombed by a tree branch in the background¬†that I hadn’t noticed was hanging lower than the rest. #theproblemsofanewphotographer

The second¬†one (left and right) was done while she sat/laid on a bed¬†under the light blue comforter¬†with the¬†tiny pink flowers. I got more good pictures of her there than at the Christmas tree photoshoot, mainly¬†because I learned from experience how to take better pictures. ūüėÄ

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Well, that’s all for now! Do you like photography? What are your favorite things to photograph? Feel free to comment; I’d love to hear from you.

— Maggie