7 Tips for Better iPhone Photography

With the dawning of the iPhone, a whole new age of photography arrived: the iPhoneography era. Having a camera built into your phone makes it easy to take pictures on the fly.

iphone photograph

“Last (Wo)man Standing” captured with an iPhone by Dee Ashley (Click image to see more from Ashley.)

The sheer size of a DSLR makes it less portable and convenient than a phone, which most people have on them at all times. With all the benefits and fun that come with these new smartphones, people everywhere are starting to play with iPhone photography. Here are just a few tips to help make the most of your iPhone photos:

1. Understand your camera’s limits

With the much smaller size and limited abilities, it is no surprise that the photos you take with your iPhone will not be the same quality as what you can get with your DSLR. Photos taken with a phone are going to be a much smaller file size, so they won’t be able to be printed very big. Also, camera phones are not designed to do well in low light situations; knowing this in advance can help you avoid situations where you may not be able to get the best quality photos.

2. Keep your camera steady

When you first start using your phone’s built-in camera, it’s natural to want to shoot pictures with one hand. However, holding your phone like a camera will steady it and ensure that your pictures are as crisp and clear as possible. For the greatest steadiness, be sure to keep your arms in close to your body (nice and tight), bend your knees slightly, and just lightly tap the shutter button with your finger.

iphone travel photography

“Zayed Mosque Reflection” captured with an iPhone by Alan Richardson (Click image to see more from Richardson.)

3. Don’t use the camera’s zoom

While most smartphones have a built-in zoom on them, I would never recommend using it. The minute you start using the zoom on the camera, you’re going to get some noticeable pixelation. It is far better to move yourself and your phone closer to whatever you’re photographing. Only use the phone’s zoom as an absolute last resort.

4. Take a couple of shots

The great thing about digital photography in general is that you can take more than one picture to be sure you get one you like. You can take the same shot from a couple of different angles. Make sure you’re steady and that your shot is in focus. Be sure not to delete any of these extra shots while you are out and about, because you may find when you get home that the shots that looked poor on your phone actually look much better on your computer monitor.

5. Understand the light

Just as with photographing with a traditional camera, light is crucial to taking great photos with your camera phone. As mentioned previously, low light situations can cause grainy and pixelated pictures. Unless you are taking pictures of the sun or the ocean, always try to keep the sun behind you and your subject. This will ensure that your subject is well lit.

iphone landscpae photography

“Road to Dibba” captured with an iPhone 4 by Usman Khan (Click image to see more from Khan.)

6. Clean the lens

This may seem like common sense, but it’s funny how easy this is to forget. Think of all the places you put your phone: your purse, your pocket, in your car. You may use it while you’re eating or cooking, or your kids may smear it with their fingers. With all the places your phone goes, it makes sense that cleaning the lens can make a huge difference.

7. Play with apps

Just because your phone comes with a built-in camera app, doesn’t mean that there is no other app out there you can take pictures with. In fact, there are a slew of them. Everything from camera apps like Camera+ and Synthcam to processing apps like Snapseed and Over. Play around and have fun. After all, that’s what iPhoneography is all about!

iphone app photo editing

“Rustbucket” captured with an iPhone by John Mallon (Click image to see more from Mallon.)

As you can see there are pros and cons to using your camera phone, but the portability and convenience of your phone’s built-in camera make it worth having fun and playing with. Just remember the limitations and the little things you can do to improve your shots, and you’re sure to have a blast taking pictures using your iPhone!

Stephanie lives in a rural community in Central IL. She is married to her best friend and high school sweetheart, Ryan, and she enjoys spending time with her crazy pups, Kit & Lucy. She is the owner and photographer of Green Tree Media Photography and is incredibly passionate about photography and the business of photography.

About the Author:
Stephanie lives in Central, Illinois, is married to her best friend, Ryan, and enjoys the company of her rambunctious lab-beagle pup, Kit. She is the owner of Green Tree Media (greentreemediaonline.com) and is passionate about photography.

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4 Comments

  1. Cal says:

    #8 – upgrade to a Lumia. ;)

  2. PBnoJ says:

    “Unless you are taking pictures of the sun or the ocean, always try to keep the sun behind you and your subject.”

    I can’t figure out a) how to do this or b) what you could be trying to say!!

  3. jacques brierre says:

    Seems this applies to phone cameras in general. The (cool) trend seems to be specify iPhone even when the article is not specific.

  4. Robert Lancaster says:

    Another useful tip for iPhone photographers is to become a member of a community where you can share and learn. The best community on the net at present, without a doubt, is MobiTog. There are regular challenges to flex your creative muscles as well as the opportunity to share your images and get feedback, advice and critique in a warm and friendly environment. Some of the top names in iPhone photography (pure and abstract) are members.

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