7 Tricks for Perfectly Exposed iPhone Photos

If you’re like most people, your smartphone is your most used camera. But do you ever get frustrated with getting the right exposure with an iPhone? Emil Pakarklis demonstrates daily techniques to expose iPhone photos. Here are tricks to use when practicing and improving your smartphone photography:

1. Set Exposure Manually

When you click on an area of your image, the camera will set the focus to that. You can see this by looking at the yellow box around the area in focus. The sun icon to the right of the box changes the exposure. Try manually adjusting this by sliding your finger up or down the sun. By tapping and holding down on the screen for a few seconds, your phone will activate the “AE/AF LOCK.” This sets your exposure and focus to “Auto,” so that you can continue to take photos and move your phone without changing these settings.

2. Use Exposure to Set the Desired Tone in a Photo

Change the exposure to your liking when you’re setting the scene for a photograph. You’ll be able to see how much detail and light remains in the foreground when you do so. Your creative vision will determine what you choose to expose and what you don’t, so take this into consideration every time you set the focus and exposure.

underexpose iphone photos

3. Underexpose the Photo When in Doubt

When you leave a photo underexposed, you can return to it at editing time and make the proper lighting adjustments then. When a photo is overexposed, it’s difficult to recover the detail that gets lost in the bright whites.

4. Shoot From a Different Angle to Avoid Overexposure

A common overexposure is when you direct your lens at the sun. This can create a flare that eliminates some of the crucial detail in overexposed areas. By changing the angle you shoot at, you can avoid flares and direct sunlight. As shown in the video, this allows you to focus on subjects and their shadows.

5. Overexpose a Photo in Snowy Conditions

Overexposure can also work in your benefit when used correctly. For example, when there is snow in your picture, an overexposed sky can create a balance between the bright whites and work together in the image.

6. Underexpose a Photo to Create Strong Shadows

Strong shadows can show drama and emotion in your work. By carefully planning and underexposing, you can use the shadows to show focus in your composition. Casting dark shadows around the central subject of your work will remove any distractions surrounding it.

underexpose for strong shadows

7. Use HDR to Take Photos at Night

The default camera settings on an iPhone often appear grainy in your nighttime photos. To work against this, tap the HDR button on your camera app and switch it to “On.” This combines multiple shots and reduces the grain, or “noise,” of the picture.


Try some of these techniques with your iPhone today,

“When you’re underexposed in a scene where there’s shadows, what happens is you really do make the shadows stand out by drawing a viewer directly into the scene without further distractions.”

For further training: iPhone Photo Academy

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