How to become a better iPhone photographer
The iPhone 7 camera is ‘the most popular camera in the world,’ says Apple’s website. They've most definitely changed photography – and with the camera tech becoming more advanced with each new iPhone, that trend is set to continue.
Experts at Ofcom say that around two-thirds (60%) of people are most likely to use their smartphone to take a photo. But how can you make sure your smartphone photography is the best it can be?
Become a better iPhone photographer with these seven tips…
1. Use the volume button to take a picture
When taking a photo on your iPhone 7 you can either press directly onto the screen to release the shutter, or set up the volume button to be used.
Using an on-screen shutter button can lead to camera shake and blurry photos. Instead use the up-volume button on the left side of your phone. It’ll feel much more like a real camera – with an actual tactile button to press – and be less likely to shake and give you more control.
Did you know? You can also use your Apple headphones to take a picture using the up-volume button on the cable?
2. Use the grid for the basics of composition
The composition of a photo is how people and objects are arranged in the shot – and the iPhone 7 camera has a built-in tool to get you started.
Central to composition is the rule of thirds, which uses horizontal and vertical lines to divide the frame into boxes and show you where the subject (the person or landmark you’re photographing) should be. The iPhone 7 camera has a rule of thirds diagram built-in - called the grid. Turn it on and lines will be laid over the image on your screen – so you know where people and things should be.
To turn on the grid, go to: Settings > Photos & Camera > Slide the grid on
3. Digital zoom is not optical zoom
When people talk about digital zoom on a smartphone camera it’s not the same thing as the proper zoom you get on actual digital cameras.
The zoom on a digital camera is called optical. It means that when you press the button, the lens actually moves – extending out from the camera to get closer to the subject.
Digital zoom on the other hand is not so good. The camera lens doesn’t move at all. Instead it blows up the picture to make it appear that it’s closer. It does this by cropping the picture and enlarging it. A picture is made up of pixels, and this stretches those pixels, leading to lower picture quality.
Forget about digital zoom. If you want to get closer to your subject then take a few steps instead.
4. Explore focus and exposure for creative photography
Being able to use and understand manual camera settings is a big step in becoming a more creative photographer. They’re important for creating different effects, and shooting in bright sunlight or on a dull rainy day.
On iPhone 7, experimenting with some of these is easy. Take exposure for example, which controls how much light is used to make up your photo and affects whether a photo is bright or dark. You can easily tweak the exposure before you take a photo using the exposure slider, built into iPhone 7's camera app.
The slider appears on the screen when you set your point of focus – you do this by simply tapping on the thing in the frame you want to make stand out. It’ll make the subject of your photo more defined, and the background slightly blurred.
5. Capture movement and take great portraits with burst mode
When you’re photographing a scene with movement in, it can be tough to get that perfectly-timed shot.
You can end up with blurred photos and weird composition. But, by using iPhone 7's burst mode, you’ve got more of a chance of a better shot.
Why? Because it takes 10 frames (or different photos) per second. From there you can pick the shot that most accurately reflects what you were after in terms of the composition and pose. Burst mode is also great for capturing original portraits of your friends and loved ones – with 10 frames you can capture that candid glance away from the camera after the first shot, or that first break of a smile.
How to use Burst Mode? Simply long-press on the shutter button - when it’s activated you’ll hear numerous shutter sounds one after the other.
6. Edit your photos to make them look better
You’re starting to see some improvement in your photography, with the basics of composition and manual settings giving them a professional edge. But even though your photos are better, you’re left infuriated by little imperfections – things like blemishes and colour issues.
Using the Snapseed photo-editing app will help your get rid of them. Use it to remove dust and dirt, tweak brightness and saturation and add atmospheric filters – from grunge to grainy film.
You work in layers in the same way as professional photo editing software. This means each edit has its own isolated layer (called stacks) and can be deleted or changed without affecting anything else.
Did you know? You can also edit your photos directly in the iPhone Photos app – from tweaking colours and lighting to converting a picture to black and white.
7. Organise your pictures in Photos
Any aspiring smartphone photographer will be taking lots of photos – enough to soon hog the memory on your iPhone 7. With the Photos app and Apple's iCloud you can clear space on your actual handset and bring order to your growing archive. The Photos app organises your pictures based on when and where they were taken, and who’s in them.
Every photo you take is backed up online to Apple’s iCloud. This means you can view your photos taken on your iPhone 7, from your iPad, or MacBook.
And while larger, full-resolution photos are saved to iCloud, the versions on your phone are smaller to save space.