The cameras on our phones are getting better by the minute. And although I’m a professional photographer, most of the photos I take of my family are with my iPhone. I always have it in my back pocket and it’s so much easier to carry around. I still bust out my big camera for things now and then, but I have found that for the everyday stuff my iPhone does a pretty dang good job. Some of the things I do as a professional photographer to make my photos better for clients are also things we can do with our iPhones. Here are some simple tips that can help improve your iPhone photos.
1. Rule of Thirds: This is a basic photography concept that you may already be aware of. But the rule of thirds is a way of aligning your subject in the photo. Imagine breaking an image down into thirds both horizontally and vertically so that you have 9 parts. The rule of thirds basically states that if you position your subject on the intersects of where the vertical and horizontal lines meet, your photo becomes more balanced and more appealing to the eye. In this photo, I have placed my subjects on the lower right intersect instead of having them right in the center. It makes the photo much more interesting to look at.
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2. Eliminate Background Noise: Just as hard as it is for you to have a conversation with your spouse with the music blaring in the background, it is also difficult to have a good image with too much background noise. If possible, try to eliminate distractions from the photo. For example, if you are taking a photo of your child inside your home, it may be hard to focus on the child if there are a million toys lying around behind her. By doing a simple quick clean up beforehand, people will have a much easier time focusing on what you want them to focus on.
3. Find the best light: In my opinion, natural light is the most beautiful in photos. Indoor lights can give a yellow cast to photos. To get beautiful light, open up all of your blinds and have your subject face the windows. Be careful not to mix light sources. If you have your blinds open and your lights on, the colors will mix and give a weird coloring to your photos. Try to stick to one or the other. If you are taking photos outdoors in the middle of the day, try to find some open shade. The harsh sun in the middle of the day can cause shadows on your face, but by going into the open shade and facing the light, you can more evenly light your subject. Another fun tip, if you aren’t getting the exposure you want, try tapping different places on the screen. By doing this, you are telling the camera where to set the exposure. This can help if the camera is having a hard time properly exposing your subject. If you have a choice, the best time of day to take photos outside is early in the morning or later in the evening. Within a couple of hours after sunrise or before sunset. At these times, the sun is not as direct and the subject will have less shadows. Here are two examples. The first photo was taken around 12 pm and the second photo was taken around 7 pm.
4. Use Burst Mode: Taking pictures of kids can be hard. They don’t hold still or maybe you just want to get a picture of them jumping into the pool but they all turn out blurry. There are two ways to overcome this problem. 1. Use burst mode on your camera. You can do this by holding down the shutter button. By doing this it will take a bunch of photos consecutively. Then you can go back in and pick which ones you want to keep. If that doesn’t work, you can also take a video of it and then get a still shot from the video. I sometimes do that by using an app called Coach My Video. In this app you can upload your video and play in slow motion and then save different shots from the video. It comes in handy when you want to get that shot of your kid jumping off of the diving board.
5. Download Photo Editing Apps: There really are some amazing iPhone editing apps. Some of my favorites are VSCO and Afterlight. Both of those have different filters you can use but I mostly love brightening and sharpening my photos. I bump up the exposure, contrast, and sharpness in almost every single photo I upload to Facebook or Instagram. When I feel like my photo is kind of dark, one of my favorite things to do is use the “Lights On” option in the App PicTapGo. It’s an amazing filter that really brightens photos without losing detail. Here are two before and after shots I edited using the “Lights On” function along with the contrast function in PicTapGo.
What are YOUR tips for improving iPhone photos??? Happy picture-taking!