Smartphones, particularly the iPhone, have changed the way people take photos. The iPhone has a great lens, and killer censor, which takes awesome photos in almost any light. Taking photos with an iPhone is different from taking photos with a regular camera, but these tips will help ensure that you take great photos with every tap of the photo button.
The iPhone Wide Angle Lens
Unlike DSLR cameras, iPhones only have a single wide-angle lens. Having only a single lens choice is both limiting and freeing at the same time. Due to its width, the iPhone lens often gives a fish-eye effect to subjects when they are too close to the phone. Being aware of this effect will allow iPhone photographers to take advantage of the effect. Tipping your phone one way or the other will manipulate the stretched angles caused by the lens. It will take a bit or practice, but once you get the hang of it, this technique will help your close-up subjects pop while giving your landscapes more depth.
In this photo the camera is angled down to make the train pop while drawing out the landscape.
Get in Close to Your Subject
When shooting portraits or macro shots, keep the phone aligned with your subject. This will avoid the distortion discussed above. With the phone properly aligned, you can move close to your subject to have the wide angle work in your favour. Getting in close will make your subject’s features pop. There is still some lens distortion but keeping the camera level with your subject will make the distortion look natural and is pleasing to the eye.
Getting close to an animal will make their noise and eyes pop because it gives their feature depth.
Post Processing on the iPhone
You don’t have to be a photoshop guru to make your iPhone photos look better with a little post processing. Most post processing on the iPhone is the addition of filters. The iPhone comes loaded with free filters that can be accessed via the Camera Roll. Photographers can go into the Camera Roll, choose the photo they which manipulate and then tap on ‘Edit’. From the Edit menu, a photo can be cropped, auto-enhanced, or have a filter added. These options come free with the phone, but there are also a lot of apps available to help iPhone photographers enhance their shots. Two free apps that come highly recommended are Instagram and Adobe Photoshop Express.
Low light and the iPhone
Photography is all about manipulating light, and each camera does it a little differently. The iPhone has always done an exceptional job in low light situations, but iPhone photographers still have to have steady hands to grab sharp shots. The first tip is to turn off the camera flash unless you can’t shoot without it. The flash usually does nothing more than cause harsh shadows and poor light. Even if a shot turns out dark, filters available in the Camera Roll, or via Instagram, or Photoshop Express can easily save the day.
Harsh contrast can be the hardest type of light to master, but the results can be amazing when pulled off correctly.
Clean your Lens Regularly
Taking crisp and clean photos means having a clean lens to shoot through. To clean your lens, use a cotton swap to gently brush away large debris. The iPhone lens is very durable but you still want to ensure that you don’t push any debris hard against the lens and scratch it. To remove any dust or small particles, wet the cotton swab and clean the lens again, then use a dry swab to wipe away any moisture.
These simple tips will help you use the iPhone’s camera but the best way to learn how to take great pictures is by constantly taking photos and learning from others’ photos. All of the photos used in this tutorial were taken by my wife, Shawna. If you wish to see what she’s been shooting, follow her on Instagram.