My iPhone is my primary camera because I carry it with me everywhere. Plus, after upgrading to the iPhone 5, it’s better than my first digital camera ever was. With a few tricks and tools you can bring your iPhone photography closer to what a professional DSLR camera produces.
Release Your Shutter Button, Don’t Press It
The number one cause of poor-quality (fuzzy) photos is that your iPhone isn’t completely still when you take the picture. Hold your iPhone with two hands and hold down the shutter button with your thumb. The camera shutter isn’t released until you take your thumb off the shutter button. This can make a big difference, especially when you’re shooting in low light.
Stabilize Your iPhone
As hard as I try to hold still, some of my shots still come out fuzzy. Here’s what I’ve done to stabilize my iPhone when taking pictures:
- Hold your iPhone with both hands with your arms pulled in tight to your body, breathe out, and then release the shutter button
- Hold your iPhone on top of the nearest flat surface (table, chair back, walking stick, gate, etc.)
- Use the Belkin LiveAction Camera Grip to make your iPhone easier to grip and less likely to move when you use the built-in external shutter button
- Use a Joby Gorillapod Bendable Tripod to hold your iPhone (you’ll need an accessory like the Belkin LiveAction Camera Grip to use this or any other tripod)
Use Apps to Hide Your Mediocre Photography Skills
- I bought Hipstamatic for my original iPhone because the retro filters hid the fact that my camera wasn’t as high definition as I wanted.
- Instagram is a nice free alternative with lots of built-in social sharing options.
- Check out Color Splash for an artistic option to make part of your image pop.
- Finally Adobe Photoshop Express and iPhoto make basic photo editing easy on your iPhone or iPad.
Avoid the Digital Zoom
The iPhone uses a digital zoom when you try to get closer to far away objects. (This is different from the optical zoom on a regular camera with a built-in lens.) Digital zoom uses the iPhone’s processor to interpret what your object would look like closer up and frankly digital zooms are pretty lame at it. Your pictures will tend to be grainy. You’re better off just taking the picture and then using photo editing software like iPhoto to zoom afterwards.
Get An iPhone Lens
Olloclip is an external lens system for your iPhone that gives you macro, wide-angle, and fisheye lenses. It works with all iPhone video and photo apps and is a simple add-on for better photos.
Placing your subject in the middle of the frame gets boring fast. Read the Top 10 Photography Composition Rules to learn the rule of thirds, balancing elements, and more. While in the iPhone Camera App, press Options and turn Grid on to use the rules of thirds easily. Look for new angles that you wouldn’t see in a typical photo.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight on your subject’s faces will cause harsh shadows and likely some squinting. It’s also always best to shoot with the sun at your back or diffused by clouds. Shooting into the sun can lead to your subjects being washed out. If you don’t have a choice, check out my next tip on HDR.
Try Turning HDR On
Upgrade Your iPhone
If you’re using a previous generation iPhone as your primary camera, upgrading your iPhone can be the best investment in better photography. Just check out this music video that Camp 4 Collective shot with just two iPhone 4S cameras. If you’re going to record video and audio on your iPhone, you’re going to need a better microphone, the Belkin LiveAction Mic is an affordable option. Read their hints on shooting better iPhone video with the iPhone.
Choose 1-3 Great Photos to Share Instead of All 427
Remember when film cost money, so you carefully chose which moments to capture? Well now that there’s almost no incremental cost to snapping one more photo, people have gone a little crazy. Take it from this social media expert, your friends will enjoy a few carefully chosen shots instead of every minor detail of your last vacation.