iPhone-ography - Tips from a Professional Photographer

As a professional photographer, I still use my iPhone far more often than I use my DSLR when capturing my daily life. The newest iPhone technology paired with the multitude of editing apps available, means anyone can “curate magic” and capture beautiful professional grade content with just few simple clicks of a button.

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Here are four easy hacks to help you take beautiful curated photos on your iPhone:

FIRST…WORK TO CAPTURE THE EMOTION BEHIND THE MOMENT

While there are many technical aspects of photography, there is still no greater advice I could give to someone wanting to capture great photo content than to begin by shooting the people and things that mean something to you. 

When you are able to translate the emotion behind the moment you are capturing you are winning the photo game and I personally love curating anything that conveys relationship and connection between people that love one another. 

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THEN…LEARN THE TOOLS INSIDE YOUR IPHONE CAMERA

1. TAP FOCUS

The simplest and most impactful tool within your iPhone camera is the tap to focus tool. When focusing on your subject, tap the center of your screen and a yellow box will appear around the point of focus (and for some phone models you will also be shown a sun icon where you can adjust the brightness of your photo before taking the photo itself as shown in the photos below). If you want to lock this point of focus; you simply hold your finger on that same point for a few seconds, and the focus square will pulse twice. This signals the focus locking (AE/AF lock) tool. This will force whatever focus point you set to remain set while you reframe your photo until the focus point moves from the frame.   

This is a tremendously powerful tool, because it allows you to control what you want the iPhone camera to focus on. To release the focus lock, just tap anywhere else on the screen.

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2. AUTO HDR

This tool seriously upgrades your photos with one single click of a button. Simply put,  HDR stands for high dynamic range and it gives you superior picture quality by blending the best parts of three different exposures. Simply tap the little HDR at the top of your camera screen, and just like that - you are off to taking higher quality photos.


3. PORTRAIT MODE/IG FOCUS FEATURE

For those with iPhone “Plus” models, I highly recommend the use of the Portrait mode, which uses the phones dual cameras to create a depth-of-field effect. This allows you to compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp with a blurred background (and mimics a  professional look in seconds). For those without access to the two camera system, Instagram launched a similar tool in 2018 called FOCUS  which allows users to capture portraits (only downfall is that this tool only works with faces) for a similar effect. 

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4. TURN THE FLASH OFF

While your built in flash took works wonders for nighttime photography - I will consistently say that nothing beats beautiful natural light, and when shooting within these conditions, your flash will only negatively impact your photos. So be sure to turn your flash off during daylight hours. Don’t worry about it feeling a tad dark, we can lighten it up with an editing app!

5. GO WHERE THE LIGHT IS

Back to my previous point… when it comes to photography, nothing beats big beautiful, natural, sunlight. When shooting portraits; it is always best to position your subject towards the light (front facing lighting), and a big open window is your best beauty tool when it comes to capturing portraits. When shooting completely outdoors, be aware of what time of day you will be shooting, as well as the weather conditions because direct overhead sun is often too harsh and projects undesirable shadows onto your subjects.

With that said, a nice overcast day can make for beautiful photos when shot in the middle of the day. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to shoot outdoor photos in full sun conditions. When shooting indoors and in low lighting scenarios, you can always purchase additional lighting (there are so many wonderful inexpensive options for purchase on Amazon) to help supplement your photos. 

There’s one more thing you may want to think about: White environments always bring more light.  Consider shooting on white beds, in white rooms, within white snow, at white beaches etc. to reflects the natural light and enhance the brightness of your photography.

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WRITTEN BY CHRISTINA CERANNA: CREATIVE DIRECTOR, PHOTOGRAPHER, SOCIAL MEDIA & CONTENT STRATEGIST