How to Take Better iPhone Photos

Yesterday, we learned what to do with high-quality photos to grow your Instagram following but let’s take it a step back and dissect how to take better iPhone photos for your Instagram feed.

Use the Built In Camera – not an app

Apps often shrink the storage size of the image by eliminating detail. So yes, while we’re all frustrated by the “no more storage” pop ups you’re going to get a higher quality photo if you use the phone’s camera. And while we’re on the subject – don’t use the flash and wipe the camera lens off often with a eyeglass cloth!

Use Natural Lighting

Well lit photos are essential. If you can’t be outside, get next to a window. Do everything you can to avoid pictures indoors, at night. They’ll just be too dark and your editing efforts will make the photo look washed out.

Pay Attention to the Background

iPhones don’t have the blur effect (also known as bokeh) that your prime lens equipped DSLR will have so it is important to look for uncluttered backgrounds. And people are drawn to your subject more when you use negative/white space effectively.

Turn on the Grid & HDR

The grid helps you to position the items in your photo. You can choose to put that donut right in the center of the center grid or you can offset it – dealer’s choice. The HDR setting will take a couple of photos when you tap and merge them together for a crisper image.

Befriend Exposure Settings

Tapping the preview will tell iPhone where to pick up the light from so you can illuminate a darker scene easily. There is also a sunshine icon that pops up where you can increase or decrease the exposure!
Be careful not to over expose – you lose detail that you can’t get back no matter how much sharpening you do!

Use AE/AF Lock

AE/AF lock means Auto Exposure and Auto Focus lock which means no matter where you adjust the camera the are you pick will stay in focus. It is a little yellow box in the preview. This is helpful for offsetting images and helping you pick the angle that works best for your curated feed.

A few more tips:

  • Pay attention (and practice) the angle at which you hold your phone. This is especially important for “flat lay” photos – make sure your phone is level to the surface otherwise your flat lay will be sloped.
  • Figure out what grip works best for you, and for the type of photo.
  • Don’t always shoot in the square mode.
  • Look into the camera if someone is taking your photo – it isn’t in the middle of the phone. Even for selfies it is a little offset. Or if looking into the camera is not your thing play around with looking at different areas of the image, off to one side or the other or up or down.

As with DSLR photography the only way to improve is with practice!