10+ iPhone photography tips for iPhone 12, iOS 14 & later
Just got hold of a new iPhone? An existing iPhone user who just wants to learn a little more about iPhone photography? Here’s a curated selection of 10+ tips you’ll use. Don’t forget to also take a little time to learn the over seven ways to open your iPhone camera while you are here.
Take beautiful portrait shots with depth control
Portrait mode on iPhones is super, but you can improve it. While in Portrait mode just tap the f at the top right. Now you can use the slider that appears underneath the image preview to achieve just the right depth in the shot. Better yet, you can apply that edit retrospectively too.
Also read: 10 essential iPhone photography accessories
Change the key frame for a Live photo
Got a Live photo you like but the key frame (the image you see in the library) doesn’t do it justice? Change it up:
- Choose the photo
- Tap edit
- Slide through the images that make up the live photo to find the best one
- Tap Make Key Photo
Now this will be the image you see in your collection
Take better shots with the Grid
You can use the iPhone camera’s grid to take better images of almost anything you like, because the grid helps you take a better composition that fits the rule of thirds. To enable the feature: Open Settings>Camera and in the ‘Composition’ section toggle the Grid to On.
Why you need QuickTake
Taking a photo and realize you want to capture video instead? You can fiddle with your phone if you want to lose the moment, but there’s another way:
- While in Photo mode press and hold the Shutter button to start recording a QuickTake video.
- Slide the Shutter button to the right over to the lock icon and you’ll be able to release the button and continue to take video.
- You’ll also be able to take still photos using the now right-hand Shutter button.
- You can also start recording a QuickTake video when you press and hold the volume up or down button while in Photo mode.
Better action shots with Burst mode
You’ll take better action shots if you use Burst mode: Just tap the shutter, keep pressing it and drag it toward the camera roll square.
Selfie like you see them
Why do selfies look different once you capture them? It’s because the image that you see is a mirror image of what the camera will capture. So if you thinkl you are leaning left the camera things you are leaning to the right. Change this in Settings>Camera and toggle Mirror Front Camera to on. In future the selfie you capture will look the same as the one you see on your iPhone screen. Hurrah!
Also on a selfie tip, don’t ignore Lens Correction. By default, the camera will try to automatically enhance selfie images, but if you want to be completely natural just turn Lens Correction off in Settings>Camera.
Apple makes lots more useful tips available via YouTube.
Get the detail with Apple pro RAW
Available on iPhone 12 Pro/Pro Max running iOS 14.3, ProRAW format photos capture a huge quantity of additional imaging information in an editable DNG file. You can edit these files in Photos on your iPhone, and should see that when you do you can expose much better detail (even in poorly lit shots) when it comes to the edit, as explained here. Enable this in Settings>Camera>Formats>Pro RAW. Be warned – the images you capture are much, much larger (around 500%) in terms of file size than what you usually create, which means the format will eat through your available storage fast. More on this feature here.
Get better movies
Want movies that look more like movies should look? Switch to 24fps capture in 4K in Settings>Camera>Record Video.
What are Preserve Settings and why you might use them
Do you get annoyed when your Camera opens in default settingsm rather than remembering your last used preferences? You can change this, just open Settings>Camera and tap ‘Preserve Settings’ and you’ll be given the choice to preserve one or more of the following modes:
Camera mode: camera will automatically open in the last mode you had it open in.
Creative Controls: Preserve the last used filter, aspect ratio, light or depth setting, rather than automatically reset.
Exposure adjustment: Preserve these rather than automatically reset
Live Photo: Preserve the last setting rather than automatically turn it on.
So, if you like to take square images you’ll keep Camera mode, while if you are engaged in a series of shots that need the same creative settings, you’ll ask your device to maintain Creative Controls, and so on. The best explanation of the nuances of this feature that I came across is available here.
Use Scene Detection
If you use an iPhone 12 or later, Scene Detection augments your photography with a little machine vision intelligence. What this means is the camera will figure out what you are photographing and apply that AI to optimize the details you capture in a scene. To turn this feature off, go to Settings > Camera and turn off Scene Detection.
Exposure Compensation Control
Available in iOS 14, you can use Exposure Compensation Control to precisely set and lock the exposure settings you want to use for a series of shots. This is useful as the camera will set focus and exposure automatically left to its own devices. To use this, tap the arrow and then tap the button depicting a + sign above a – to adjust exposure which is then locked and made available for use next time you use the Camera app.
7+ more iPhone photography tips
- 7+ fast ways to open your iPhone Camera
- How to take Night Mode portraits with iPhone 12 Pro phones
- Video: 3 more great Apple tips for iPhone photography
- 7 iPhone Photography Problems and How to Solve Them
- MacPhun’s Travel Photography Tips for iPhone and Mac Users
- iPhone 11: What is QuickTake and how do I use it?
- 7 hidden iOS tricks you’ll probably use