A Guide to iPhone Photography

Creative expression and visual storytelling are more accessible than ever with the development of new technology. Each year, phone cameras advance dramatically, allowing more people to capture high-quality, beautiful images with ease. 

As a photographer, I'm not always able to carry around my heavy camera. But I’ve found that with some finessing, sometimes an iPhone camera is all I need to get the perfect shot. 

Whether you’re snapping for Insta, grabbing a quick product shot or in need of a simple headshot, here are some of my fav tips & tricks:

Edit! But Don’t Go Overboard

Editing apps are a fun way to add some color, vibrance, and dimension to your image. The VSCO app is my go-to because of its user-friendly design and wide range of filter options. When editing a photo in VSCO, I always play with the exposure and add a little bit of contrast to make the photos more vibrant. I prefer my pictures to be warm but not too warm, so I pick a clean filter with slight golden tones and adjust from there. I usually neutralize the warmth a little bit to balance all the tones. 

Another excellent editing app is Color Story, which is a fun app to play around with if you want to add light leaks, color fog, and other cool effects. Their free version of the app is limited, but if you are willing to pay a little bit a month, you can access 500+ cool effects. Editing photos can be fun, and most photographers (whether they like to admit it or not) do it. But it’s important to not overdo it with the effects. If you want more guidance, you can find great tutorials on YouTube!

[I edited these photos using VSCO Edits F2 and A6.]

Use Color to Tell a Story

With visual storytelling, using the right colors can be a way to communicate emotions. By pairing complementary colors, you can add contrast and depth to your photo to change the way your image tells a story. A great way to display products is to shoot from an aerial angle which is similar to a bird's eye view. In photography, we call this a “flat lay.” When preparing a flat lay, place objects together and continue to rearrange them until you get the perfect shot.

Light > Quality

Some of the best photographers in history had lower quality cameras but were still able to capture their subjects and understand light. The word photography originates from "the art of light," and light plays a significant role in making a good photograph. 

When you are taking pictures with your iPhone, use light and composition to find that perfect photograph. If you find good light, adjust your phone around that and snap some photos at different angles. Also, make sure the light is facing your subject rather than behind it. Having your back to the light will make the subject is dark, and the background bright. 

Time of day also plays a role in photography if you are using natural light. The best time to take photos is within one hour after sunrise and within two hours before sunset, known as the "Golden Hour." Shooting at this time will make your photos soft, golden, and beautiful. 

[While the subject still looks good with some editing, she is still backlit.]

[The sun is facing my subject in this picture and makes the color much crisper and more vibrant.]

[This picture was shot during golden hour. No edit needed!]

Use What You’ve Got!

There are many tools and options within the iPhone camera to adjust the lighting. Most people are surprised to find that you can actually change your exposure and camera settings before taking a photo with your phone. This feature is something I use every time I'm using the iPhone camera. To do this, lightly tap your subject and drag your brightness up or down. This allows you to change the whole picture's look easily and help with your post-production editing process.

And my final piece of advice...have fun! Get out there and take photos of everything that catches your eye; you can always go through and delete later. Experiment with different composition and editing techniques, play around with shooting at different times of day, and enjoy the process of practicing and learning this new hobby. 

Happy Snapping!

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