Advance Your iPhone​ Photography

The past decade has brought new inventions that continuously make our lives easier. Eleven years ago Apple introduced the first iPhone, and since then iPhones have dominated the smartphone market. 85.8 million people own an iPhone, but do these users know how to use it? The iPhone can compete with some versions of cameras as it holds advanced settings and photo-taking capabilities all in the palm of your hand. I have been an iPhone user for over six years and I continue to find new features on the camera. Below are several tricks and tips I have learned about iPhone photography.


Focusing is one of the most common and useful features that the iPhone holds. Simply tap on the screen and you will see a yellow box which is where your photo will be focused. Why? When? Utilizing the focus is a feature that should always be used when attempting to have a focused image–no matter where you are!

Experiment With Alternate Modes 

To change modes when in the camera app, swipe to the left with your finger!

Portrait Mode

Portrait mode is a newer feature that focuses on one item while blurring the background. When do I use this mode? This mode is perfect for portraits (obviously) and other photos where there is a single subject in the foreground that you would like to highlight. Portrait mode requires a distance between the subject and photographer because the camera automatically zooms in to capture the most detail. Why should I use this mode? Portrait mode is the iPhone version of a digital camera’s aperture. Portrait mode allows the user to capture a subject with a blurred background making for a more professional-looking photo.

Photo Taken Using Portrait Mode

Slow Motion

Want to add a dramatic effect to your videos? Maybe you want to capture a leaf falling from a tree, someone cliff jumping, or even adding salt to a delicious meal (see below). When should I use slow motion? Using Slow Motion is the perfect way to slow a moment down. Why should I use slow motion? Slow motion can be used just for fun, but it can also add a dramatic effect to any video.

SLO-MO On iPhone


When you are surrounded by the beauty of nature, it is hard not to try and capture it all. Why should I use Pano Mode?Rather than taking 100 photos trying to fit together a single view, use the Panorama feature (also known as “pano”) in order to take one, wide photo. The pano feature works like this: you swipe until you are on the mode labeled “pano.” After selecting the mode, you will see an arrow sitting on a line with a long box surrounding it. To start moving the arrow, click the circle that is usually used for taking photos. As soon as you click the button, start moving to your right while trying to keep the arrow balanced on the line. Take your time, and if you begin to move too quickly it will tell you to slow down. Once you are satisfied with your picture, hit the circle again to end the panorama.

PANO On iPhone
Costa Rica Panorama

Time Lapse

Afraid of taking up storage with an extremely long video? When should I use Time Lapses? You can capture the sun setting, clouds moving, and more by using the Time Lapse feature. Simply set up your phone to stay in a single place and keep it there for however long you want. A time-lapse is a motion picture made so that a projected a slow action (such as the opening of a flower bud) appears to be sped up. The key to capturing the best time lapses is remaining steady with your phone (staying in one place) and being patient. Why should I use Time Lapse? Time Lapse saves storage and can add an interesting effect to any long video.

Time Lapse on iPhone

Enable The Grid

Why use the grid? The grid is a feature found on most cameras that allows for you to balance your photos to remain straight. To turn the grid on for your iPhone, go into settings>>camera>> and click the switch next to grid to turn it on.


Grid Mode in Settings

Adjust The Exposure

Why should I adjust the exposure? When taking photos it is easier to try and do the most you can to avoid an abundance of post-production time. A feature that allows you to avoid excess editing is found right next to the focus of the camera. When you tap on the subject you want in focus, you will notice a small, yellow sun appear next to the box. You have the ability to adjust the exposure of the image by dragging the sun up and down. When should I adjust the exposure? If you feel like the lighting is too bright or too dark, adjusting the exposure can alter a photo completely. For instance, I drag the sun downwards when taking photos of sunsets in order to highlight the colors in the sky.

Photo Taken with Low Exposure

Use Burst Mode for Action Shots

Why should I use burst mode? Without the ability to control shutter speed settings, capturing Action Shots can be difficult without utilizing the iPhone’s burst mode. The burst mode permits you to take several photos right after another (like a fast shutter speed). To use burst mode, hold down the camera button when you want to capture the subject. You will see the number of photos you take directly above the circle utilized to take photos. In order to view a burst, go to your photo library (can be identified in the top left corner) and you will see on the bottom the option to “Select…” or “Edit.” When hitting select, the library asks you to choose your favorites from the burst.


Live Photos

Live photos bring your visions to life! To turn on the live preference, click the circular logo on the top of the screen. Live photos are photos that capture moments before and after a photo so that when you view them in your camera roll, holding down on the picture with your finger shows you a short video of what happened during your photo.


Try it!

There are countless features for photography that can be found in the palm of your hand. Even if you are not a photographer, having an iPhone and applying these skills can develop your photo-taking abilities to the next level. You pay up to a thousand dollars for your phone, so learn what it can do!

For more features and in-depth information on your iPhone’s camera, visit iPhone Photography School.

If you want to know how to edit your photography, visit my blog 10 Photo Editing Applications On My Phone!

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