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iPhone Photography 101: Tips and tricks

By Amy Wright | Apr 12, 2021

Whether you’re an amateur photographer looking to improve your skills before buying a professional camera, or you’re an iPhone owner who wants to capture life’s most important moments, it has never been easier to take professional-level shots with the camera on your smartphone.

The iPhone 11 and 12 models offer some of the most sophisticated smartphone cameras currently on the market. So, if you’ve just bought an iPhone and you want to practice your photography skills, here are the iPhone photography tips and tricks you need to know to produce professional-level shots on a budget.


Keep it simple

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with photography on your iPhone is trying to capture too much at once. That’s not to say that you can’t use an iPhone to shoot busy scenes, but rather that iPhone photography works best when you choose a single subject to focus on.

Practicing your photography skills with a single subject is a great way to learn about composition and negative space. Plus, if you’re posting your photos to a platform like Instagram, these minimalist shots often capture more attention than busy, action-packed scenes.

Rule of thirds

This is a fundamental photography concept and one that’s used by both amateur photographers and professionals alike. Thankfully, the iPhone has a handy gridlines option that makes it easy to compose your photos. Simply go to Settings, click Photos and Camera, and switch on the Grid option.

This will overlay a grid over your viewfinder, so it’s easy to align your subject and the background in a way that is more visually appealing.

Use leading lines

Leading lines are a photography trick that draws the viewer’s attention to a subject. Using everyday items like railway lines, paths, tunnels, trees, or even railings, you can instantly create depth and movement in your iPhone photography.

You can even experiment with leading lines to frame subjects, play with depth, and even create optical illusions.

Understanding lighting

It’s a widespread myth that you shouldn’t point your camera towards your light source. While this can be an easy way to ruin a perfectly good shot, it can also be a brilliant way to enhance the beauty and features of your subject.

The great thing about using an iPhone is that it’s easy to take multiple photos experimenting with different light sources without filling up your memory. You can even adjust the aperture on your iPhone camera to change how much light you capture, which can even create or adjust the size of lens flares.

iPhone settings tips

Assisted focus

If you’re a regular iPhone user, then you already know how your camera’s auto-focus can be irritating. Thankfully, there’s an easy way around this.

All you have to do is tap on the screen on the subject or area you want your camera to focus on, and your camera will adjust automatically. Even better, you’ll see a yellow outlined square appear on the area you’ve tapped so you can easily adjust if it’s still wrong.

You can also lock your focus point by holding your finger on the focus point for a few seconds until you see “AE/AF Lock” appear. This is a great feature if you know the subject you want to capture, but you still need to adjust the composition.

Avoid camera shake

You’re probably already familiar with the dreaded camera shake you get when you try to take a selfie. But, did you know that you don’t have to hit the shutter button on your iPhone screen?

When you’re taking a picture with your iPhone, you can use the volume increase button on the side of your smartphone as your shutter instead, helping you capture a great image without any motion blur or distortion.

Plus, this trick works if you’re wearing Apple earbuds with your iPhone too, which is a good way to get candid shots.

Use burst mode for subjects in motion

It can be tricky to get a good shot of a subject that won’t sit still, whether that’s kids, pets, or wild animals. Burst mode is a brilliant solution for this, allowing you to capture 10 images per second. The beauty of this setting is that it’s already activated - you just need to hold down your shutter button.

Burst mode will fill up your iPhone’s memory quickly, though, so make sure you only pick the shots you like before you save them. After shooting the burst, tap “Select” to choose your images. When you hit “Done”, your phone will delete the shots you didn’t choose, so you don’t have to worry about manually deleting shots.

Adjust exposure

When you manually adjust the focus, you may see a little icon with a slider to the right of the yellow outlined box that appears. When you slide that, you can easily adjust the exposure of your shot to account for lighting or the mood you’re going for.

Simply slide your finger up if you want more exposure, and down for less.

HDR mode

You may have already noticed that iPhone photography has previously been lacking when it comes to capturing highly detailed landscapes or contrasted scenes. In newer iPhone models, HDR mode is designed to capture details in all areas of a photo, giving you the power of an expensive DSLR camera in your smartphone.

To activate this mode, all you need to do is open the camera app, click “HDR” in the top-left corner, and select “On”. If you want to save a copy of the non-HDR photo, for instance, if you want to play around with editing software, you can go to Settings > Photos and Camera to get your phone to save the original shot, too.

Apps and accessories

Use an external lens

One of the biggest advantages of a professional camera is interchangeable lenses. The lens on your iPhone is fixed, but you can still buy lenses that attach to your iPhone’s camera lens so you’ve got more functionality from iPhone photography.

Moment is one such brand building iPhone lenses, and they have options ranging from wide-angle all the way down to 10x macro.

Use editing apps

Instagram is well-known for its filters, but there are so many other apps available that offer desktop-level editing power for free or at a very small cost. VSCO, Foodie, and Lightroom are all extremely popular with iPhone photographers because they offer a lot of functionality in a very small package.

The benefit of these apps isn’t only that they make photo editing easy, but also that you can save the original, unedited photo, giving you more power to play around with your editor to find the styles that you like.

Easily order photo prints online with Canvaspop

Now that you know how to take a brilliant photo with these iPhone camera tips, you’ll undoubtedly have a collection of your best pictures that you think would look perfect as canvas prints or framed art. If you’ve been wondering how to print photos from your iPhone, we have your solution.

Whether you’re looking to turn that adorable picture of your dog into wall art or you want a framed canvas print from your last family reunion, we have a wide range of options that are perfect for both your home and as a gift.

With your new-found iPhone photography skills, you can order photo prints that help you preserve the important moments in your life. Plus, our prints are fully customizable, allowing you to scale, crop, or filter your photos any way you like before you send them to us for printing.

At Canvaspop, we see custom prints not only as a way to decorate your home, but also a way to showcase your personality, art, and memories. We know how important it is to have stunning, high-quality custom photo prints of important life events like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or even just memories from a day spent with friends. That’s why we work hard to make sure you’re 100% happy with your prints.

Ready to print your iPhone photos on canvas? Get started by clicking the button below.

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