iPhone Photography Tips with Carly Abbott

Any marketing professional will tell you that visuals are a crucial part of the process, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run out and buy a DLSR camera to get the best shots. Our photographer, Carly Abbott, shares her tips for getting the best photos with your iPhone.

iPhone Photography Tips with Carly Abbott - Social Stylate

A simple snapshot saved by shooting in Live Mode and exporting from Motion Stills.

Professional photographers are loathe to admit it, but iPhones have come a long way and can be wonderful tools for your personal or marketing photography. Equipment does not make the photographer; A good natural eye, and a grasp of photo knowledge is what really counts.

I am mainly going to focus on ways to use your iPhone’s built-in technology to create beautiful images. However, there are several apps I enjoy as well. For filtering, I enjoy VSCO and Instagram. There is also an app called Camera+, which allows you to take “macro” shots of small objects.

Now, down to the tips!

1. Control your exposure and focus point:

Many of you may know that if you want your phone’s camera to expose correctly for a certain object, you can simply tap the spot on the screen before shooting. This will tell your iPhone to use its best guess on exposure. However, once you tap the screen a little sun icon appears. Try running your finger up and down on the screen, and you will see you know have total control of the image’s exposure!

Now, if you know you want this spot to be in focus, you can also lock the AE/AF. Instead of tapping, hold your finger down on that spot until the square flashes, at which point it is locked. Now, you can play with the exposure and composition, and the camera will maintain that focus point.

2. Prevent camera shake:

These cameras are pretty powerful in dim lighting, but they still have the same issues as DSLRs. If there is not enough light, you may end up with blur due to camera shake. One way to combat this is to keep your camera as still as possible when shooting, something that can be hard if you are holding it at a tricky angle. There are two ways to help this: once you want to shoot, you can hit your volume up button to take the picture. OR, if you are really planning ahead and have your phone on a stable surface or even a tripod, you can use the volume up button on your headphones as a remote shutter trigger. Cool, right?

There is also a timer icon on the top row of your camera screen. This is great if you don’t want to move the phone by hitting a button.

3. Catch them in the act!

Anyone who has tried to photograph kids or pets knows you can completely miss the perfect moment by being too slow on the draw! I have two ways around this. The first is shooting in burst mode. Simply hold your finger down on the shutter button, and your phone will shoot many frames in a row. The drawbacks to this are you use up a lot of storage space, and you have to cull through a bunch of images to find the perfect one.

I also love to shoot in Live mode. Not only do I love playing these images to hear the odd giggles my kids made at the time, but I also view them in an app called Motion Stills. This app allows you to make the live image into a looping GIF, or you can export any frame captured in the Live photo. So, if your dog blinks when you hit the button, there’s a good chance you can freeze the image in another split second when his eyes were open!

These are just a few tips to help you with your phone’s camera. The newest phones coming out have even more features, such as portrait mode and “studio lighting” which all leaves this photographer worried about the art form’s future, because they are so cool! But the biggest photography advice stays the same no matter what equipment you use: Turn that cheap little flash off, and focus on your lighting. And when in doubt, move your feet to the right spot to get the coolest shot. Happy shooting!


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