We rarely give much thought to our iPhones’ Camera. It’s always there and easy to use, so we just snap away.
But, if you want the very best pictures, then you may want to consider a few things BEFORE you take that shot.
Let’s get started from the very beginning…
Quickly Opening Your Camera
OK, obviously, tapping the Camera App icon will launch your iPhone’s Camera. But, there are other ways to access your Camera that may be quicker.
The fastest way is just to launch Siri and say “Camera” or “Take Photo.” You don’t even have to unlock your iPhone!
Or, maybe you’re in a situation where you don’t want to talk to Siri, like at a school play. Then, you can just swipe left on the lock screen to open your Camera quickly, without even unlocking the phone.
Another option is to quickly access certain Camera Functions by opening your control center (Swipe down from the top left. Or, on older iPhones, swipe up from the bottom.)
Long-Press the Camera App Icon to launch a shortcuts menu to Take a Selfie, Record a Video, Take a Portrait, or Record Slow Motion.
Taking a Photo
After launching… Your Camera App has the “Photo Mode” selected by default. So, you can quickly tap the shutter button to take a photo. Or… You can also press the side “Volume Up” Button. That’s a sneaky way to get some candid shots when no one sees you about to tap the screen.
But wait! Before you start snapping, there are a few pre-shot settings you may want to consider first.
There’s a toolbar that gives you quick access to several options…
- Flash: This option turns on the LED flash on the rear of your iPhone, or “Screen Flash” when in Front-Camera Selfie Mode. The flash is good in low-light situations. But, it can cause your photo to look washed out. That’s why I try to avoid using the flash. Or, set it to “Auto” to let the Camera decide if a Flash would improve or ruin the shot. After all… they do call it a “Smart Phone.”
- Live Photo: When this option is turned on, your iPhone will store a few seconds of video alongside the photo for you to review at a later date. It’s kind of like a movie that lasts a few seconds and has a still shot associated with it. We’ll cover Live Photos in more detail later in this series.
- Timer: As the name suggests, this allows you to start a three or 10-second timer so that you can get into the photo, too. The timer is great for group shots or if you’re alone in the woods and want to take a self-portrait. A small flexible tripod comes in handy for timer shots. Hey, we sell one here. What a coincidence!
- Filters: After tapping the Filters icon, a bar will appear that shows previews of the photo using each filter. You can swipe to scroll through the different filter effects. Tap a filter you like, then snap your photo with the filter applied. But don’t worry; you can always remove the filter effect later if you change your mind.
If you have a newer iPhone, you may also have the following additional options…
- Night Mode. This innovative new feature that Apple recently introduced allows your iPhone to take beautiful night images. It works by taking several different photos simultaneously and then blending them to arrive at a perfect photo. You can use this button to turn Night Mode off, but it will be on by default should lighting conditions dictate it.
- Aspect Ratio. This option lets you change the shape of the image you’re taking with your iPhone… Square… Wide… Tall. By default, this will be the 4:3 aspect ratio.
- Quick Exposure. This button allows you to quickly change your exposure settings on the fly, which may be necessary depending on whatever lighting conditions you find yourself in.
Experiment with Photo Modes
As you probably already know, you can shoot both photos and videos with your iPhone. But there are also several other modes that you can select. You can find these “modes” on a toolbar along the bottom of the “Camera” app.
All you have to do is swipe to the left or right and select the one you want to use with your finger. These modes are:
- Time Lapse. This mode allows you to film a time lapse video with your iPhone, by taking single frame shots over time. Your Camera will capture around one to two frames per second. When played back, the time-lapse video appears in fast motion.
- Slow-Mo. This mode allows you to shoot true slow-motion video at the highest frame rate your iPhone’s Camera can manage.
- Video. This mode allows you to capture videos in either 1080p high definition or 4K resolution (depending on which one you select).
- Portrait Mode. This feature debut with the iPhone over the last few years, and it has remained quite popular. It creates a blurred background in the photos you’d take to simulate an effect achieved with professional-grade cameras.
- Square. This mode allows you to shoot a square-sized photo, similar to the ones you might find on Instagram.
- Pano. This mode is the iPhone’s coveted “panorama” mode. It allows you to shoot multiple images at wide angles that will eventually be stitched together to form one long image.
So, there you have some things to consider before you take your next iPhone Photo. I hope these tips will help you take better pictures for years to come!
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