Taking Awesome Photos with Your iPhone
As the year comes to a close, it helps to slow down and take some time off. What better way to do this than to unleash the traveler within! Exploring other cultures, meeting new people, and getting to know unusual architectural wonders will broaden up your horizon making you a much “richer” person.
At the end of the day, making memories that you will carry for the rest of your life is an experience like no other.
Just as important as experiencing and “sampling” other culture is capturing pictures of it. In previous ages, if you wanted to take some high-quality photos, you needed to take a bunch of heavy cameras with all sorts of lenses. Now with the smartphones, taking awesome pictures are simpler and easier. In your pocket, you are literally carrying a map, compass, photo camera, dictionary, and wallet.
During our previous MeetUp, Erik Holladay of Erik Holladay Photography spoke about tips for taking photos with your smartphone while traveling. Erik also has his own meetup which you should definitely check out!
(Now although we say “smartphone”, this article focuses on Apple’s iPhone. Trust us when we say the iPhone is packed with an exceptional camera.)
In the following sections, we’ll talk about the Top iPhone Camera Tips, the Key Elements to consider when taking a photo, and post-production of your photos. Let’s dive right in!
Top 10 iPhone Camera Tips
- First things first before taking any iPhone photos at all, you need to clean your iPhone lens, and you need to do it frequently. Do it with a soft cloth. It is as easy as it sounds.
- Secondly, don’t use the zoom on your iPhone. Automatically, when you are zooming in, you are literally ruining your photo`s resolution. If you want to get a close-up shot, get moving, get closer.
- Don’t think about investing in zoom adapters. They are too pricey, and still not worth for that amount of money.
- If you want to add some filters to your photos, consider using some fee-based applications such as VSCO, Camera Plus 2, and Procamera. These allow you to separate focus from exposure.
- Use the Burst Mode. This super practical mode which is activated when you hold the photograph button will take several photos all in a row until you take your finger off the button. This is a great way to have multiple images from the same scenery. When you go into Photos, open the image and click Select on the bottom. You can see all the different photos and choose the one you like.
- If you want to create a mini video for iPhone, you can use the Live Feature. Although it is a bit gimmicky and it works only on iPhones, it is a creative and fun feature.
- The iPhone X and newer features come with a 3D feature.
- Don’t use your iPhone for night photos.
- If you do use your iPhone to make some night photos use a portable tripod such as the Gorilla Tripod which is ideal for traveling.
- For night shots consider taking a video instead of taking a photograph. For example, if you are photographing the Northern Lights which are actually a vivid “dancing” light spectacle, the video would work better than a still photograph.
Top 3 Elements to Consider When Taking an iPhone Photo
The key element to taking an excellent photo is to have a decent composition. Although it is quite a problematic element to define, you need to see it a set of ingredients that go along perfectly such as bread and butter combo, or maybe nachos with a cheese dip, instead of a set of “rules” that need to be followed. Something to focus on for example is having a specific pattern, or maybe having a perfect symmetry, or some kind of texture, maybe consider adding a depth of field, or perhaps some light lines created with prolonged exposure.
Time of Day
One of the most critical aspects when taking iPhone photos is the time of day you are taking them. The amount of sunlight can make such a difference, and once you advance in your photography skills, you will notice these details for sure. The best times to take photos is either in the morning or one hour before sunset (also known as the golden hour) and right after sunset (the blue hour).
Since you are after all visiting a new town or place that is entirely unknown to you, make sure you do some research ahead to see where you can go to get a unique angle. The best way is to check the social media such as Instagram to search for the most popular locations where people took pictures. If you are really into photography, you should definitely consider the idea of hiring a Fixer that will take you to the best stops at the best time of the day.
TAT TIP: If you are taking a photo of someone on the street, ask them. And if they agree, offer to show it to them and even share it with them.
If you are really into photography, you can also hire a Fixer in another city to take you to the best stops at the best time of day.
Post Production & Editing
Believe it or not, but taking a photo is only 50% of the process! The other 50% comes in post-production editing. It is almost critical, and most certainly an unavoidable thing to improve the colors and to increase the contrast of your pictures. The best way to do this is by using apps such as Snapseed ( Android Download & iPhone Download ) and Photoshop Fix ( Android Download & iPhone Download)
During post-production, there will be times when you want your photos blown up to larger than 4×6, and you don’t want to carry around an SLR and/or you want to take night photos. In this case, a point and shoot camera would be ideal.
Once you have a full memory on your phone with thousands of photos, you can start sorting them and creating some folders. A good rule of thumb is for every 1000 photos you take, you will have only 30 good ones. As soon as you find them in the sea of photos, you can divide them into two groups: the ones you will keep for yourself, and the ones that will be shown to your family.
If you are looking for an app that will make the entire process easier, you can use Mosaic. With its usage, you will be able to easily create an actual photobook of your top 20 photos from your trip that can be organized and arranged on your phone for $25. You can do yours on the plane back home. However, if you are willing to edit, format, rename and organize your photos on a computer, we recommend using the following programs: FastStone Image Viewer and LightRoom.
Need ideas for your next trip so you can take awesome photos? Check out where we’re heading to!