Arguably one of the best things about an iPhone is its ability to turn any regular person into a photographer. Whether it’s carefully crafted flat-lay photos of your latest fashion finds, #foodstagrams at brunch, or travel snaps from your latest adventure, you can take some seriously awesome photos using just your phone–if you know a few tricks.
Like any camera, there are a few things you should know about your smartphone snapper if you really want to capture the best shot. Ahead, we shortlist the six best tricks every iPhone photographer needs to know in order to take a pro picture.
1. Lock the exposure and focus by tapping and holding the screen.
You probably already know that by tapping an area on your camera screen, the iPhone will instantly adjust the exposure and focus around that object or person. However, if you move around this can quickly cause the camera to readjust the focus and lighting, and ruin your shot. Annoying.
To fix this, force your iPhone camera to stay focused on one area by tapping and holding the the desired part of the screen the “AE/AF Lock” message pops up. Once this appears your focus and lighting is locked, and if you move around to change the photo, the focus and exposure setting won’t readjust.
2. Clean your camera lens.
One of the most common and easy-to-fix causes of blurry photos is a dirty lens. Before you take any snap, give the iPhone camera lens a quick wipe with a clean cloth–the cleaning cloth for your sunglasses is a good option if you have one handy. The same goes for the reverse lens if it’s a selfie you’re trying to shoot.
3. Use the grid to stick to the rule of thirds.
The rule of thirds is an old photography guideline that says a scene should be divided into nine equal parts by vertical and horizontal lines. The rule dictates that objects should appear along those lines or intersection in order to get the best shot. Your iPhone camera actually comes equipped with an overlay grid that can help you follow this rule–activate it by opening Settings, tapping Photos & Camera, and swiping Grid to ON.
4. Use the square camera for Instagram photos.
Instagram images are always square, but iPhone photos aren’t. Instead of adding borders to try and turn a vertical photo square, or cropping a picture to make it fit for Instagram, just change your camera settings before taking the image. Capture a square photo by opening the camera app, and swiping right once to change your screen to a square composition. Now every photo you take will appear in a square screen.
5. Crop photos faster.
You can crop a photo on your iPhone by using the editing tool, but there’s actually an even quicker way to change the composition of your photo. Open the photo from your photo gallery, then pinch the screen to zoom in and rearrange the photo. Next, take a screenshot by holding the home button and lock screen button simultaneously. Now the newly cropped photo will be saved to your camera roll.
6. Capture the photo with your iPhone headphones.
Your iPhone headphones aren’t just for listening to music, they’re also a remote for your camera. You can take a photo while the camera app is open by pressing either volume buttons on your headphones. This can help you take a steadier photo, and–if you really want to get professional about this–take photos using a tripod and your headphones as a remote shutter.