Since I got my first iPhone (the iPhone 3), what feels like decades ago, I loved taking pictures with that phone. The camera quality improved drastically with the iPhone 4. You can actually print decent photographs from the files the camera produces. With the upcoming update of iOs, Apple will introduce some improvements on the camera usage and integration with Twitter.
I have been taking pictures with the iPhone almost daily for the last two years or so. Along the way I picked up some concepts that can help you to get more out of your iPhone camera. The sensor, on which the images are recorded is small in comparison to other digital cameras and tiny, if you compare it to fullframe sensors of professional DSLRs. The camera has limitations. This important to remember. The more you know about the limitations of your camera, the easier you will find ways of getting the best out of your iPhone camera.
With the tiny size, you will see a very bad performance to low light situations. Don’t expect perfect image quality during late nights at a party.
How do you create better images with your iPhone?
- Don’t use the zoom! The zoom is what the experts call a digital zoom and crops the image. With the small sensor, this has it’s limits. If I want to crop an image, I do it in the post editing on the phone.
- I hardly use the flash. The flash works, but produces harsh shadows.
- Focus on composition. You work with a fixed lens and your photographic skill shines on what you know about composition. Make use of the Rule of Thirds, for example.
- Be creative with focus. Even the built in camera app gives you the control to set the focus, wherever you want to set it. Simply click on the screen, where you want to focus on and the focus changes. Very simple.
- Be cautious with using the built in HDR setting for portraits. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. The function exposes pictures closer to what you see with your eyes a wider range between dark and bright areas of your picture. It achieves this by exposing a couple of images in short sequence after each other and produces a more balanced image. When you photograph people, you can end up with double heads as your subject might have moved during the exposure.
- Lift your finger to expose. This tip, I picked up from Chase Jarvis. When you expose your image, put your finger on the exposure button, steady your iPhone and release the finger, when you are ready to expose. You avoid shaken pictures, by doing this.
- Use other camera apps. I use in particular Camera+, Pano and TrueHDR (the last one for HDR images). Camera+ lets you view Rule of Thirds lines for the composition of your image. The post edit filters are easy to use and adjustable. A neat trick is that you can separate measuring light and focusing by using two fingers and moving them apart from each other. It is a good way of choosing the best exposure for your image. It also allows you sharing straight from within the app to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.
- Combine different apps. The image on top of this post is the result of a capture in TrueHDR and further editing in Camera+. Works great.
- Experiment. I like trying to take pictures that in theory should not work. Taking pictures late at night is one of those examples. Sometimes you learn something new and unexpected.
- Have fun.
What tips do you have?