Some people work for years to master iPhone photography shooting and editing techniques. But with a few simple tricks you can start taking much better photos today! In this tutorial you’ll discover ten quick and easy iPhone photography tips that will significantly improve your iPhone photos.
1. Keep Your Photos Simple
Steve Jobs used to say, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And he was clearly onto something.
New photographers often overcomplicate their photos. But too many details can distract the viewer, making it hard to create a beautiful and harmonious composition.
One interesting subject is all you need to create a memorable photo. And it’s much easier to get the composition right when your photo has just one subject.
Don’t worry if most of your photo is filled with empty space. In photography we call this “negative space” and it’s a great way of making your subject stand out.
Simple, minimalist compositions are also ideal for sharing on social media. If you share your iPhone photos on Instagram or a similar photo-sharing network, people will be viewing your photos on the tiny screen of their phone.
As a result, much of the detail you have in your photos will be lost to the viewer. Keeping your photos simple will allow your audience to enjoy them more.
Creating clean and simple compositions is one of the easiest yet most powerful iPhone photography tips you can learn.
2. Shoot From A Low Angle
The majority of iPhone photos are shot from the chest height of a standing adult. This may be the most convenient way of taking a photo, but there are usually more creative options!
You can easily improve your photos by finding a more interesting perspective to shoot from. Often the best way to do that is to simply shoot from a lower angle.
There are three great reasons to take your photos from a lower angle. First, your photos will automatically become more intriguing because they allow the viewer to see the world in a new way.
Second, by shooting from a lower angle you can show your subject with nothing but the sky in the background. This is a good technique for removing unwanted distractions and making your subject stand out.
A third benefit of taking photos from a low angle is that you can show interesting details in the foreground that would otherwise be lost.
This is particularly useful when you want to capture ripples or reflections in water. Try kneeling or even lying on the ground to use this terrific iPhone photography tip!
3. Show Depth In Your Photos
There are several easy techniques that you can use to create depth in your photos. One of the most powerful methods is to incorporate leading lines into your composition.
Roads, paths, railway tracks, rivers, fences, ripples in the sand, or the water’s edge at the beach make excellent leading lines.
Just ensure you compose the photo so that the line leads from the foreground into the distance. This will draw the viewer through the scene and make your photo more engaging.
Another technique for creating depth is to include something of interest in the foreground, such as rocks, flowers, leaves or any other interesting objects that you can find.
If you’re struggling to incorporate foreground objects into your composition, try shooting from a lower angle.
If possible, try to include subjects in the foreground, middle ground and background. By following this simple iPhone photography tip, you’ll immediately make your images more three-dimensional.
A third way of creating a sense of depth in your photos is to use something in the foreground to frame the scene.
Archways, window frames, and even overhanging tree branches can be used as framing objects.
Shooting through a frame helps to draw the viewer’s eye through the frame to the scene beyond, thereby creating a stronger feeling of depth in the photo.
4. Align Your Subjects Diagonally
If you have multiple subjects in your scene, try aligning them diagonally within the frame. This will usually create a more balanced and harmonious composition.
If everything is positioned on one side of the frame, your photo can end up looking lop-sided and unbalanced.
So when shooting these kinds of photos, take a few moments to move the main elements so that they’re positioned diagonally within the frame.
In other situations you won’t have any control over where your subjects are positioned. For example, in landscape photography the objects are usually static and too big to be moved.
In environments like this, you’ll need to move around the scene to find a perspective where the main subjects appear to align diagonally.
In the photo above, including the ferns in foreground creates diagonal balance with the cliff-face in the background.
And in the photo below, the boat in the foreground balances diagonally with the boat in the background.
You can even use leading lines to create diagonal balance in your photos. Notice how the foamy water in the bottom left of the image below gradually leads diagonally towards the hill at the top right.
Once you train your eye to notice diagonal compositions, your photos will appear more balanced and harmonious – ultimately making them more engaging and interesting to look at.
5. Capture Close-Up Detail
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when taking photos is not getting close enough to the subject.
If you shoot from too far away, you’ll never be able to capture the amazing details, colors and textures that will really bring your photos to life.
It’s also a good technique to use in portrait photography. Getting close allows you to capture your subject’s facial features and emotions – which will give your photo far more impact.
This works when photographing both people and pets. So be sure to get down to the level of your subject and don’t be afraid to get in close.
Keep in mind that your iPhone won’t be able to focus properly if the lens is too close to your subject.
If you want to capture extreme close-ups of tiny detail, you’ll need to use an add-on macro lens which allows you to focus very close to the subject.
Of course, for genres like landscape photography, you’ll be photographing distant scenes. However, including some close-up detail in the foreground is a great way of adding extra visual interest and a stronger sense of depth.
So don’t be afraid to get up close to objects in the foreground when you’re shooting scenery. It might make all the difference to your photo!
6. Include Shadows In Your Composition
When the sun is low in the sky, the long shadows cast by your subjects are often more interesting than the actual subjects themselves.
Photographing shadows can add a wonderful sense of mystery and intrigue to your images. And they’re great for adding visual interest to the foreground of your composition.
The longest shadows are created when the sun is very low in the sky. So shooting during the golden hour of sunrise or sunset is the best time to take these kinds of photos.
Shooting with the sun in front of you will ensure that the shadows appear in the foreground of the photo.
To ensure the shadows are prominent in your picture, you might need to manually adjust the exposure so that the shadows appear dark enough.
To do this, start by tapping to set focus in the camera app, then swipe down on the screen so that the shadows appear nice and dark.
If necessary, you can further darken the shadows and increase contrast in post-processing by using an app such as Snapseed.
Shadows can create stunning abstract images, so keep your eyes peeled for interesting shadow patterns created by railings, trees and other objects.
When photographing shadows you can include both the subject and their shadow in the frame, or just photograph the shadows for a more unique and abstract shot.
7. Take Silhouette Photos
A silhouette is the dark shape of an object taken against bright light. Silhouetting is one of the most interesting iPhone photography techniques, and it’s actually very easy to achieve.
To shoot an incredible silhouette photo with your iPhone, all you need to do is find an interesting subject (such as a person) and shoot towards the light source.
To ensure your silhouette appears dark enough, tap to set focus, then swipe down to reduce the exposure if necessary. You can always darken the silhouettes a bit more using an editing app if you need to.
Silhouetting works best when the sun is low above the horizon. Shooting during the golden hour has the added advantage of you being able to use the beautiful colored sky as your background.
While sunrises and sunsets offer the perfect opportunity to take silhouette photos, you can create them wherever there’s a light source behind the subject.
For example, if you’re shooting indoors, you could place your subject in front of a window or lamp to create a silhouette.
In the photo below, I was even able to create a silhouette by using the reflected light from the floor tiles.
Silhouettes create incredibly eye-catching and dramatic images, so this might be one of the best iPhone photography tips that you learn today.
8. Photograph Reflections
Reflections make wonderful iPhone photography subjects. You can find reflections on many different surfaces including glass, shiny cars, and ice – but water is probably the best surface for reflection photography.
Unlike mirrors, the ripples and waves on the water’s surface can distort reflections to create a beautiful painterly effect.
To create this kind of reflection photo, hold your iPhone just an inch above the surface of the water.
If there aren’t any waves, you can always create them yourself by moving your hand through the water. The photo below was taken just after the water was deliberately disturbed.
In most cases, it looks best if you include both the reflection and the reflected object in your composition. This is because the symmetry created has a very strong visual impact.
However, in some cases, photographing just the reflection can create a beautiful abstract image. The photo below captures just the reflections of the trees and sky in the rippled water of a river.
Once you start paying attention, you’ll notice that reflections are everywhere – and they’ll look really great in your photos!
9. Use Symmetry
In photography, the word symmetry describes an image in which both halves are identical (or almost identical).
Reflections provide an easy way to create symmetrical images. If you position the line of symmetry across the center of the frame, the top and bottom halves of the photo will be symmetrical.
But of course, reflections are just one way to create symmetrical compositions. Architecture and other man-made objects (such as the building and bench in the photo below) are often designed to be symmetrical.
Look out for symmetrical scenes and subjects, and don’t be afraid to place them in the middle of the photo to really make the symmetry obvious.
You can’t argue with the dramatic effect you can create with symmetry and central composition.
10. Enhance Your Photos With VSCO Filters
Entire books have been written about the topic of photo editing. But you don’t need high-end editing skills or technology to add beauty or drama to your iPhone photos.
The easiest way to apply powerful yet subtle effects to your photos is to use the preset filters in the VSCO app.
Open the VSCO app, tap the plus icon (+) at the top left of the screen, and import the photo you want to edit.
Now tap the Edit icon (two sliders) at the bottom of the screen, then select a filter from the options at the bottom.
To reduce the intensity of the filter, tap on the filter name, then drag the slider to the left. Tap the circle when you’re happy with the effect.
To save the edited image, tap the small arrow beneath the list of filters, then tap the circle at the bottom right.
On the next screen, tap the three dots icon at the bottom right, select Save To Camera Roll, then select Actual Size.
VSCO presets allow you to apply beautiful filters that enhance your photo in seconds. Because the filters are quite subtle, it makes it very difficult for you to over-edit your photos.
Whether you want to create classic black and white pictures, crisp clean edits, or faded vintage photos, there’s plenty of filters to choose from.
iPhone Photography Tips: Recap
Here’s a quick recap of the iPhone photography tips covered in this tutorial:
- Keep your photos simple
- Shoot from a low angle
- Show depth in your photos
- Align your subjects diagonally
- Capture close-up detail
- Include shadows in your composition
- Take silhouette photos
- Photograph reflections
- Use symmetry
- Enhance your photos with VSCO filters
Try using one or more of these iPhone photography tips every time you take a picture. Once you start using them you’ll quickly notice a huge improvement in your iPhone photos!
7 Little-Known iPhone Photography Tricks
I created a free video revealing 7 little-known tricks for taking incredible iPhone photos that everyone adores. In this video you’re going to get practical tips for applying the things you learned in this article.