10 iPhone Photography Tips To Quickly Improve Your Photos

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.

iphone-photography-tips-1

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.

iphone-photography-tips-26

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.

iphone-photography-tips-2

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.

iphone-photography-tips-27

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.

IMG_0570

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.

iphone-photography-tips-11

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!

iphone-photography-tips-13

3. Show Depth In Your Photos

Most photos look better when they convey a sense of depth as it helps to draw the viewer’s eye into the scene. This is especially important in landscape photography.

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.

iphone-photography-tips-22

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.

iphone-photography-tips-20

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.

iphone-photography-tips-24

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.

iphone-photography-tips-23

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.

iphone-photography-tips-28

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.

iphone-photography-tips-30

If everything is positioned on one side of the frame, your photo can end up looking lop-sided and unbalanced.

With certain kinds of photography, such as still life and portraits, you have control over where you place the subjects within the scene.

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.

iphone-photography-tips-31

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.

iphone-photography-tips-32

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.

iphone-photography-tips-25

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.

iphone-photography-tips-19

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.

iphone-photography-tips-46

This is particularly important when photographing objects with intricate details like flowers, leaves, water droplets and textured subjects.

iphone-photography-tips-42

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.

IMG_0181

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.

iphone-photography-tips-49

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.

iphone-photography-tips-45

There are many different macro lenses on the market. Olloclip, Moment and Zeiss Exolens are three popular lens manufacturers that you might want to check out.

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.

iphone-photography-tips-43

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with b3 preset

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.

iphone-photography-tips-53

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.

iphone-photography-tips-52

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.

iphone-photography-tips-50

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.

iphone-photography-tips-51

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.

iphone-burst-mode-18

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.

iphone-photography-tips-55

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.

iphone-photography-tips-12

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.

iphone-photography-tips-56

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.

iphone-photography-tips-8

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.

IMG_1598

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

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.

iphone-photography-tips-54

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.

iphone-photography-tips-9

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.

iphone-photography-tips-69

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.

It’s true that basic composition guidelines such as the rule of thirds don’t suggest placing your subjects in the center of a composition. However, sometimes rules are made to be broken!

iphone-photography-tips-58

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.

iphone-photography-tips-62

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.

iphone-photography-tips-67

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.

iphone-photography-tips-68

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.

iphone-photography-tips-65

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.

While VSCO does offer more complex photo editing tools, you don’t need any technical knowledge to create amazing edits with the VSCO presets. And the VSCO app is even free to download!

iphone-photography-tips-63

iPhone Photography Tips: Recap

Here’s a quick recap of the iPhone photography tips covered in this tutorial:

  1. Keep your photos simple
  2. Shoot from a low angle
  3. Show depth in your photos
  4. Align your subjects diagonally
  5. Capture close-up detail
  6. Include shadows in your composition
  7. Take silhouette photos
  8. Photograph reflections
  9. Use symmetry
  10. 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.iPhone-photography-tricks

  • @retrosquares

    Gosh your tips are brilliant! thank you and keep it up.

  • Great tips. I need to play around a bit more with Symmetry and reflections more. Thanks for the tips, keep up the good work

  • GL_R

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Jeffrey A Thomas

    As always Emil, good work 🙂

  • fayemcg .

    Thanks, Emil. Great tips. I downloaded VSCOCam some time ago at your suggestion and it is now one of my favorite editing apps.

  • Awesome tips once again…thank you Emil

  • Zach Antonick

    Excellent tips. I certainly try to adhere to the “simplicity” school of thought.

  • J Riley

    I just started playing around with reflections (see my photo) and I completely agree they make great photos! But regarding VSCO, I used to use it but am starting to use Lightboxr more. I love their shuffle button that applies a unique filter/effect with one tap.

    • Here you want to increase contrast to make the reflection stand out more, and something tells me this would look great in B&W.

    • Cool shot. It looks interesting.

  • Alaa

    Great tips! Some of them I applied without knowing this will make my pics better. Passion of photography motivates us to try creative ways in shooting. 😉 Your post give me more ideas and techniques I didn’t use before. Thanks Emil!

  • Fadhil Husin

    Great tips, Emily. VSCO cam is now my favourite photo apps along with snapseed.

  • Gamblor77

    12. Buy a good phone…

  • yvette cals

    thank you so much! the reflections tips made my day but i have to learn working with symmetry
    it’s so against my feelings

  • Mari

    The reflection tip was great as well as lower angles great share

  • Messi

    Sir i need more tips

  • Debbie Langer Borato

    Emil, I have a question about Instagram. Each time I bring a photo into Instagram, the crop tool comes up first. This if frustrating because some images I have already cropped and there is no way to move to the next tool. How do I by pass the crop tool in instagram editing?

    • Hi Debbie, is there not a Next option at the top right of the screen?

    • Debbie Langer Borato

      Yes there is, however, the crop is applied when going to the next option.

    • Are you trying to upload rectangular or square photos Debbie?

    • Debbie Langer Borato

      Phone images that are original size, rectanglular I suspect

    • If you’re trying to upload rectangular photos that will be what the problem is Debbie. The first screen is the crop option because you can only upload square images to Instagram, and therefore if your photo is rectangular it has to crop the edges to create a square photo.

      You can use a third-party app to create a square canvas template that you can then insert your rectangular photo onto before uploading it to Instagram – check out our tutorial on how to do this: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/not-crop-instagram/

      Hope that helps 🙂

    • Debbie Langer Borato

      Thank you so much, it most certainly does.

    • Glad we could be of help Debbie 🙂

    • Debbie Langer Borato

      It doenst matter if I crop in another app or original. Once I go into instagram edit with my photo, the first screen that comes up is crop, with the crop lines in place. I cant do a work around. It just simply wont go to the next tool without my cropping or the app cropping. Its frustrating.

  • Ginger Harrington

    What a great post. Many of these I do. Reflections are my favorite, but I’m so excited to get some more great ideas.

  • Sam Tampion

    Hey guys I went to download the app but I only have iOS 7 and the app requires iOS 8, any recommendations for lower IPhones?

  • Rebecca Morris

    Great tips thanks! Your photos are so beautiful and clear – how do you avoid getting grainy photos? It seems whenever I have a clear pic and then use VSCO and upload to Facebook, it ends up quite grainy.

    Keep up the great posts!

  • satya dadhich

    i have just got iphone 4s but whenever i take photos through this and zoom it picture get blured. any suggestion

    • timothyf7

      Without seeing the picture, all I can do is offer suggestions and you see which ones are helpful. You are a shooting with an 8 – megapixel camera. Just a few years ago, this was a good pocket camera spec. I used a Sony pocket camera for years with the same specs. I have pictures with it that rival photos taken by DSLR’s. If it gets blurry as you enlarge, it could be you’re enlarging it beyond the quality your camera is producing. 8 megapixels will enlarge pretty well to an 8X10 and that’s it. So if you are zooming into it past a 8X10 view, pixels will start showing. To solve this – get closer to your subject. Another problem could be lighting is low which causes the camera lens to stay open longer to compensate and gather more light. This will cause blur due to movement of the camera while the lens is open. There are programs that can allow you to use your iPhone in Manual mode. If you are new to photography this is not the best option. Study up on photography and then give one of these apps a try. A couple of easy solutions are use a tripod or porop against something to reduce camera shake. Another possible solution, depending on your subject in the photo, would be to use Auto flash. This allows the picture to be taken quicker, thus allowing less time for camera movement. The flash is only good for probably 8-10 feet. If you can move your subject to better lighting without losing your vision, do so. I don’t know if any of these suggestions will help with you particular situation, but I hope it will get you thinking on how to get your vision into your photograph. If you are new to photography, at the very least research the relationship of aperture, shutters peed, and ISO. This will help your photography immensely, even though using the the iPhone in Auto, you don’t directly control these; but it will help you understand ways to achieve better photographs.

  • Jhonny Dee

    thanks for this ideas

  • Joseph

    These guidelines are very helpful. I’m trying to begin shooting pictures on the side for some extra money and I feel these tips will work great thanks a lot. Just gave me some enormous ideas for taking pictures.

    John@Esignatures

    • Glad you hear you found these tips useful Joseph 🙂

  • V K Mahajan

    I Differ with your Tips. One Generally takes photographs where relations and Friends get highlighted and become memories for ever. The general photographs you have talked about are southings which one takes rarely. I feel you might change your approach and show how to take individual and groups photographs shooing all the facial contours both in daylight, falling light and with flash.

    • timothyf7

      A picture is for family memories… a photograph offers much more. I very seldom take pictures. I take photographs daily. My memories are the story it tells.

  • Melanywilson

    I’m pretty new to iPhone photography and excited to try out all your tips.

    Thomas@Digital signature

  • Rahul Sharma

    Hey I have just started my photography account on Instagram and it’s not really going that well. Do you have any ideas on how I can improve it? My account is @starmaphotgraphy

  • Gagan Gaggi

    i click this pic under ur guidences , using camera grid , according to me this is better, this is my first pic under ur guides , Thanks ,, plzz tell me how is this,

  • Jessosceles

    I found with my iphone 4, touching the light part in pictures makes it darker, and doing silhouettes with that is really effective. This is a simple one. Good tips in this blog

  • Jessosceles

    I found with my iPhone 4, touching the light part in pictures makes it darker, and doing silhouettes with that is really effective. This is a simple one. Good tips in this blog

    • That’s exactly the right thing to do with the iPhone 4 to create a silhouette 🙂 Glad to hear you enjoy our tutorials and tips!

  • Laine Rudolfa

    I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed the tips, Philip! 🙂

  • Megan Proffitt

    I specifically do equine photographs usually of horses jumping. Are there any tips for that specifically? I feel like my photos aren’t ‘high quality’ enough and people have told me that as well.

  • You have captured very good photos its excellent.very cool shot.

  • Excellent tips . These tips are more important for iPhone user . Glad to see your post .

  • Hey Emil Pakarklis,
    Great tips here . I’m also a a iPhone user and your tips are very important for improve photography .

  • EtonieE

    Hey Emil. I’m like a new born baby to the i phone world of photography as after 25 years of using a mobile l’ve only just upgraded! Your tips have helped me immensely and so just wanted to thank you personally!

  • Moussa

    Awesome 👌
    Thanks for those Informatins I will Take them in Consideration while taking Photos

  • Maria Parenti-Baldey

    Thank you. I learned many new things. Appreciate your sharing.

    • Happy to hear that Maria! Glad you found it helpful 🙂

  • Paul Basi

    Sir, your tips are brilliant to say the least.
    Using your suggestion on symmetry, here is a photo I took using Slow Shutter.

  • Allik

    Brilliant article. Is there an easy print version? Amazing photos. Would it be possible to have the credits for all the photos.

    • So glad to hear you found these tips helpful Allik. I’m afraid we don’t offer printed versions, but feel free to print a copy of the article for yourself. All photos were taken either by Emil or myself. Best wishes, Kate.

  • Alex

    I just want to say thank you.

  • Howard Robinson

    Biggest problem I have is at concerts because of changing and different color lights. Tips would be helpful.

  • Dmitriy

    Thank you Emil! This is one your best post. Most of these composition technics I already use, but in your posts every time there is something more to perfection the shots. Thanks a lot!

    • Thank you, glad to hear you enjoyed this tutorial! 🙂

  • thanks for these great tips – just found this site and already enjoying, and learning, all the superb content. Cheers!

    • Thanks for the feedback – so glad to hear you’re enjoying learning from our tutorials 🙂

    • Yep indeed, really enjoying exploring – thing is, find one content and then that leads to five more I want to read 🙂

  • dl-cr

    boo this web is bad better web here