10 iPhone Photography Tips To Improve Your Photos Today

Some people work for years to master iPhone photography shooting and editing techniques. But you don’t want to wait for years – you want to start taking better photos today! In this article, you’ll discover ten quick and easy photography tips that you can start using today to significantly improve your iPhone photos.

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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. Too many details can distract the viewer, making it hard to create a harmonious composition.

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One interesting subject is all you need to create a memorable photo, and it’s easy 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. This will only make your subject stand out more.

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Simple compositions are also idea for social media. If you share your iPhone photos on Instagram or a similar photo-sharing network, people will view 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.

Keep your iPhone photos simple and your audience will enjoy them more.

2. Shoot From A Low Angle

The majority of iPhone photos are shot from the chest height of an adult. That may be convenient, but there are usually more creative options! You can easily improve your photos by finding a more interesting angle, and often the best way to do that is to simply shoot from a lower perspective.

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There are three great reasons for shooting 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.

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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. Try kneeling or even lying on the ground to use this terrific iPhone photography tip!

3. Show Depth In Your Photos

Most photos – and especially landscape photos – look better if they have subjects in the foreground, middle ground, and background. By following this simple iPhone photography tip, you’ll immediately make your images more three-dimensional.

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The photo above is made more interesting by showing the trees and orange sand in the foreground, the large orange rock in the middle ground, and the forests in the background.

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In the photo above, the small road takes up the entire foreground and extends far into the background. This draws the viewer through the scene and makes the photo more engaging.

4. Align Your Subjects Diagonally

The two main subjects in the photo above are the house in the top right and the road at the bottom left. It’s not an accident that these subjects are placed diagonally from each other. By aligning the important subjects diagonally you can make your photos more balanced and harmonious.

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The large orange rock on the top right of the photo above is a very strong subject. It would take all our attention if it weren’t for the small rock at the bottom left. Because the subjects are aligned diagonally, the photo and composition are more harmonious. Whenever you have multiple subjects in your scene, try aligning them diagonally to create a balanced composition.

5. Shoot From The Level Of Your Subject

The #1 mistake people make when taking photos of children and pets is shooting from standing height. When  you shoot down from above, you wind up with a birds-eye view of your subject, with none of the wonder and detail that make children and pets such popular iPhone photography subjects.

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Here’s a simple iPhone photography tip to immediately improve your photos dramatically. If you want your child or pet to stand out in the photo, you have to get down to their height. And don’t be afraid to get close.

6. Include Shadows In Your Composition

When the sun is low, the shadows can often be even more interesting than the actual subjects of your photos. A great iPhone photography tip is to shoot when shadows are present, and to include them in your composition whenever possible. The longest shadows are created when the sun is lowest – at the “golden hour.”

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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 easy to achieve.

Here’s a simple iPhone photography tip – to take silhouettes with your iPhone, simply shoot against the source of light. Your iPhone will take care of the rest.

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This photo was taken from the shadow of the chimney, so the sun is located directly behind it. Since it was shot against the source of light, all the subjects in this photo automatically become silhouettes.

Silhouetting works best when the sun is low above the horizon near sunset or sunrise. Just find a subject with an interesting outline (such as a person), make sure the light is coming from behind your subject, and take a silhouette photo!

If the silhouette doesn’t appear dark enough, you can reduce the exposure levels to make the image darker.

8. Photograph Reflections

Reflections make wonderful iPhone photography subjects. While you can find reflections on many different surfaces including glass, shiny cars, and ice, water is probably the best surface for reflection photography.

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Unlike mirrors, water can distort reflections in waves. To get effects like those in the photo above, hold your iPhone just an inch above the surface of the water.

If there are no 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.

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To take the most dramatic photos, be sure to include both the reflection and the reflected object in your composition.

Once you start paying attention, you’ll notice that reflections are everywhere – and they look great in photos!

9. Use Symmetry

In photography, the word symmetry describes an image in which both halves are identical. Take a close look at any of the reflection photos in this article, and you’ll notice that the reflected and non-reflected parts are divided exactly in half. But of course reflection is just one way to create symmetry in your photos.

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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.

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It’s true that basic composition guidelines such as the rule of thirds don’t suggest placing your subjects symmetrically in the center of a composition. Sometimes, though, rules are made to be broken. You can’t argue with the dramatic effect you can create with symmetry.

10. Add Drama 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 drama to your iPhone photos. The easiest way to apply powerful but subtle artistic effects to your photos is to use the preset filters in the VSCO app.

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Just open the VSCO app, load the photo and tap on the editing icon. This will automatically take you to the presets. Try out different presets to see their effect on your photo, and change their strength if needed. You can also download more presets, both paid and free, from the store inside the app.

VSCO presets allow you to apply beautiful but subtle artistic effects in seconds, while also making it hard for you to over-edit your photos. You don’t need any technical knowledge to do amazing edits with VSCO presets.

11. Apply What You Just Learned 

Pick just one of these 10 tips – the one that speaks to you the most – and apply it the next time you take photos with your iPhone. You’ll be very happy with the results… at which point you should come back, pick another tip and apply it as well. Good luck!

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

If you also want to take incredible photos with your iPhone, please join 138,712 subscribers who receive our free iPhone photography email tips that you won’t find anywhere on this website.

  • @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