Tips for iPhone Photographers

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #150


I love the camera on my new iPhone 6s Plus. Its image stabilization makes my videos look more professional, and the new Live Photos feature, which captures 3 seconds of video when you shoot a still photo, is a blast. So I’ve been shooting more photos and videos than usual lately, which led to me thinking about tips that might help you get better results when shooting photos or videos with your iPhone.

First and foremost, keep your camera (iPhone) as still as possible when you shoot. If you can, use a tripod or monopod, or set your iPhone on a solid surface before you compose and shoot. Or, if there’s no suitable surface available, try bracing the iPhone against a wall or other stable object before you compose and shoot. Stabilizing your camera is the best way to shoot clearer photos and videos.  

I’m a big fan of Square Jellyfish, which offers inexpensive, pocket-sized tripods and mounting hardware for iPhones and other small cameras—I rarely leave home without one.

It’s a tripod and a selfie stick, too!

If you can’t use a tripod or otherwise stabilize your iPhone for shooting, try to stabilize it while you shoot by tucking your elbows in tight to your body and using both hands to stabilize the iPhone. Or press one edge of the iPhone against a wall or car or almost anything more stable than your hands. You’ll usually get better results this way than waving your iPhone around in one hand while you shoot.

Second, although exposure and focus are automatic, you can also set them manually by tapping an object or area on the screen. This displays a rectangle that sets the focus and exposure while disabling face detection temporarily. To lock the exposure and focus, press and hold (instead of tapping) until the rectangle pulses, which tells you that exposure and focus are locked to the rectangle. If the shot looks too light or dark, adjust its exposure by tapping an area or object on the screen and then pressing the little yellow sun icon next to the exposure rectangle and sliding your finger up or left (lighter) or down or right (darker) to adjust the exposure.

Press and slide up to brighten or slide down to darken your shot.  

Tap the screen again to re-enable automatic exposure, focus, and face detection.

Last, but certainly not least, shoot anything important more than once. If it’s worth shooting, it’s worth shooting several times. Press and hold the shutter release button to shoot a continuous burst until you lift your finger, or take a few separate shots, changing the composition, exposure, and/or focal point for each. And if you have an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, you’ve got to love Live Photos, which capture 3 seconds of video along with each still.

There is one last thing: I’ll be appearing at the Houston Area Apple Users Group this Saturday, November 21 at 10AM (for additional info visit Admission is free and topics will include OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, and cool gadgets for Apple devices.

If you're in the neighborhood, I hope to see you there!

And that’s all he wrote…