7 iPhone Photo Editing Tips and Tricks You Might Not Realize

In an increasingly digital age, it’s amazing what our phones can do. These little gadgets not only have incredible capacity for all our photos, texts, calls and social media apps, but the cameras are no joke either. In fact, the latest iPhones, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, feature a 12-megapixel camera system with three cameras, all in the palm of your hand.

You no longer need a clunky Nikon or Canon camera to create impressive work.

If you don’t know where to start, you’re definitely not alone. Just because you have fancy cameras and settings attached to your iPhone doesn’t mean it’s easy to figure out how they work and put them into action. Below, you’ll find tips and tricks you can do with a touch of your fingertips (or two).

1. Turn on the grid in your crosshairs

According to Greg McMillan, a longtime “iPhoneographer” and host of “The iPhoneography Podcast”, activating the grid parameter is one of the most important tools to create a balanced photo.

“I’ve always had it on because it helps me keep the camera level so I don’t get a crooked shot,” McMillan said. “I strongly believe in having a flat horizon in my photos.”

This is an option you need to enable in your iPhone’s Settings app. Scroll down to Camera, then under the Composition section, turn on Grid.

“The grid is a great tool to help with composition,” McMillan noted. Composition is basically a fancy word for how you arrange the elements of the photo that your eye will be drawn to. The grid option will split the camera view into thirds, both vertically and horizontally.

Jane Goodrich, Chief Picselloa photography company brand, recommended remembering the rule of thirds, that when a photo is evenly divided into horizontal and vertical thirds, subjects look best when placed where lines intersect of seperation.

“Each point where the lines intersect is where you would want to place your subject in the frame,” McMillan said, noting that this ultimately creates a more aesthetically pleasing photo.

2. Tap to set focus and exposure (and lock them too)

McMillan explained that focus and exposure levels are key to getting a good shot.

“When composing your image, tap the screen at the point where you want your focus to be, and a yellow square will appear to show you the focus point,” he said. “It also defines the exhibition.”

Once you’ve placed your focus, you can drag your finger up to increase exposure (brighten the image) or down to decrease it (make it darker).

The focus of your image is the main subject, so whether you’re taking a photo of a sunset, a waterfall, or a person, you’ll want to make sure that’s what the eye is looking at. naturally attracted. According to the rule of thirds above, you should place your focus somewhere near the bottom, top, left, or right third of your image.

McMillan pointed out that you can also lock your focus and exposure on the Camera app, which is especially useful for “the times when you might want to reach [your] focus, then move the camera to recompose your shot without having to worry about refocusing.

To do this, long press the focus point and the yellow square will flash several times at the top of the screen. Then a yellow indicator will appear with the words “AE/AF LOCK” to show you that focus and exposure are locked in place.

3. Consider the wide-angle lens

Maria Perezsenior video producer at B&H Photo Video, has found through her experience that perspective and composition can really make or break a photo.

“Mobile cameras have so many great features that help frame your composition,” she said.

On the iPhone, the wide-angle lens (the 0.5x perspective option you see every time you open your camera) can help you capture a subject from a very wide angle.

Portrait mode, which can be found by swiping past the Photo option at the bottom of the Camera app once, lets you capture photos with a sharp focus on the subject and a blurred background.

These two built-in composition options help change perspective and depth of field.

Goodrich also noted that it’s important to avoid capturing too much in your photo. “Leave empty or negative space around your subject,” she said. “Give your subject space in the photo.”

4. Use burst mode for group photos (and live mode too)

Besides the relatively obvious portrait and cinematic modes available in the Camera app, McMillan suggested playing around with other options, like burst mode or live photos.

Burst mode was originally designed to help users take action shots by capturing a multi-take sequence of a scene. However, McMillan noted that it’s also a great tool for taking group shots. He advised enabling the feature that lets you use burst mode by pressing the volume up button on your phone, which makes it easier for you to access burst mode in the moment.

“This must be enabled in the same camera settings app. Go to settings, [then] Camera and toggle to ‘volume up for burst’,” he said. When this option is enabled, you can take burst photos by simply clicking the volume up button on the left side of your iPhone.

Another fun camera feature is Live Photos. They capture everything that happens 1.5 seconds before and after the photo is taken.

There are three choices for editing Live Photos, McMillan explained:

  • Loop: “Your Live Photo will play as a video for 3 seconds and then repeat.”
  • Bounce: It will “play the video but at the end of the three seconds it will jump back to the beginning and repeat the process”.
  • Long Exposure: This is “the most popular choice, and [is] often used to take a live photo of [things like] moving water, as this will give it that smooth, hazy look that many photographers love when shooting waterfalls.

5. Use the magic wand tool

Many different adjustments are available in the photo editing suite. The magic wand’s “auto” tool in particular is a great place to start, as it uses artificial intelligence to determine the best settings for the image.

“Once you tap the wand, you’ll see where some of the icons have been adjusted,” McMillan said. “If their respective functions have been reduced, the circle indicates how much it has been moved, and if the function has been increased, the circle and the number within it turn yellow.”

He also noted that these default settings are a good way to play around with the iPhone edition.

“You can experiment with each setting by selecting it and swiping back and forth while looking at the photo to see how it changes the look of it,” he explained. “[If you] browse through them all to find your favorite adjustments, you’ll be able to edit pretty quickly. »

6. If at first you don’t succeed, use the straighten function

The straighten tool is next to two options which can adjust the horizontal and vertical perspectives.

Even with the grid feature on while taking a photo, it can be difficult to get a perfectly straight image. Luckily there is a setting for that!

In the adjustments below your image after clicking “Edit”, you can straighten your image by tapping on the third setting (the box with the arrows around it). From here you can swipe left or right to move the perspective a certain way. The other two options in the Straighten setting allow you to tilt the photo vertically or horizontally.

“It’s effective for taking photos of buildings or tall trees where you might want them to look less biased,” McMillan said.

7. Adjust exposure, highlights and shadows

While there are preset filters available to use on the Photos app, Perez found that “it’s best to use the various toggles provided to really customize the look you’re going for.” She noted that since not all photos are created equal, one filter won’t suit everything.

To increase or decrease the exposure, switch to the second setting available under the adjustment tool. Depending on where you start with your photo, you can lighten or darken it slightly, but avoid adjusting it too a lot. “That’s because it can lower the quality of your photo and make it look grainy,” Perez said.

Highlights, on the other hand, is the fourth toggle in the adjustment bar. Highlights in an image are the lightest colors, and increasing the range of highlights and shadows (the darkest parts) can make a photo more dynamic. You can darken highlights by swiping left or lighten them by swiping right.

Finally, shadows, which are literally the areas where there is an absence of light, can contribute to greater contrast in your photo. To play with this feature, switch to the fifth toolbar setting. Like the highlight option, drag left to darken your shadows or right to lighten them.

“Exposure, highlights and shadows are what really make your photo stand out the most, no matter what you’re using,” Perez said.

Conclusion: Experiment, get to know your technology, and take lots of pictures.

Besides using any editing or camera tool available on the iPhone, the best way to take great photos is to experiment.

“Take lots of photos,” recommended McMillan. “You can always delete the ones you don’t like – in the digital age we don’t have to worry about using a limited amount of films [like in] The old days. The more you shoot, the better you will become.

McMillan also advised using social media and photography platforms like Flickr, Unsplash and Glass as sources of inspiration.

“You may feel drawn to a certain style of photography, so [you can] follow these photographers and ask them how they took or edited them,” he said. “The mobile photography community is full of people looking to learn more and people who are happy to teach and help.”

Jack C. Nugent