iPhone Photography Fundamentals & Tips
I wanted to give you another sneak peek into the SLR Lounge Premium Educational Library! This video specifically comes from Creative Photography 101 – it’s our latest course designed to teach you how to shoot pro images with just a phone. I want to walk through some of the tricks and accessories that we use throughout the course to help you take better images using your phone. Consider this the ultimate iPhone fundamentals guide!
1. Exposure Triangle for the iPhone Camera
The exposure triangle is a concept that we go in depth into in Photography 101 and we’ve covered it on the site and on YouTube several times. That being said, the exposure triangle still applies to your smartphone although it’s in a slightly different way, however, we have less control over it now. Your exposure, or the level of brightness of an image, is determined by three things:
- Shutter Speed: this is how quick the shutter is opening and closing and it determines the amount of light that’s going to be coming through or the amount of time that the sensor is going to be exposed to light. We use it to control the speed or motion in a shot, if we want to show motion, we slow down the shutter speed, and when we want to freeze motion we speed it up. The iPhone native camera doesn’t give us manual control over shutter speed (other than using. Night mode which emulates a slower shutter speed to allow more light to hit the sensor). You can download a third party app to set your exposure manually.
- Aperture: is the eye or the pupil of a lens. When it opens up, it’s going let more light and when it closes down, it’s gonna let less light in. This controls the depth of field of your camera and lens. If you want the background to be blurred out, use a wide open aperture and if you want the background to be sharp, close down the aperture. Since iPhones introduced portrait mode, we now get a small glimpse of depth control on smartphone cameras. Newer models actually let you open and close down the aperture as well.
- ISO: that’s the last piece of the exploded triangle and all it means is in bright everyday conditions your iso is going to be lower in darker conditions the camera is going to raise the iso you can think of iso like kind of a digital grain on something like where you turn the volume up so if you don’t have enough light you can essentially turn the volume up to artificially get the phone to be more sensitive to get the camera to be more sensitive to brighten the scene the trade-off to this is in low light whenever you raise the iso you’re going to introduce grain you’re going to introduce noise and your overall level of image quality drops so the colors aren’t as good and the majority of the image becomes compromised.
2. Rotate Your Phone for Unique Perspectives
iPhone lenses are located in the top right corner of the back of the phone which makes it hard to get interesting or unique perspectives. Try rotating your phone to get the lenses closer to the ground and see a different field of view. This will help you create a better foreground with more depth. For more creative tricks using an iPhone camera check out this article.
3. Use Accessories To Enhance Your Images
While the native camera has many possibilities, there is still an endless amount of creativity to unlock by using accessories to create fun effects. Here are a few of my favorites:
- ND filter: its sole purpose is to cut down the amount of light that goes into a lens. You can use it with your iPhone camera to create reflections off of (you can also use your friend’s phone to create a reflection if you don’t want to purchase an ND Filter).
- Phone Tripod: a great tool to have for travel photography and on-the-go situations. This will help you out when creating long exposures (slowing down the shutter speed) or taking self portraits. Int the course you’ll see me using the Peak Design Travel Tripod which has been my favorite for on-location shooting.
To see more tutorials like this make sure you check out our Creative Photography 101 course and pick up tricks and tips to take your photos from ordinary to extraordinary!