Capturing the moment has become easier than ever thanks to the popularity of camera phones.  It seems like nearly everyone has a mobile device these days and nearly every device has some sort of camera built in.  As one of the most popular smartphones on the market, the iPhone is certainly no exception.  While it’s very easy to operate the iPhone’s camera, taking a GOOD photo can be somewhat more challenging.  It takes forethought and some practice to fully take advantage of the iPhone camera’s capabilities.  By considering a few fundamental elements of your composition before releasing the shutter, you can begin taking far better pictures with your iPhone!

Focus on Good Lighting

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Good lighting is essential to a great photograph.  Indoor lighting and direct sunlight are generally less than ideal.  Indoor lighting from many sources can upset the iPhone camera’s white balance and harsh, direct sunlight can create unnatural shadows.  Additionally, when shooting portraits, bright sunlight in the eyes will make your subjects squint!  Natural light that is not too harsh or taking portraits with the sun behind your subject is best.  Taking photos on overcast or mildly foggy days, in the shade on a bright sunny day, or near a window that’s letting in natural light will allow you to take much better photos.  While the iPhone does have a flash, it’s not a particularly great flash.  Use it if you absolutely must, but opt for natural light when possible to take even better photos.

Take Crisper Pictures with a Steady Hand

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An unsteady hand can turn a great shot into a blurry mess.  To help you take crisp, clear photos, try holding your iPhone with two hands or resting your phone against a stable surface, like a table or chair.  It may help you to use the Volume Up button on the side of your iPhone to take your pictures rather than the shutter icon on the screen.

Rule of Thirds

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While there are many “rules” to photo composition, one of the easiest to follow while taking pictures with your iPhone is the rule of thirds.  You can easily accomplish this by turning on the iPhone camera’s Grid Lines feature.  This will divide your photo into 9 evenly spaced boxes.  Points of interest in your picture should line up with either the gridlines or their intersections.

Avoid Using Digital Zoom

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While it may be tempting to use the iPhone’s digital zoom to close in on your subject (especially if it’s a giant spider), you’ll generally get better shots if you move your entire body closer instead.  Using the zoom feature dramatically increases the magnitude of even the smallest shake, resulting in blurry photos, and reduces the overall image quality.

Take Several Shots and Experiment!

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Instead of taking a single photo of your subject, take several!  Try taking pictures from different angles or in different light.  Tell a joke between snapshots to get a more natural smile from your subject.  Use reflections and shadows to make your shot more interesting.  You can even try breaking some of the rules we just suggested!  While you may end up just deleting 90% of the extra pictures you took, the one great shot you get from that series will be worth it in the end!

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