In the last few weeks I’ve been writing blogs about the different settings your iPhone camera has. The last two have been about the time lapse and slow motion setting on your phone. However, this week we are getting into the real thick of things: taking photos with your iPhone. So, let’s get started.


First, you need to open your camera on your iPhone. There are several ways to do this. When I’m in a hurry, I use the method where I slide up on the camera on the lower right corner of my lock screen. I don’t have the camera app anywhere on my home screen anymore because this is just a simpler way to do things. This brings me to my next way to open the camera, with the icon on the home screen. Just press the little camera on the home screen, like I show below.


Next, let’s adjust your camera setting before you take that photo. First, make sure you’re on the photo setting. At the bottom of the screen, the word ‘photo’ should be highlighted in yellow. When I take a photo, my phone automatically has the grid setting as well. This helps me line up shots well, especially when respecting the rule of thirds (more on that here). To enable this, go to settings>photos & camera>grid. Also, while we are here, beneath that setting should be settings for recording video and slow motion. I have an iPhone 6 and my phone is set to record video at 1080p HD at 60 fps and slow motion at 720p HD at 240 fps. While this takes up more of my memory, these are the best settings to use. On these settings, 1080p and 720p is the resolution. The higher this number is, the clearer and smoother the video will play. In addition, if you’re recording video that will be played on a larger screen, like a computer or television, it’s important to have the best quality resolution you can because it will look much clearer with more video quality. Plus, I back up my photos regularly to my computer, then I can delete the photos on my phone altogether, leaving me with lots of memory. I’ll explain more about this in a later article.


Now, you’re on the photo setting and have your grid lines up (if you want them), now what? Let’s go over the icons at the top of your screen. First, the flash. This is on the furthest left and looks like a lightning bolt. Usually, this is set to auto, which means the phone decides whether or not to use the flash depending on your settings. Personally, I don’t like this feature. Have you ever tried to sneak a photo somewhere, only for your cover to be blown by a bright flash? Yeah, it’s embarrassing. Most of the time, I don’t use the flash on my phone for anything other than a flashlight. The best lighting you can ask for with nearly any camera is natural lighting. So, if possible, take the photos somewhere you won’t need the flash. Plus, if it’s too bright or dark with the natural light available, there’s a way to adjust that, which I’ll explain later.


Next to the lightning bolt are three letters: HDR. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. Essentially, the phone will take a series of images, each shot with a different exposure from darkest to lightest. HDR combines the best parts of the three overexposed, underexposed, and balanced shots to create a dramatic image with beautiful shadowing and highlights. I use this a lot. It creates beautiful photos and does some of my editing for me.


Following the HDR setting is a timer. This is especially handy when I’m taking a photo that I want to be in! I have a mini stand for my iPhone, so I set up the shot, tell my friends to get ready, set the timer for either three or ten seconds, and squeeze into the photo.


Finally, to the right, is the option to switch the camera. We all know what this is: a way to take selfies. There’s not much to explain for this one. Let’s move on.


From here, we can adjust a few more settings before taking our photos.

Did you know that you can adjust the exposure of your photo? It surprised me how many people didn’t know about this setting; even Kathy didn’t now about it! I felt like this was my little secret that I use all the time. Here’s how it works: get set up to take your photo, and then tap lightly on the phone’s screen wherever you want the image to be in focus. This will create a little square where you just tapped. See that little sun to the right of the box? Now, drag vertically next to it to adjust the exposure. Too bright? Drag down. Too dark? Drag up! This is one of the most useful settings on my phone’s camera. I use it nearly every time I take a photo and it saves me some time when editing photos as well.


Well, that’s all I have for this blog. As much as I would love to go into post-processing apps now, I think I should give you a week or two to play with your newfound camera. Don’t be afraid to try different exposures, play with settings, and explore with different angles. Remember as well that the settings I use are not the end-all, be-all, so try your own new things! Oh, and by the way, here is the final photo I ended up with. In later articles, when I’m exploring different editing apps, this is the photo I will be using! If you’d like, you can save it and explore with it on your phone after finding some editing applications. Even better yet, take your own photos and share them with us! We would love to see what you’ve learned from these blogs!


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