Having a fancy camera is great. Taking the plunge and getting the best gear was the best decision I could have made for building my craft. My travel packing list will give you an idea of what I have, if interested. At the same time, one of the most influential ways in which I really learned about light and shooting differently was by using my iPhone. Yup. I am completely unconventional and after taking one digital photography course, I decided to teach myself everything I know (that doesn't discredit going to school; my favorite photographers went to art school).
With that being said, I thought I would share with you a few tricks that have taken my iPhone photography to the next level.
TRICK #1 - Change the Exposure
While having the camera phone app open tap on the screen. You will see a yellow square pop up. This tool is AMAZING. It has two different functions.
Figure out what you want to have as your subject (friend, flower, etc.) and tap on it to reveal the yellow box. This changes the brightness of the image so that your subject is exposed properly instead of making them dark if the window behind them is super bright.
Sometimes just tapping on your subject isn't enough. If you want to brighten or darken the image more, there is this yellow line to the right of the square with a little sun. Slide your finger up and down on that line and it will change everything!
TRICK #2 - Find Perfect Light
This is easy for a photographer to say because they have spent hours, even days, figuring out what "perfect light" even looks like. What I did to figure it out, initially, is to move my phone around my subject until the light looked different than the usual snap shot. If you want your subject to have a lot of contrast (drastic light and shadows) move till you get it. Once you do it, try it again and figure out what makes it happen so that you can replicate it again, FAST. Analyze where the light is coming from and figure out how it plays on your subject. Does it look better from above, to the side, or in front?
TRICK #3 - Create That Blur Effect
Otherwise known as Bokeh, this blurring effect is pretty popular. It makes things look more professional because experts know how to use it. Who doesn't want that? Tidbit: The real reason why we like bokeh so much is because this is how our own eyes perceive things. Whatever we are directly looking at stays in focus, while everything else is blurred out. The lens on a camera tries to mimic that. Kinda cool. To achieve this look, without using "portrait mode" (on newer iPhones), you can move yourself into a position that will create this effect.
Get close to your subject. No matter if you are above or beside them, that blur will show up.
If you don't want to get too close, change your position until you see the blur. Most of the time this achieved by being directly next to and level with your subject. Also making sure to tap your screen where your subject is will ensure that it is tack sharp.
Let me know if these tricks were helpful and if you would like to see more in the future! Have any other questions about iPhone Photography? Let me know in the comments. In the future I will be sharing with you how I edit my iPhone images as well!