2nd August 2016

Get perfect pictures with the iPhone

My iPhone is a key business tool. It allows me to keep up to date with my emails, hold webchats with potential customers and manage our social media accounts.

During August however, its role changes. It’s the holiday season and now I need my iPhone to capture fun, family moments that I can cherish for a lifetime. There’s only one problem – I have zero talent as a photographer.

So, if you are like me, how do you use the iPhone to get the best photos you can? Here are 10 top tips so you can capture photos like a pro!

1) Shortcuts that will ensure you never miss a great moment
Ever wondered what the camera icon is on the bottom right of your lock screen? Just put your finger on it and swipe all the way to the top, this will open up the camera immediately allowing you to snap a photo in seconds.
Alternatively, if you are using your iPhone and need to take a picture instantly, just swipe up from the bottom to launch control centre and click on the camera icon to open the camera immediately.

2) Volume buttons aren’t just for sound
If you are old school and like the feel of pushing a shutter button you can use the phone’s volume buttons to take a photo. Debate rages as to whether the volume buttons lead to more or less camera shake. Personally, I like the volume buttons for that perfect selfie and the digital shutter for everything else.

3) Take photos using your Apple headphones
If it’s camera shake that really concerns you then you can always use the volume controls on your Apple headphones to take a photo. Obviously, the headphones need to be plugged in but if you have the iPhone on a tripod, or if you are like me have it propped up on some rocks on the beach, you can use the headphone’s volume buttons to take the photo and eliminate camera shake completely.

4) Turn on the Grid
My iPhone gets filled with pictures of sunsets and landscapes when away but I always struggle to keep the horizon straight in these landscape photographs. I am also guilty of putting the main subject of my photographs right in the middle of the shot. If this sounds like you, then turning on the grid on your iPhone camera will help eliminate this problem.

Go to Settings, Photos & Camera and then scroll down to Grid. Turn this on and every time you go into the camera, a 3 x 3 grid will appear. Not only does this allow you to keep your landscapes level but it helps to put the main subject of your photo to one side. I am reliably told that a great photograph is one that has its main subjects at the intersection of the horizontal and vertical lines. I am still working on this but a Google search on ‘Rule of Thirds’ will explain it all in more detail!

5) Burst Mode
With a young family, a lot of my pictures are of my kids on the move. Burst mode on the iPhone allows you to capture 10 photos per second! Just hold down the digital shutter or volume button; it doesn’t work with the headphones, until your action has stopped. You can then review all of the rapid fire shots to ensure that you’ve got the action shot you need.

6) High Dynamic Range (HDR)
HDR is a function on your camera that means your iPhone will take 3 pictures of your chosen shot at different exposures. It is found on the top left hand side of the camera app and it will focus on the areas that have different shades of light and then bring the 3 pictures together to give you the one that it thinks best captures the right range of light and dark exposure.

It’s great for landscapes and alike but not so good on action shots and you may actually prefer to keep the non-HDR photo. To ensure that this happens, go to Settings, Photos & Camera, Keep Normal Photo and enable that.

7) Countdown timer
Next to the HDR function in your camera app is the Countdown Timer. Click on the clock icon and you will be able to choose between two countdown settings of 3 and 10 seconds. It is useful to allow you to use the higher resolution camera for selfies and stops the need for a selfie stick. It is also still a great feature for the group family BBQ shot and if used with the volume controls on the earphones you get about another metre’s head start before the countdown begins to get into place!

8) Tap to focus
The iPhone has a great autofocus function for when you are just starting out. However, if you want to become artistic with your photographs and have the focus centred on the background or foreground all you have to do is tap on the screen where you want the focus to be. A yellow box will appear showing you where the focus of your shot will be. The camera will automatically adjust the exposure to where you want the focus to be. If you wish to adjust the light on your shot you can do so by moving the small sun icon that will have appeared by the yellow focus box.

9) Lock focus and exposure
For those more advanced users the iPhone actually allows you to lock the focus and exposure of your photograph. To enable this function you follow the same process as when you want the iPhone to focus manually but just hold your finger down for a couple of seconds. A larger yellow box will appear along with the letter AE/AF Lock. This AE/AF lock is useful when you are taking a photo with variable light conditions or in an area where there are stark differences between the light and dark objects in a scene.

To remove the AE/AF lock just tap once on the screen.

10) Don’t use the flash
The iPhone has many cool features but the flash isn’t one of them. Essentially, it is just a LED flash and won’t illuminate a scene like a professional flash. Instead, just switch it off and try and use as much natural light as possible.

Now, there are no promises that these functions will help make you a guaranteed entry to Apple’s shot with iPhone campaign but we hope that they help you to take some great photographs this summer. If you are jetting away then we hope that you have a great holiday – feel free to share your snaps with us by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter @Leaseloop