It's easy to find in-depth mobile photography advice if you want to hone your style, gain niche Instagram followers or display your work in a gallery, but what about a beginner photog who just wants to get comfortable with the basics? Your iPhone has a handful of hidden features that you probably don’t know about yet. These tricks will make shooting quicker, easier and more enjoyable.
1. Take photos with the volume buttons. The volume buttons on the side of your phone can be used individually to release the shutter, making it easier to take a photo when you’re holding the camera sideways and in both hands. Note that since it’s harder to press the volume button than to tap the on-screen shutter, it can result in camera shake. Avoid using the volume buttons when shooting in low light.
2. Take photos with your headphones.
Those Apple headphones that come standard with every iPhone purchase have an additional use: the volume buttons can be used to release the shutter. Street photographers can discreetly take pictures of strangers without them being the wiser. The headphones are also helpful if your camera is on a tripod, because the shutter release won’t shake the camera. Use this trick in low light, nighttime and long exposure photography.
3. Swipe to quickly access the camera. When the perfect moment unexpectedly pops up and you need to shoot stat, the few seconds it takes to unlock your phone and bring up the camera app can mean a missed opportunity. When you’re using your phone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and choose the camera icon on the bottom right of the Control Center. When your phone is not in use, turn the screen on and swipe left to immediately open the camera – this will work even if your phone is locked!
4. Set the focus and exposure.
A beginner photographer will love how well the iPhone sets focus and exposure on its own, but if you’ve noticed that you’re not focusing on the right part of the background or foreground, you’ll want to play with the settings. Tap on the part of the screen where you want to focus and your iPhone will auto-adjust the exposure to match. You can then move the sun icon up and down the vertical slider to further adjust the exposure, if needed.
Smartphone lenses can go beyond what you get with a traditional phone camera. For example, they can capture shots in fisheye, or hone in on the tiny details of a subject — some which may be naked to the eye (and a standard smartphone camera lens). They come in all shapes and sizes, and many companies manufacture them.
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