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6 iPhone Camera Tips Every User Should Know

TL;DR: iPhone camera tips for stunning photos: use the rule of thirds grid, camera level for straight shots, burst mode for action, mirrored selfies, and view outside the frame. Enhance your photography skills with these built-in iOS tools and settings, perfect for beginners and experienced users alike.

Apple’s newest iPhones have some great camera features worth trying, like Portrait Mode and Photographic Styles. But even if you just want to snap photos in regular mode, there are lots of handy tools and settings to help you get that perfect shot.

No matter if you’re a proud owner of the latest iPhone or a longtime fan looking to sharpen your photography chops, check out these six nifty iOS camera tricks. They’re worth playing around with!

1. Rule of Thirds Makes Photos Pop

For a while now, Apple’s Camera app has included some optional settings to help you frame your shots just right. The best one is the Grid tool, perfect for using the classic “rule of thirds” composition technique. It overlays a 3×3 grid on your viewfinder to create nine equal boxes.

Why is the rule of thirds so great? It guides the viewer’s eye to the most intriguing parts of your photo and makes the overall composition more balanced and appealing. Here’s how to turn on that handy grid:

  1. Open Settings and tap Camera.
  2. Under Composition, flip the Grid switch on.

Easy peasy! Now as you line up your shot, keep these five tips in mind:

  • Find your focal points – Look for the key elements you want to highlight, whether it’s a person, a building, a tree, or something else.
  • Position them on the grid lines – Place your main subjects along the grid lines or where they intersect, instead of smack in the middle.
  • Line up the horizon – For landscapes, put the horizon on the top or bottom grid line. The lower line makes the sky pop more, while the upper emphasizes the foreground.
  • Balance things out – If your subject is on the left grid line, try to put a less important element on the right side for visual balance.
  • Get creative! – Remember, the rule of thirds is more of a guideline than a strict formula. Feel free to experiment and see how tweaking your framing changes the vibe.

Give it a go and watch your photos level up!

2. Nail Those Top-Down Shots

Taking a photo of your brunch plate or a cool pattern on the ground? Use the camera level feature to get a perfectly aligned birds-eye view, no tripod needed. It also comes in handy for capturing ceiling details or sky-high objects.

In iOS 16 and earlier, the level tool was part of the grid overlay. But iOS 17 gave it an upgrade with its own dedicated toggle:

  1. Open Settings, tap Camera, then turn on the Level switch.

Now fire up the Camera app in Photo, Portrait, Square or Time-Lapse mode. Point it straight down at your subject (or up if you’re aiming for the ceiling or clouds). You’ll see crosshairs in the center – just adjust your phone until the floating one lines up with the fixed one and glows yellow.

Snap away and admire your flawlessly level masterpiece!

3. Keep It Straight with Horizontal Level

iOS 17 didn’t just give the level tool a solo career, it also added a horizontal level for standard straight-on shots.

When the Level setting is on, a dotted white line pops up whenever you’re a little off horizontal as you frame your shot (in portrait or landscape). As soon as you straighten out, it turns solid yellow to signal you’ve nailed it.

Try it yourself – open the Camera app and point it at your subject head on. When you see that dotted line, adjust your phone until it becomes one unbroken yellow beam across the center.

Voila, no more wonky angles! The leveling guide only appears briefly and when you’re pretty close to straight on, so it won’t bug you if you’re intentionally going for a dutch tilt.

4. Capture the Action with Burst Mode

Sometimes the perfect moment happens in the blink of an eye. That’s where Burst mode comes in – it snaps a rapid series of shots at 10 photos per second, upping your odds of capturing pure gold.

Using it couldn’t be simpler – just press and hold either volume button. You’ll see a counter tick up on the shutter button, showing how many frames you’re racking up. Release whenever you’ve got enough.

Burst mode photos automatically land in their own album in the Photos app called (you guessed it) Bursts. They’ll also show up chronologically in your main camera roll. From there you can sift through and pick out your faves – follow this link for a full how-to.

5. Mirror, Mirror on the Selfie

By default, the iPhone flips your selfies after you take them, so they’re inverted from what you saw in the preview. It makes sense optically, but it can feel a bit jarring since most social media apps post mirrored selfies.

Luckily, it’s a cinch to switch:

  1. Open Settings, then Camera.
  2. Turn on Mirror Front Camera.

Boom, selfie crisis averted! From here on out, your iPhone selfies will show up exactly as you framed them.

6. Expand Your View

If you’ve got an iPhone 11 or later, iOS has a nifty way to see what’s happening outside your photo borders. Toggle on “View Outside the Frame” and your iPhone will capture bonus details around the edges that you can use for tweaking your alignment or composition after the fact – no crop required.

Flip the switch in Settings > Camera > Composition, then open the Camera app and start snapping. You’ll see a translucent border creep in around the viewfinder to clue you into all the extra scenery you’re grabbing.

The wide angle lens gets assistance from the ultra-wide, while the telephoto pairs up with the wide. So if things look a little too close-cropped, try dialing the zoom out a smidge to engage the wider lens.

Pretty slick, huh? With these creative tools in your pocket, you’ll be shooting Ansel Adams-worthy shots in no time. Happy snapping!


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