10 Tips on How to Take Better Summit County Photos With Your iPhone

Posted by: admin December 2nd, 2015

Summit County Colorado receives hundreds of thousands of tourist visits each year for various reasons. Whether it be ski/snowboard trips in the winter, to view magnificent foliage in the fall or white water rafting in the summer, no matter the reason we can be sure that you are going to want to get some photos to remember your time here. In fact, you could literally step out the backdoor of your Frisco bed and breakfast and catch a sighting of a moose, fox or some other sort of wildlife and want to grab that quick photo opportunity. Unfortunately, not all of us are professional photographers, but with the popularity of the iPhone, now everyone is able to get a quality shot without the hassle. Here are 10 tips to make the most of your iPhone’s camera that will turn you into a professional.

Tip #1: Use the Camera Grid

If you haven’t done it already, go to Settings, scroll down to Photos & Camera and switch the grid to on. Why? Well, the grid will help you to produce photos that are straighter and not accidentally tilted at an angle. The grid superimposes a sequence of lines on the screen that make it much easier for you to accomplish this.

iphone-grid-lines

While you typically use the grid feature to make your photos straighter, in pure photographic terms, the gridlines can also be used as a rule of thirds guide. The rule of thirds is a photographic principle based on the fact that your photos look better when the subject is not placed smack-dab in the middle of the scene. If you strive to place the subject to either side of the line, your photo will be more pleasing to the human eye.

Tip #2: Turn of Your Flash

While the flash has been continually improved upon with each generation of iPhones, the flash is ultimately just an LED light and is simply not that powerful. Obviously you can use the flash if you have to, but the ultimate demise of night shots is inevitably the flash. Pics taken with the flash are easy to spot as they are typically over-exposed, lack detail and turn faces a really bright color. Instead, try using natural light sources or if you’re shooting at night, use the camera app’s exposure slider to boost the light in your photo.

Tip #3: Use Burst Mode for Action Shots

Action shots are a plenty in Summit County with all of the outdoor recreational activities to choose from. So, if you are trying to snap a clear picture of moving subjects, or if you yourself are moving, try using the burst mode for clearer pictures. Simply tap and hold down the shutter button (or volume up button) to begin burst mode. A counter will appear at the bottom of your screen to let you know how many shots you’ve snapped, and to stop shooting just lift up your finger and the burst is saved to your Cameral Roll.

Tip #4: Turn on HDR Auto

The High Dynamic Range (HDR) setting allows you to take photos that may have high contrast light sources (a bright sunset against a darkening mountain) and still get a nice shot without distorting the light and dark areas of the picture. The camera does this by taking multiple pictures in succession at various exposures and merging them together to create one unified image.

iphone-HDR

You can turn HDR manually on or off from the camera app, but the auto setting will determine what image might need HDR correction and will ultimately save on storage by preventing you from shooting in HDR unnecessarily.  

Tip #5: Hold Down a Spot on Viewfinder to Lock Focus

Shooting macro or trying to focus on a different subject in the frame can be done by holding down a spot on your viewfinder to lock the focus point on what you would like to be the focal point of the picture. Do this by tapping and holding on the subject until you see the yellow AE/AF Lock alert. To remove the luck, tap anywhere else in the frame.

AE-AF-Lock-iphone

Tip #6: Snap Photos With the Volume Up Button

Avoid unnecessary shaking and blurring when trying to tap the digital shutter button by using the volume up button instead.

Tip #7: Avoid Zooming

The iPhone uses a digital zoom which means that the image gets cropped as you zoom in by blowing it up and applying a noise reduction algorithm to reduce the noise in the final photo. But, this often results in “soft” images as the iPhone doesn’t have the detail to spare to make the digital zoom a viable action.

There are two methods for avoiding using the zoom, taking a picture further out and cropping or zooming with your feet. I prefer the latter, but sometimes you just do not have the room to move in closer to your subject. If that is the case, take the picture further out and you will have a full size image to play with in editing later.

Tip #8: Use Exposure Meter

If you want to manually brighten or darken an image to your liking, you can fix it before taking the picture by adjusting the yellow exposure slider next to the focus square. All you have to do is tap once on the focus square and exposure slider and use the sun icon to increase your exposure by moving the slider upward, or decrease your exposure by sliding it downward.

Tip #9: Third Party Apps

There are a ton of third party apps out there (some free, some not) that can take your iPhone picture taking to the next level, beyond what the native camera app will give you. Things such as independent exposure and focus points, self-timer, stabilizer, photo editing, various photo modes, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, anti-shake and custom filters are just a few of the things that third party apps can give you.

Tip #10: Use Two Hands

Even though your phone is lightweight and thin, it could still move while taking a picture. If you keep your arms in close to your body and use two hands, you will reduce the chance of movement and hence a blurry picture. If you can, rest your phone on something sturdy and use the volume up button to release the shutter.