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3 Ways to Make iPhone Photos Look Professional

By Gracie Steel, Digital Marketing Assistant at Omega High-Impact Print Solutions

Imagery is a vital component to how you represent your brand, and communicate your products or services to the public. In fact, photos can increase brand recall by a whopping 65 percent. Not just any photo will do, though. Customers consider the image quality when selecting products or services to purchase. This doesn't mean you have to go drop thousands of dollars on professional equipment. Through a combination of iPhone features, composition principles, and proper editing, you can make your iPhone photos look just as good as the professionals using resources already at your disposal.

A man taking a photo using his iPhone.

Let's get started!

Use Built-In iPhone Photography Features

Clean the Lens- This may seem like a no-brainer, but it's extremely important. Your phone collects dirt and oils from being in your hand, pocket, or bag. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away anything that may affect your camera quality.

A screenshot of camera settings that shows you where the composition and photo capture toggles are.

Optimize Camera Settings- Go to Settings > Camera to view some useful tools that can improve your image quality.

  • Level: Located underneath Composition, level will help you achieve straight-on shots.

  • Faster Shooting: Listed under Photo Capture, toggle on Prioritize Faster Shooting. When taking photo bursts, this tool will intelligently adapt image quality.

  • Smart HDR: Also under Photo Capture, toggling on Smart HDR will enhance color and contrast by blending the best parts of different exposures into one photo.

A screenshot of focusing on the photo subject and increasing/decreasing exposure on the iPhone camera app.

Set and Lock Focus & Exposure- In the camera app, tap your screen where you want the camera to focus. You should see a yellow-outlined box appear. Next to the box, you'll see a sunshine icon. This is the exposure tool. To adjust the exposure, simply tap and hold the icon, and then drag up or down. To lock in these settings, tap and hold your finger on the screen until a solid yellow box appears at the top of your screen with the words "AE/AF LOCK." To release these settings, tap the screen again.

Use Volumes Buttons for Shutter- When your hands are tied up during intricate shots, use the volume buttons on the side of your iPhone as your shutter button.

Practice Common Composition Techniques

Example of the rule of thirds.

Rule of Thirds- Use the grid feature on your iPhone to help you with this technique. To do this, go to Settings > Camera > Grid. This guideline suggests placing your subject in the left or right third of your image and leaving the other two-thirds open to increase visual interest.

Fill the Frame- This is when you make your subject fill up most or all of the frame.

Leading Lines- This is an aspect of an image that draws the viewer's eye to a focal point, or to show distance. These lines can be straight, curved, horizontal, vertical or diagonal. They can also be created by subjects in your photo, such as horizon lines, staircases, road markings, or trails.

Example of using iPhone's portrait mode to create depth and visual interest within the photo.

Depth of Field- This is the distance between the closest and farthest subjects of the photo, often determined by focus and blur. Use Portrait Mode on your iPhone camera app to automatically sharpen your main subject and blur the background, so you can create visual interest.

Edit Your Photos

To begin, choose the photo you wish to edit from your camera roll. At the bottom of your screen, select Edit. You will see three (sometimes four) editing options at the bottom of your screen.

Portrait- This will only be available if you shot your image using Portrait mode. The icon will look like a circle with an "f" in the middle. Here, you'll be able to increase or decrease depth with background blur.

Adjust- The first icon looks like a circle with smaller dots around it. Here, you'll be able to play around with contrast, shadows/highlights, brightness, and more.

Filters- The second icon looks like three circles intertwined. Here, you'll be able to select a preset to alter the appearance of your image.

Crop- The third icon looks like intersecting lines with arrows at the top and bottom. Here, you can crop your image, skew the perspective, or rotate your image.

An example of each editing option - Portrait, Adjust, Filters and Crop and their capabilties.

Other iPhone Editing Apps- If you're looking for a little more variety in editing functions, consider downloading one of these FREE apps from the App Store.

  • VSCO- Great for community, tools, and exposure for photographers.

  • Tezza- Great for aesthetically pleasing presets, filters, and controls.

  • Canva- Great for graphic design purposes.

  • PhotoRoom- Great for simplifying non-creative tasks like background removal.

  • Photoshop Express Photo Editor- Great for basic and advanced retouching.

Investing a little time and effort to transform your iPhone photos can make a world of difference. By using these tips, you'll produce captivating visuals without outsourcing professional help or splurging on fancy equipment.

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