iPhone-ography Tips and Tricks

Before we start: Can you tell a difference in the image quality between the two images below?

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The image on the left was taken by my phone, an iPhone 6, and the photo on the right was taken my my DSLR camera, a Canon T3i. Technology has gotten to a point where it doesn’t matter what tool you’re using to shoot with. What matters is what your shooting and your basic skill. So here are a couple of tips and tricks that will help you take better pictures with your iPhone.

1: Grids

In the camera settings on your iPhone you can turn on the grids. I love the grids because it allows me to position the photo subject in a way that looks creative. If you’re interested in learning more about creative positioning or turning on your grid settings, click here.

2: Auto Focus

No-one like blurry photos, so learning how to use the auto-focusing feature of your phone is important. When you have the image subject in the frame, just tap once on the location that you want to be the photo’s focus and snap your photo. If you’re going to be taking multiple photos of the same subject then it’s best to choose your focus point and instead of tapping on the screen, you hold it down until you see AE/AF LOCK. This means that your focus point is locked in and will remain in focus until you’re done.



3: Top Down Shots

When you’re taking photos from a top-down angle, you’re phone’s gyroscope will automatically sense this and place two crosses on the screen. Lining up the two crosses means that your phone is perfectly horizontal and therefore all of your flat-lay images will be perfect.

Photography Acronyms You NEED to Know

When I first started out in photography, I did a short course at the University of the West Indies Open Campus. Once I had finished that, I spent a lot of time learning online at the Youtube University (according to my Mom) as well as through different bloggers online. One of the hardest things I had to deal with was learning all of the acronyms that are used in photography so I created this list of the most common ones to help you out.

AE: Automatic Exposure

AF: Auto Focus

AV: Aperture Priority

AWB: Automatic White Balance

CA: Creative Automatic

DOF: Depth of Field

DSLR: Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera

JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group

LR: Adobe Lightroom

M: Manual Exposure

MF: Manual Focus

PS: Adobe Photoshop

RGB: Red Green Blue

SOOC: Straight Out of Camera

TV: Shutter Priority (Time-Value)

WB: White Balance

For a more comprehensive list check out this post by Wikipedia.

The Magic of Editing

A large part of my journey in the world of photography has been in figuring out what I want my photography to say to the person looking at it. A major part of that was in discovering the kinds of photos I like to shoot but an equivalently important part was finding my editing style.

When I first started out I didn’t have access to any editing software so for a long time to bring my vision to life I had to capture my images perfectly as I was taking the picture. There was no option to bring a photo into post-production and then change the exposure or the colours or anything of the sort. Either it was perfect on the camera or it was a dud. Looking back on that experience, I realise that now, I very rarely do any major adjustments in post production. On occasion, I’m a little bit lazy and I don’t expose my photos perfectly or straighten my horizons because I know I have to option to edit but I my final vision is always very close to the straight out of camera (SOOC) shot.

So I invite you to take a look at a few of my Before & After shots to get a glimpse at my process. I hope you enjoy.


Dylan B&A.jpg
Beach B&A.jpg
Green Market B&A.jpg

Need Some Inspiration?

I love photography, I truly do, but there are times where I just find myself in a creative slump where trying to come up with brand new content and original shoot ideas just doesn't seem like it’ll happen at all. It’s at times like that where I just step away from it all and admire some of the work of other fantastic photographers.

If you ever find yourself in a similar position then here’s my go-to photographers who never fail to inspire me to get back to the drawing board and create.

Please note that I am not sponsored by any of these amazing artists. I truly appreciate their creativity and their work and I believe that their work deserves recognition. If you like their work as much as I do, please feel free to follow each of them and throw some love their way.

Getting Your Models Comfortable

When I take a photo, I want the person looking at it to feel as though they’re in that actual moment. I want the fact that it’s a photo to disappear. I want the smile of my model to make the person looking at the photograph start smiling too and a large part of getting to that point is making your model feel comfortable. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shooting a professional model, a client, a friend, a family member or a significant other. The person you’re shooting needs to feel relaxed and comfortable and it’s your job as a portrait photographer to create an environment to support that.

Here’s how I get my models comfortable at a shoot.

  1. Conversation: From the first interaction I have with my model, I try to have conversations with them. Talk about their life, their hobbies, interests, goals in life. Talk about anything. Having a genuine conversation with your model will make them more comfortable shooting with you.

  2. Music: Before a shoot, I ask my model to give me their 3 favourite songs. Then I use that to create a bomb playlist for the shoot. Having your model listening to the music they like the most will definitely make them way more relaxed at your shoot.

  3. Jokes: A couple of corny dad jokes here and there can give you true laughter on set and then its up to you to just capture that moment.

  4. Count Down: If all else fails try counting down to a shot. 3…2…1… but take the photo before you reach 1. In those couple of seconds before your model tenses up thinking the shot is coming, you can catch glimpses of them relaxed and happy.

  5. Relax: Not every shoot needs to be a rush. Very often, I just sit down on the floor and play around with my camera while I’m talking to my model and once they’re relaxed, snap the moment.

As a photographer, you eventually learn what works for you, your models and your clients. These tips have worked for me and I hope they’ll do the same for you. Now… off you go to capture that special moment.