It is often said that the best camera is the one you have with you. Apple has helped improve smartphone cameras dramatically over the years. Here we are going to show you how to best use iPhone camera and get all the features out of it.
How to launch the Camera app
As long as you’re running one of the latest iterations of iOS, there are two ways you can get the camera app. On Face ID-enabled iPhones, the current lock screen has a shortcut to the camera at the bottom right. The icon looks exactly like a camera. You don’t even need to unlock the phone. Just tap and hold the camera icon, and the camera app will appear.
If your iPhone X or newer is unlocked and you’re on any home screen, swipe up from the top right corner to bring up Control Center. If you are using an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus and below, you can slide your finger up. Either way, you’ll find a camera shortcut button right in Control Center. Tap on it and it will take you into the app.
Plus, there’s a camera app somewhere on your home screen or in a folder. Touch this icon to go directly to the application. The last method is Siri. Say it “Hey Siri, take a pictureAnd it will drop you right into the app.
Apple Watch users can also launch the camera app from their watch. Press the digital crown to see your available apps and locate the camera icon. When you tap it, the camera app will immediately open on your iPhone.
Understand Camera Settings
Once the camera app is launched, a variety of settings and features are right at your fingertips.
At the top of the screen, you will see four different configuration options:
- On the far left is the flash button which allows the LED flash on the back of the phone to “blink” when you take a photo to add light. There are three options with the flash: Auto, On and Off. The latter two are self-explanatory, but “Auto” allows the iPhone to decide how much light enters the lens and whether or not more light is needed to properly capture a photo.
- The second from the left is “Live Photo”. A newer addition to the iPhone over the past few years, Live Photos can be turned on or off. When this option is enabled, each photo will capture a few seconds of video before the shutter is released to accompany the image. These can create some really fun animations or gifs later.
- Watch the second icon from the right which looks like a clock is a timer. This is ideal for family or group photos and activates a three or ten second timer before taking a photo.
- The icon on the far right is the “Filter” button. The iPhone is enabled with a variety of filter options (think Instagram).
At the bottom of the camera app screen are a number of options. When you open the app, “Photo” is selected by default.
As for the options available to you, they are as follows from left to right:
- Time Lapse is a video recording mode that captures video at a very low frame rate. When playing, this video now appears to be the opposite of slow motion.
- Slo-Mo allows the iPhone to capture slow motion videos at a high frame rate. When playing, it can lead to some really fun action moments that take place in super slow motion.
- The video is exactly as it sounds. In the camera settings, you can capture videos in HD or 4K depending on the level of quality and / or the amount of memory you want to use with each video.
- Portrait mode is available on any iPhone that has two other or lenses. This includes the iPhone X, XR, and all new iPhones since then. This mode can create a blurry or dark background and simulate a wide-aperture portrait lens.
- Square mode is ideal for anyone who loves Instagram. It captures images in the shape of a square and is great for social media.
- Finally, Pano mode is a shortcut for “panorama”. With this mode, you can take a large image on your iPhone which is automatically stitched together. It is ideal for outdoor photos of nature, skylines, etc.
The bottom row is the most important. On the far left, you get a preview of the last capture you took. If your phone is unlocked, it will take you to the photo gallery. If you entered the camera from the lock screen, the preview will only show you the photos or videos captured when the iPhone woke up. On the left is the “Shutter” button. You can’t miss it. It’s the giant white button. Tap it to capture photos or videos. When you switch to video mode, the shutter button will turn red to let you know you are about to record.
To the right of the capture button is a camera icon with two circular arrows. When pressed, this icon activates the front or rear camera. Think of this button as the selfie / video chat button to bring the camera around you.
Using the camera’s focus and exposure
When the camera app opens on the iPhone, its intelligent learning allows it to immediately search for faces. If you’d rather focus on a particular area of the frame, all you have to do is tap it. A yellow box will appear to inform you that the focus is on that area. The autofocus does a great job, but having the ability to focus manually is a great comfort. The same goes for exposure – manually changing the exposure to allow more or less light will help you capture the best shot possible.
To manually change the exposure, slide your finger up and down on the screen while holding it in autofocus mode. As you slide upwards, the exposure increases, letting more light into the camera lens. When you slide it down, less light enters it. Try it on any object or person, and you’ll quickly see how it works.
To zoom in on your shooting object, pinch two fingers anywhere on the screen and drag them out. To zoom out, place two fingers at opposite ends of the screen and drag them together. A bar will appear at the bottom of the screen indicating the zoom level you have left to use.
Use the grid
While almost anyone can learn to take photos, the iPhone is adding a feature that helps you find a better composition on the screen. To get the most out of your photos, align your subjects at the point where the lines intersect. To activate the grid, go to the iPhone Settings app. Scroll down until you find “Camera -> Grid,” then activate.
As you can see, the default camera app on iPhone is quite capable. However, if you are looking for more features, you can try other camera apps for iOS.
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