Here are some tips to get the best out of your iPhone 12 camera
The iPhone 12 has already wowed critics and insiders, quickly becoming one of the most popular phones ever. Of the four iPhone 12 models released this year, the most “affordable” one lacks some of the camera features of the more expensive Pro and Pro Max models, such as the telephoto lens and lidar sensor . But don’t think this can affect the quality of your images.
If you’ve just got your hands on iPhone 12, here are some tips on how to take great photos. You don’t need to follow them all, but keeping these ideas in mind will help you think more about photography and turn simple snaps into memorable works of art.
1. Think about the composition of the image
The iPhone 12 can capture vibrant, well-exposed images without much needing to be done. But the same is true for most phones and most cameras. The most important factor that will differentiate your images from someone else’s, therefore, is the composition of the scene you are photographing . So take a moment to think about the arrangement of all the different elements in front of you and how they will look in your finished image.
Let’s say you went hiking in the hills and found a nice view. You could just point your phone at it and take a picture, and no doubt your family and friends would compliment you on the beautiful view. But spend some time looking at the scene and think about how you could make it truly unique. Put the point of interest in the foreground(such as an interesting rock formation, a clump of flowers, or an old gnarled tree stump), this could help tie the scene together. Using guidelines (like a path or a wall) can help draw the viewer’s eye to the scene. The photographic rule of thirds is worth keeping in mind, to help you get started, and to do this, you can activate an overlay grid in the camera settings to accurately align elements. Keep in mind that, despite the name, the rule of thirds is really just a guide, not a rule.
2. Know when wide angle is needed
The iPhone 12 has standard and very wide view built into the camera, so it’s important to remember to use both of these angles and know when it’s best to use them. Switching to wide-angle view can transform your image, but it’s only worth using when you have a composition that really requires it.
If the subject in your image – say, a church on a hill – is far away, a wide-angle lens will make the church look even further away and get lost in the frame. Rather, approach the church and activate the “wide” mode: in that case the church will still be the dominant subject in the image. Now, however, you can capture more elements around it. Again, a foreground element helps with wide-angle photos , so look around; maybe there is a beautiful patch of wildflowers that you can put in the foreground and the church can occupy the second floor.
3. Check the exposure
While the iPhone 12 is usually perfect at selecting the right exposure for a scene, it sometimes needs a little help. Complex scenes with bright skies and dark shadows can sometimes confuse the camera . For example, when taking a portrait of a person with a bright sunset behind them, the phone may choose a good exposure for the sky but leave the subject in shadow. However, there are some things you can do in this case.
First you can try to touch the subject, telling the camera that that is the part that should be exposed correctly. You can also drag the small slider that appears beside the box, which opens when touched. This will allow you to lighten or darken the scene as needed. If the scene looks very bright, we recommend that you turn it down by just a touch.
4. Shoot in RAW
If you want more control over your exposure, shoot in RAW format and take manual control of your settings. You will need a third party app, such as Moment or Firstlight, to do this, as the default iOS camera app doesn’t offer these features.
Taking manual control of settings, such as shutter speed, ISO, and white balance is useful in those cases where the camera may be confused by a scene and the desired shot cannot be achieved . A sunset, for example, may seem too dark for the camera, so it will overcompensate and make the shadows stand out too much, ruining the atmospheric look you had in mind. By choosing the settings yourself, you can get exactly the shot you want.
RAW images also do not permanently save image data for white balance and sharpness, which gives you more control when it comes to editing images later. If you take a photo that you know you’ll want to edit for a more “artistic” look, you’ll almost always have to shoot in raw.
5. Edit your images
A good edit can often be the main factor in turning a simple shot into a work of art. Using the basic edit button in Apple’s Photos app allows you to apply cool filters, control highlights or boost shadows, all of which take seconds and can give your shots a boost.
But if you want to go further, there is a huge range of editing apps in the App Store that can transform and sometimes enhance your shots. One of the best is Adobe Lightroom, which offers the same suite of granular exposure and color controls used in my professional photography. Snapseed is great too, with tons of tools available and it’s free. Both Lightroom and Snapseed are great for fine-tuning your images to achieve beautiful art-style looks without turning your images into something completely different.
Then there are apps like Prisma, PicsArt and Photoshop Camera, which allow you to apply different effects to your images, turning them into whimsical modern works of art.
Whether you prefer a more natural look or something more extravagant is entirely up to your preferences and imagination. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to edit images and you can always go back to the original and start over if you don’t like what you did, so experiment safely. Ultimately, the advice is to make yourself a good cup of tea, sit in a comfortable chair and play with your favorite app tools to find out how you can transform your images.