Getting the Most from Your iPhone/iPad Camera

Use the grid

One of the basic guidelines in photography is called the “Rule of Thirds”. This is where you line up the key element(s) along one of the grid lines or at the intersection of two grid lines. One of the iPhone/iPad camera options is to display a grid which provides a handy on-screen reference for composing photos.

Launch the Camera application and note the “Options” button at the top of the screen. Tap the button. One of the two choices is the Grid option. Turn it on. The grid will appear on your screen to help in composing your photos.

Rule of Thirds Example

Google “Rule of Thirds” to learn more on how to put the concept into practice.


One of the blessings of digital photography is the instant results it provides. A downfall is that digital images can’t handle the wide range of light variations like film. In an effort to overcome this, a process called HDR (High Dynamic Range) was developed. HDR is the process of combining multiple versions of the same photograph, each version being exposed for a different part of the scene. Typically, you need to use an application like Photoshop to combine the multiple versions. Not everybody has the time or inclination to spend this kind of time. Luckily for the masses, the iPhone has a built-in HDR function.

In the case of HDR on the iPhone and iPad, three versions of the photo are taken in quick succession. One version is exposed based on the highlights, one based on the mid tone and one based on the shadows. The three photos are combined automatically to create a more balanced exposure.

Launch the Camera application and note the “Options” button at the top of the screen. Tap the button. One of the two choices is the HDR option. Turn it on. Note, however, HDR mode does not work when you have the flash ON or in Auto mode. Enabling HDR mode will turn off the flash and Auto mode and vice versa.

Also, HDR mode may provide odd results if photographing something in motion, like a moving car, because the HDR photo is the composite of three photos taken in rapid succession. You’ll see a ghost image from one or more of the exposures of the object(s) in motion.

Tap and hold to lock focus/exposure

When you tap on the screen of your iPhone or iPad, the camera application will focus and compute the exposure based on that point. A light blue square appears, indicating this point. But if you move the camera, the focal point and exposure will change to reflect the new conditions. There are times when you might want to lock in the focus and exposure so you can move the camera without altering the settings.

Press and hold your finger on the spot you’d like to lock the focus and base the exposure. Press and hold until the light blue square pulsates from small to large back to small, then locks in on the spot. Now you can recompose your photo without altering the focus point or exposure.

This is useful when the camera exposure might favor a brighter area, leaving your main subject slightly darker than wanted. Press and hold on the darker area to base the exposure on this area.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s