The 5 Most Common iPhone Photography Mistakes

The 5 Most Common iPhone Photography Mistakes


Have you ever
taken a bad iPhone photo? If so, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, when I was getting started, I took so many bad photos
with my iPhone. But here’s the good news. Bad iPhone photos are almost
always caused by the exact same mistakes. If you can simply avoid
these five common mistakes, your iPhone photos are
guaranteed to get better. And that’s why I recorded
this short video revealing the five most common
iPhone photography mistakes. Now if you can’t hear me,
please tap on this video to turn on the sound, and
then we can get started. Now one of the most common mistakes I see people make all the time is using the zoom of your iPhone to get closer to your subjects. But why would using the zoom
of the iPhone be a mistake? Well, it turns out that when
you’re zooming on the iPhone, behind the scenes, what
happens is that every time you take a photo while
you’re zoomed in, the iPhone actually crops
that image before the photo is even taken. And this means that the
resulting image will be of substantially
worse quality. For example, if I now want to
take a photo of this blue motorbike over there. And if I use two fingers to zoom in to get closer to the motorbike, I can take what looks
like a really nice shot. But if we take a closer look
at this particular image, you’ll see that there are
some serious quality problems. There’s excessive grain. There isn’t enough detail. And in general, this photo
doesn’t look as good as it should, and
that’s because we’ve zoomed in. So for the sake of comparison, let me walk closer to the bike, and let’s take another shot. So now I’ve walked closer
to the bike, and if I lift up my
iPhone to frame a shot, you’ll see that on the
left-hand side of the screen it says 1x, which means
I’m zoomed all the way out. So if I go ahead and now
take a photo, and if we do a side-by-side
comparison, you’ll see that the second photo is much better in terms of quality. There’s more detail, there’s
less grain. And that’s because the second photo does not use the zoom
functionality of the iPhone. Now if your iPhone comes
with two lenses on the back, like this iPhone does, then
you do have some flexibility in terms of zooming. And if that’s the case,
you can safely switch between the wide-angle
and the telephoto lenses without any quality loss. So to show you how to do this, I’ve now framed the shot
of the bike once again. And you’ll see it on the
left-hand side, there’s a button that says 1x. If I tap my finger there, the iPhone quickly zooms
in, and now it says 2x, which means that I’ve zoomed
in two times. So if I now take a photo, that photo is taken using the
telephoto lens of the iPhone, and there’s no quality loss
of any kind. To get back to wide-angle,
I’ll tap on 2x again, and now I’m back at the
wide-angle lens. And I can safely switch
between these two lenses without any quality loss whatsoever. With that said, it’s
not a good idea to use any other magnification such
as 1.5x or 3x for example, because at any other
level besides 1x or 2x, you will experience serious
quality loss. And if your iPhone doesn’t
have two lenses on the back, then simply don’t zoom at all, because if you do, there will
be significant quality loss, and you don’t want that
to your photos. Now another common mistake I see iPhone photographers
make all the time is having the horizon
slanted in their photos. And unfortunately, nothing
screams unprofessional more than having a
slanted horizon. With that said, it’s also
a really common problem, and it’s something that
every iPhone photographer has to deal with. So how can you make sure that
the horizon will be straight? Well, actually there are
two things you can do. First, you wanna make sure
you turn on the grid lines in the Settings app of the iPhone. You wanna go to the
Settings app of the iPhone. Here you have to scroll down
a little bit until you find Camera. Then tap your finger on Camera, and you will open
Camera Settings. And the second option here
is called Grid. So you wanna make sure that the switch next to
Grid is turned on. So now with the Grid option on, you’ll see that there are
two horizontal and two vertical lines across
the screen of my iPhone in the camera app. And I can use these lines
to line important objects or important lines in the
scene with the grid lines to make sure that everything
is nice and straight. For example, if I want to
take a photo of this goal on the beach, and if I wannna make sure
that the horizon is straight, I’ll then use the bottom grid line to align the horizon with the
grid line perfectly like so. And then when I take a photo, I can be absolutely confident that the horizon will
turn out straight. Now shooting with the grid
lines is really helpful, but you may still
sometimes make a mistake. For example, if you’re shooting from a really difficult angle, and you cannot clearly see
the grid lines. But no worries, even when
that happens you can still fix a slanted
horizon in post processing. So let me show you
how to do that. So this photo of my wife that I took this winter
is really beautiful, but unfortunately the horizon
is slanted. So I’m going to fix that
by tapping the Edit icon at top right-hand corner. And from here at the bottom
of the screen towards the left I’m going to tap my finger
on the crop icon. The moment I open the crop tool, you’ll see that the photo was
automatically straightened. And at this point, I’m pretty
much done, and I can hit the Done
button at the bottom right. But sometimes the automatic
straightening will not work out. And if you want to adjust how
slanted the photo is manually, what you need to do is use
your finger and swipe it horizontally
right under the image where you see the circle. And as you swipe your
finger there, you’ll see how you can
easily straighten the photo. So the goal here is to make sure that the horizon will be parallel to any of the horizontal lines that
you can see on the screen. So after a careful adjustment,
I think I got it right. So I’m gonna go ahead and
press Done at the bottom right, and now this photo has been
straightened. So as you can see, it’s a
really easy thing to do. And remember, nothing
screams unprofessional more than a slanted horizon. One of the most common reasons
iPhone photos end up blurry is because the focus is not
set correctly. So how do you set focus
on the iPhone? Actually, it’s really simple. Let me show you how to do it. So when you first open the
camera app of the iPhone, you’ll see that the iPhone has
already picked somewhat of an average
focus for this photo. And we have these beautiful
flowers in the foreground as well as the street
buildings in the background, but neither of them is
really in focus because the iPhone has tried
to make sure that as many parts of the
photo as possible are in focus. And as a result, nothing
is really in focus. So in order to fix that, all you have to do is use
your finger and tap it on the screen where
you want the focus to be. So right now I’m going to tap on this flower in the foreground. And you’ll see this
yellow box appear, and that means that the
focus is now set on the flowers in the foreground. Now if I want to set the focus on the buildings in
the background instead, all I have to do is tap my finger on these buildings in the background, and you’ll see that now
these buildings are in focus, but the flowers in the
foreground are no longer sharp. Now when I set the focus here on these buildings in the
background, the image also became a
little bit darker. And that’s because when
you’re setting focus, you’re also adjusting
how dark or how bright the photo is going to be. So if that’s a problem,
it’s really easy to fix, and all you have to do is
simply swipe your finger up or down the screen like this, and you can make the
photo darker or brighter if you need to do that. So now that I’m happy with
both focus and exposure, I’m gonna go ahead and take
another photo. And if we compare these
two photos side by side, we’ll see that in the first photo the flowers in the foreground
are nice and sharp, but the buildings in the
background are out of focus. While in the second photo, the buildings in the
background are in focus, but the flowers in the
foreground are no longer sharp. So the bottom line is this, if you wanna make sure that your iPhone photos
turn out great, you should always set the
focus yourself. Otherwise you’re leaving
your photos up to chance. Sometimes they’ll work out
and other times they won’t, but you will not get
consistent results. Now besides incorrectly set focus, one of the most common reasons why your iPhone photos
end up blurry is called motion blur. And motion blur becomes
a real problem when you’re shooting in
low-light situations or indoors. Now the reason motion blur
is a problem in low light is because in low light, the shutter of your iPhone
has to stay open for longer to let in the same amount of light. But any movement while the
shutter is open results in blurry photos. And because of that, it’s
really important that in low light situations you hold your iPhone
as steady as possible. So let me quickly show you
what happens when you’re shooting in low light, and the iPhone is shaking. Now as you can see, the photo
we just took is really blurry. And obviously that’s not
what we want. So let me show you how to
correctly hold the iPhone to keep it as steady as possible. Now over the years I’ve
experimented with many different grip styles, and I can honestly tell you
that this one is the best one. So if you’re right-handed
like I am, you wanna start by placing your left palm in front
of you like this. Then you place your iPhone in the middle of your palm like so, and you wanna use your thumb to support one side of the iPhone and your little finger to support the other side
of the iPhone. And the three fingers stay
at the back of the iPhone to support it that way. Using this grip you can
quickly switch between portrait and
landscape orientation, or you can move the iPhone
in any way you want, and no matter what you do,
the iPhone isn’t gonna drop. It’s a very steady grip. Then you can use your right hand to further support the
iPhone from below, and now you’re actually
using two hands to keep the iPhone steady. And finally, you wanna use
the thumb of your right hand to adjust any settings
on the screen or to gently press the shutter. And this is how you can hold your iPhone as steady as possible. Now if conditions permit, you can further stabilize
your body and your hands by leaning against a
vertical wall like this. Or alternatively, you
can support your hands against a horizontal surface. For example, right now
I am supporting my hands against my knee, and my
knee isn’t moving much. And because of that, I can
get an even steadier shot. So now let’s take another
test photo, this time trying to keep the
iPhone as steady as possible. Now if we look at the photo
we just took, you’ll see how sharp it is. And if we compare the
two images side by side, you’ll see how important it is to keep your iPhone as steady
as possible. Have you ever been in a situation where your iPhone takes
a whole bunch of photos, but for whatever reason
they’re all either too blue or too yellow, or perhaps
they’re all black and white and you just don’t
understand what’s happening? Well, it turns out
that this happens to a lot of photographers. And the reason for this problem is that one of the built-in
filters of the iPhone camera has been left on by accident. So let me show you how it works. I’ve found a really
good cityscape photo, so I’m gonna quickly set focus and go ahead and take a picture. But there’s a bit of a problem. If you look at the screen
more carefully, you’ll see that the colors
don’t really look natural. And in general, the entire
picture has this blue tone to it, and it doesn’t really look pretty. So it turns out that one
of the built-in filters of the iPhone camera has
been left on by accident. And I can tell that because at the top right-hand
corner of the screen, the icon that shows three
overlapping circles is in color. So if I go ahead and tap
my finger on the top right, you’ll see that the filter
menu at the bottom comes up, and here you can select between all sorts of
different filters. But on the left-hand side you have the option to
select the original, which is essentially
no filter at all. So I’m gonna select that option. And to get rid of the filter menu, I will tap on the three
overlapping circles at top right again, and now I’m ready to take
another photo, this time without any of the
built-in filters turned on. Now what if you have a whole bunch of old photos in your iPhone, and you don’t like the filters that have been applied to them? Well, it turns out it’s
not a problem at all, because you can easily
remove or change any of the filters after
the photo is already taken. So let me show you how to do it. Now the first thing
you’ll need to do is find the right photo in
the Photos app of the iPhone. From there tap on the Edit
icon at the top right. And at the bottom of the screen you’ll see the filters icon again. So if you tap your finger there, you will see that all the filter
options come up once again, and you can select any one
of these options right now. Or on the left-hand side
you can pick original, and this is how you remove a filter after the photo is already taken. So I could go for the original, or I can go through
these filters one by one and find the one I like best. And actually, I think
the Vivid Warm filter looks really great for this photo. So I’m gonna go ahead and
apply Vivid Warm by pressing Done at the
bottom right. And this is how you can
remove or change the filters after a
photo is already taken. Now because it’s so easy to do, I actually prefer to only work with these filters after
the photo is taken. So if you’d like to apply a
quick filter to your photos, you can simply use this method, and then you don’t have to worry about selecting the correct filter before the photo is actually taken. Now as you can see from the
techniques I just shared, the iPhone camera looks
really simple on the surface. But when you start
digging deeper, it’s really not that simple. There are so many hidden
camera features and camera settings that you
probably don’t know about, and I can only share a
handful of them in a short video like this. And to make things worse, it’s
not enough to simply learn about all the different
iPhone camera features. You also have to understand
how to use each one of them in different photography scenarios. We’re talking about
different light conditions, different photography subjects, and even different genres
and styles of photography. But here’s the good news. Once you really understand
iPhone photography, you’ll be able to take
the kind of photos that nobody would even believe
were taken with the iPhone. And that’s why I created
iPhone Photo Academy, which is an online course
teaching you everything there is to know
about iPhone photography. So right next to this video
you will find more information about my full
iPhone Photo Academy course. If you’d like to use your
iPhone to take stunning photos that you will be proud to
look at many years later. And if you’d like to do it without having to carry
your bulky camera, then please take a look at my full iPhone Photo Academy
course. There’s more information
right next to this video. So take a look, and I really
hope to see you there.

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