How to Take Great Photos on an iPhone: Swayy’s Need-to-Know Tips

How to Hone Your ‘iPhoneography’ Skills

If you’re just starting out as an influencer, or you’re strapped for immediate options, the iPhone can make a great substitute for more tech-heavy cameras. With the progression of the iPhone, even amateur photographers can produce much higher quality images. Social media has been flooded by a new generation of mobile view-finders. As such, we’ve put together a short list of how you can level up your ‘iPhoneography’ skills. When it comes to producing brilliant influencer content, here are a few easy essential influencer tips to keep track of:

1. Turn on High Dynamic Range (HDR) in your iPhone camera app.

Top of the list for essential influencer tips is perhaps one of the easiest changes to make. Apple has helpfully included this handy button on the top left of your camera screen, allowing you to blend the best parts of three different photos. The end result is often better in terms of colour and detail. Using HDR means the photo exposure should be well-balanced between the subject and the background. If you want to edit the image further, the camera automatically saves two versions of the same photo – one with HDR, and one without. This way, you can take photos featuring high contrast light sources without distorting the final image.

2. Find your focus.

The key to a great photo often lies in simplicity, and this is especially true with iPhone snaps. Keep in mind that most viewers will be seeing your image on a similar device. On phones and tablets, small and uncomplicated images are more likely to stand out over complicated ones. The easiest photos to remember are often those with only one main subject. Always double-check your focus and the balance of the image. Choose carefully what you want in the foreground, and figure out how blurred the background should be.

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This is particularly important for influencer content as the influencers themselves will often be the main focus. Don’t be afraid of negative space, and remember to properly place your focus on what you want people to be drawn to. Choosing an aesthetic and sticking to it can often help with this. Establishing a colour palette or your favourite set of filters, for example, can help you figure out what stands out best in that kind of photo.

3. Get quality from quantity: it’s not always the other way around.

Sometimes the most obvious advice is the best: take as many photos as you can. Although this might require an iPhone back-up or two, it’s well worth stocking up on as many shots as you can. Not only can this help you edit tourists out of travel photos, but it also automatically guarantees you more choice between images. Taking a lot of photos means you can quickly figure out which works best before binning the rest. This is probably the easiest out of our essential influencer tips to put into practice. Wherever you can, try to vary perspectives and lighting. This way, you’ll have as many options as possible when it comes to the editing stage. To help you with this, it might be worth investing in a tripod or taking someone along to help take your photos!

4. Mix it up!

If you’re stuck, the best way to figure out what works best is to experiment. Mixing up angles and seeing how it affects lighting and perspective is one of the quickest ways to find good shots and eliminate bad ones. A feed full of the same chest-height shots isn’t interesting enough to keep viewers on your page: keep it fresh! Most of the time it’s a lot easier to learn by doing. If you’re looking for inspiration, see what works best for your fellow influencers and try to simulate some of their techniques.

When it comes to depth, the photo below is a great example of how leading lines can help to catch a viewer’s and draw them into the picture.

essential influencer tips

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Especially when it comes to landscape photography, the power of paths, roads or rivers shouldn’t go unused. Not only does it make the subject stark in contrast, but it naturally makes the photo more engaging.

5. Establish the basics of portrait photography.

If distance isn’t working, don’t be afraid to get up close! Most influencers will feature front and centre in their photographs, so get to grips with how to make each portrait stand out. If you have a subject with amazing patterns, textures or colours, for example, make sure to get close enough to include them.

In portrait photography, making sure the subject’s face is at the forefront gives your photos more impact and clarity. Vary your own pose and expression, and give yourself lots to choose from. There are a lot of well-used Instagram-ready poses around, so if you’re ever stuck check out your fellow influencers for some inspiration! Whether it’s the ‘not-so-candid-I-just-turned-around’ or ‘artfully-looking-into-the-distance’, there are some classics which never fail.

A clear focus can also be combined with a more blurred background for a great picture – just make sure that any products can be seen too! Keep in mind that an iPhone won’t be able to focus if the lens is too close to a subject; for an extreme close-up, you’ll need an add-on macro lens.

6. Keep your eye on the prize!

essential influencer tips

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You’ll get the best iPhone snaps if you have the end result clear in your mind when you take it. The default iPhone camera offers a variety of different modes, be it panorama or square. Each of these suits a different purpose, but for Instagram influencers square is often the best option. Using this mode saves you cropping a regular photo and trying to find a new framing when it comes to uploading. For action shots, on the other hand, burst photos are brilliant for capturing that millisecond shot. Whatever mode you use, make sure you have a steady hand!

7. Understand the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds is basically just an imaginary three-by-three grid drawn on top of your photo to break it into nine equally-sized squares. The four spots where the lines intersect are the strongest focal points in an image, so use them to your advantage! When it comes to portraits, the rule of thirds can be really useful for centring the subject and balancing the overall image. Luckily for us, Apple included it’s own three-by-three grid for you to switch on whenever you need it. Simply go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid and slide the button from left to right. Although this might be the most technical advice in our essential influencer tips, it’s well worth getting a handle on. For a closer look at the rule of thirds, try useful breakdowns like this one for more information.

8. Explore what’s out there!

One of the best things about using an iPhone camera is the ability to experiment with lots of third-party apps. In recent years Apple has opened a lot of controls up to developers, including shutter speed, white balance and exposure. This means that influencer shots now have more freedom than ever. There are many apps out there which can help you take even better photos, from ProCam 5 to the free VSCO App. Editing applications are also a great option. Snapseed, for example, offers some of the best free software for editing photos, and it’s available for both iOS and Android!

9. Practice really does make perfect.

Above all else, essential influencer tips essentially boil down to the old saying “practice makes perfect”. Many established influencers have little to no professional photography training and got to where they are through practice alone. As long as you try to learn more about what makes a great image, success can’t be far away! The best influencers are always growing organically with their audience, so don’t shy away from admitting that you can do the same.

essential influencer tips


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