How to Take and Edit Better iPhone Photos
It’s 2019 and if you have any intention of having a strong Instagram game your visuals need to be on point.
I’ve always stood by the belief that you do not need a professional camera to have a good Instagram page. iPhone cameras are so powerful especially when you know a thing or two about taking the actual photo and know you’re way around an editing app. If that’s where you get caught up? I got you.
Things to Think About To Take a Better iPhone Photo
Capital L-I-G-H-T-I-N-G. You’re going to want to plan to take photos in the daylight. The more natural light the better. Editing can only take you so far when your photo is dark.
Where is the light?
The light source, for example, a window, should be behind the camera. This means the light is casting onto the subject. If you are holding your phone and taking a photo your back should be to the window and the person/product should be in front of you. Try not to block too much of the window with your body. If you are noticing shadows you might want to squat down and hold your phone up. So if you’re taking a photo of something else your back is to the window, but if you are taking a selfie you would face the window directly! If you were to take a photo with the subject in front of the window and the camera facing the window you will get a silhouette effect.
Making the Subject Proportionate.
We first want to hold the iphone in front of our chest not our face. So you are holding your iphone in your hands, taking a photo of a friend, if you tilt the phone forward and down you will make your friend look short. Alternatively if you tilt it back and up you will make them look taller. To make the subject look even taller you would squat down and then tilt the phone upwards.
When taking a flatlay make sure the phone is completely parallel to the surface, try not to have any tilt. When styling the objects in the photo put the tallest items in the back (furthest from the light source) so that they don’t case a shadow over the rest of the products. Make sure there is space between all items, in food photos for example make sure the spoon or fork isn’t partially tucked under the plate or bowl.
Editing iPhone Photos 101
There are tons of controls and filters and adjustments you can make to a photo but I’m going to touch on 5. I use and love Lightroom for both my professional editing on my desktop and my iPhone editing. Adobe has a free Lightroom app called Lightroom CC which you can get in the app, you will have to make an account but I highly recommend downloading it.
Under the Light panel of Lightroom CC you will see exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. Exposure brightens the entire photo equally whereas highlights and shadows target light and dark areas separately. Whites and blacks specifically target white and black pixels. If this seems confusing don’t worry, as soon have a photo open in Lightroom and start playing around you’ll see the difference!
Pro Tip: Move the slide control ALL THE WAY to one side or the other then bring it back to a level that looks good. If you increase the exposure a little bit you might like what you see and then leave it but if you were to push it a little further it might look even better!
Under the colour tab we’re looking at temperature and vibrance. Temperature controls how warm or cold your photo is. Warm is more orange/yellow/red, whereas cold is more purple and blue. Some photos may naturally need an adjustment in temperature. Having a consistent temperature tone within your photos will help to create your own unique look for your page. You may want to intentionally increase or decrease temperature depending on your brand and brand colours.
Vibrance & Saturation
Vibrance targets muted colours and intensifies them whereas saturation covers the entire photo equally.
Detail and Clarity
Under the Detail tab we have Sharpening, Under the Effects tab there is Clairity. Sharpening gives a more minute detail and clean look. Clarity brings out details by adding contrast. High clarity would provide a grungy intense look. I use the sharpen control more often than clarity!
Crop & Rotate
Last I want to hop over to the Crop function and focus on the rotate control. Straightening out your photo can make all the difference! Looking at the photo use a wall or the ground to find a straight line. If necessary rotate your photo till it’s straight.
Lightroom is capable of so much more but playing around with these few controls that we just covered can make your photo look totally different from the original! You always want to edit in Lightroom before any other apps because Lightroom saves a large files size to your phone, most other apps will shrink the file size.
I use Lightroom to do what I call a baseline edit. After Lightroom I always put my pics into the app VSCO to add my final unique touches. So if we use VSCO first and then Lightroom the final product will be lower in quality which could results in a grainy or blurry looking photo.
VSCO is a great app for filters. I find they go-on a lot more natural than Instagram’s filters and they keep the quality of the photo higher. I have 3 filters that I use consistently on my page. They all look similar but some just work better for different photos. What I also love about VSCO is that you can adjust the strength of the filter by clicking on the filter and adjusting the slide control.
Hold your phone at chest height - or direct your Instagram boyfriend to do so. Tilt up or down to grow or shrink a subject.
For flatlays keep it FLAT.
Put your nice, well lit photo into Lightroom and play around with lighting, temperature, detail and rotation.
Pick your favourite filters and use them consistently to help create a cohesive look on your page.
If you try any of these tips out I’d LOVE to see your final product, or even after a before and after of an edited photo, because we all love those right?
Alright friend, have fun, and happy creating!