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As a photographer, I shoot with a high-end camera, use several different lenses, and edit my images with professional software. I love to serve my clients by producing high quality photographs they can print, display, share, and cherish for the long-term. I also enjoy using my “big camera” to capture my own family moments, both big and small. I lug it on vacations, take it out around the house, and snap away on holidays. But, like everyone else, I also take pictures of my personal life on my iPhone. A lot.

There’s nothing easier, quicker, or more convenient for day-to-day moments! We’re all doing it, and there’s definitely no shame in that game.

If you’re looking for professional photos every once in a while, please contact me! For making the most of your iPhone camera for all of the other moments of your life, keep reading.

Here are my 5 favorite tips for taking better iPhone pictures:

1. Clean Your Lens

Think about how often you touch your phone in a given day. Maybe yours also hangs out in a pocket, or at the bottom of a purse? There’s so much junk (oils from skin, lint, debris) that can come in contact with your phone’s lens, so give it a quick wipe down before you use it. Otherwise you may find that your images come out cloudy, or with odd light streaks.

2. Don’t Zoom

The zoom feature on your phone camera that involves you doing that pinch thing with your thumb and pointer finger? Don’t ever do it. Every time you digitally zoom like that, the quality of your image takes a major nosedive.

Alternatives? My first recommendation is to simply get physically closer to your subject. In other words, use your legs. If that’s not possible, it’s better to take the photo without zooming, and crop it later.

3. Embrace a Quick Edit

There are countless awesome iPhone apps that allow you to edit your photo right on your phone. Maybe you’ve found a particular shot to be a little too dark? Or overly blue? Or extra yellow? These things happen to me all the time. Or maybe you just want those colors to “pop” a little more? All of this (and much more!) is easy to adjust with an editing app.

I have found that some of the apps give so many options for filters, tweaks, and edits that it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. I like to keep things simple and easy when it comes to editing iPhone pictures.

For that reason I like an app called PicTapGo. It’s $3 or so at the App Store, but no in-app purchases. I’ve never used anything quicker or easier, and the format drastically cuts down on the decision fatigue/overwhelm factor that I’ve found with other editing apps.

If you’re in the market for editing apps with greater complexity and options, I also like A Color Story, Snapseed, and Lightroom (the app is free!)

4. Add the Grid

Go into Settings > Camera, and move the slider for “Grid” to “On.” This will put a light grid right onto the viewer for your phone’s camera. When you go to take a picture, you’ll see two lines running top to bottom, and two lines running left to right.

When you go to take a photo, try and place objects and areas of interest along the lines, or even at a point where the lines intersect. In doing this, you’re utilizing the Rule of Thirds, a basic composition rule of thumb well-known in the photography world. And if, after you take the photo, your image is a little off, you can always crop it with the rule of thirds in mind.

5. Turn off the Flash

We’ve all seen those images where people look like a deer in headlights, right? It’s not great. Make your camera use the light available to take a picture. If you need to, move closer to a window, or turn on a lamp, or make some other adjustment. If the photo ends up dark, lighten it up with an editing app (see #3.) If there’s absolutely no other way to take the photo you want to take, you can turn the flash on. But it should be used as a last resort only.

There you have it, 5 Simple tips to improve your iPhone photography. They’re my favorite go-tos for documenting life and snapping pictures on the go.

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