July 21, 2022

Why Your iPhone Photos Suck


welcome back

Let me hit you guys with 3 simple tips to take your iPhone pic game to the next level. Sound good?

One of the most common issues I face as a photographer is the "DIY" culture of people with iPhones in their pocket. They often say that "it's just as good" or that the quality isn't all that different... well, that's a rant for another day.

Make no mistake about it, there is a VAST difference between that phone in your pocket and a photographers camera in both quality and capability, but for now let's just talk about 3 basic things you should be doing to take better photos with your phone.


Buy a microfiber cloth, if you're fancy, or just use your shirt (hopefully it's clean) and give your phone's camera lens a good little rubdown.

Honestly, doing this one thing will immediately up the quality of your photos. I can't tell you how many times I see people post blurry, out of focus photos and then say that they were being "artistic." What's worse is the people that support them in their terrible habits. If you are one of those people that has a friend that takes bad photos and you don't say anything to them, you are part of the problem.

Friends don't let friends post sh*tty photos.

2. make sure that your subject is in focus

With the iPhone, all you've gotta do is tap on the person or thing you are trying to take a photo of and it will auto focus. The benefit of having your picture in focus is that we will be able to see this glorious person, place, or thing that you wanted us all to see with perfect clarity!

Check out the example below. The can on the left is out of focus whereas the can on the right is in perfect focus. Also, for the sake of dynamics, when you put a good amount of distance between your subject and background it will allow your subject to standout in the photo.

The general idea is that your subject should be in focus and everything else can be out of focus. If you have ever used "portrait mode" on your iPhone, that's basically what it's doing.

SiDe note

Here's an advanced tip I guess... if you want to add a little more pizazz to your photos, try turning your phone upside down and then tilt it up a little bit when you take the photo.

Check out the example below.

why the monster can?

It was on my desk. Now if you look at these two photos side by side, they are both in focus, but they are very different from each other.

The can on the left was taken in the traditional method of holding the phone up, setting the focus, and then taking the shot. The can on the right was taken with the other method where I turn the phone upside down and tilt the lens up a bit before taking the photo. This makes the subject stand out and appear to be "larger than life."

It doesn't work well for everything, but it makes for a more interesting photo, so try it out!

3. adjust your exposure

This is another simple thing that a lot of people either don't know about or don't take the time to do. When you tap on the screen to set your focus, a little yellow box will appear at the same time. When it does you can then slide your finger up to make things brighter or slide your finger down to make things darker.

In reality, what you are doing is adjusting how much light you are allowing into the phone's camera. Ideally, you want just enough exposure to make sure that your subject and background can be seen without anything being faded/blown out, or so dark that it can't be seen. Check out the example below.

another side note

Good lighting is important. Take the time to position your subject in the best light available to you before you take the shot.

I'll detail the importance of this in another post later, but in a general sense, just keep it in your mind to take a little extra time for a better photo. Everyone will appreciate it.

just 3 for now

If you can nail these three things it will make the little photos you take on your phone that much better. There are some apps that allow you to mimic the abilities of an actual DSLR or mirrorless camera. I will list them in the resource section of this post for those of you that want to have more control over your phone's camera settings.

Hope this helps!