4 Tips for Better iPhone Photography

Dandelion Pouf

Last week I had a chance to catch up with an old friend who shares my fondness for photography. She doesn’t pull out her DSLR very often these days and usually relies on her iPhone to capture life.

She expressed that she missed photography as a creative outlet and had trouble getting artsy shots with her iPhone. I offered her a few suggestions and thought I’d share them here as well.

Dandelion Pouf

Please note that the suggestions below are specific to the iPhone (I use an iPhone 7+), but most can be applied to photography with a variety of smartphones.

Clean Your Lens

Most of us are aware that we need to keep the lenses clean on our dedicated cameras but how often do you clean the lens on your smartphone?

I highly recommend the LensPen cleaning tool. They have larger ones that are great for DSLRs and the like, but they also make tiny ones, perfect for cleaning the lens on a smartphone. Check out the MicroPro LensPen on Amazon.

Use the Up-Volume Button to Trigger the Shutter

Most folks take photos with their iPhone by holding the phone with one hand and pressing the shutter button on the screen with the other. The problem is that unless you have surgeon-steady hands, the phone will move as you take your shot.

The solution: hold your iPhone like a real camera.

  • Take a sharpshooter stance (feet hip-width apart, one foot slightly in front of the other)
  • Press your upper arms against your body
  • Use both hands to hold the phone so you can see the preview on the screen
  • Press the up-volume button to trigger the shutter.
  • If you are in low-light or tracking a moving subject you can hold the volume/shutter button down to capture a burst of images and then pick the best one(s) from the series.

Big Sur

Make Use of a Tripod and Cable Release

Working in low-light or have particularly shaky hands? A tripod and cable release might be your best bet.

The headphones that came with your iPhone double as a cable release! The up-volume button on the headphones cable will trigger the camera’s shutter.

There are several options for a tripod. I have a small Gorillapod that I use for tabletop photography. It comes with a spring loaded grip that will fit a variety of phone sizes, including my iPhone 7+ with a slim case.


The spring loaded grip that comes with the Gorillapod can also be detached from the flexible tripod and has a standard thread mount so you can attach it to any tripod.

When it comes to purchasing a tripod for your iPhone you want something sturdy and well-made. The Manfrotto Compact Tripod below is a good choice (but please don’t put your DSLR on it…it doesn’t handle that kind of weight well!)

Check Out Lightroom Mobile

If you’re serious about iPhone photography, you should check out the Lightroom Mobile app (FREE). It allows you to capture, organize, edit and share your photos from your smartphone using Adobe’s world-class technology.

The camera in Lightroom Mobile can capture photos in Adobe DNG (RAW) format, has a professional mode that gives you control over your exposure, shutter speed, and ISO, and also has a native HDR mode.

The Lightroom Mobile app for iOS and Android is free, but additional features are unlocked with the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan ($9.99/month). If you’re only shooting and editing with your phone, its unlikely that you’d need the paid plan.

Take it. / Make it. Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan Just US$9.99/mo. Join now.

There are many more tips and tricks I could share for shooting with a smartphone. The four above make a huge difference in the quality of my own iPhone photography. I hope they are helpful for you, too!

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