Master Your iPhone Camera: Tips & Tricks for Capturing Stunning Photos

By Moses Johnson - Managing Editor
5 Min Read

The iPhone camera is one of the most popular and widely-used cameras in the world. With each new iteration of the iPhone, Apple has continued to push the boundaries of what’s possible with smartphone photography. However, many people still don’t know how to take full advantage of the powerful camera features on their iPhones.

Camera in Photo mode, with other modes to the left and right below the view finder. Buttons for Flash, Camera Controls, and Live Photo appear at the top of the screen. The Photo and Video Viewer button is in the bottom-left corner. The Take Picture button is at the bottom center, and the Camera Chooser Back-Facing button is in the bottom-right corner.  

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have an upgraded main sensor, with a wider f/1.5 aperture compared to the f/1.6 aperture on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models – expected to improve low light shots. These models have an ultra-wide sensor with f/2.4 aperture, but the iPhone 14 models also have a Photonic Engine on board that too is designed to help with low light shots.

Results in good conditions are excellent for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models based on our experience and they are good in low light too, with Night Mode having to kick in less than the older iPhone 11 thanks to the slightly wider aperture. The same applies to the iPhone 14 models, with some low light improvements.

There’s optical image stabilisation on above mentioned models, Portrait Lighting with six effects, as well as Smart HDR 4 for photos and Night Mode. Night Mode is also offered on the front camera of above models.

In this article, we’ll provide tips and tricks for mastering your iPhone camera and capturing stunning photos.

1. Get to Know Your Camera App

The first step to mastering your iPhone camera is to become familiar with the Camera app. The app is relatively straightforward, but there are some hidden features and settings that you might not be aware of.

One of the most useful features of the Camera app is the ability to adjust the focus and exposure of your shots. To do this, simply tap on the area of the screen where you want to focus. A yellow box will appear to indicate the focus point. You can then swipe up or down on the screen to adjust the exposure.

Another useful feature is the grid overlay. This can help you compose your shots more effectively by using the rule of thirds. To turn on the grid overlay, go to Settings > Camera and turn on the Grid option.

2. Use the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a basic principle of composition that can help you create more visually interesting and balanced photos. The rule of thirds divides the frame into nine equal parts by placing two horizontal and two vertical lines on the frame. The idea is to place your subject or main point of interest along one of these lines or at one of the four intersections.

To turn on the grid overlay on your iPhone camera, go to Settings > Camera and turn on the Grid option. Then, use the lines and intersections as a guide when composing your shots.

3. Experiment with Different Perspectives

One of the best ways to create visually interesting photos is to experiment with different perspectives. This means getting low to the ground, shooting from above, or trying other unconventional angles.

For example, try getting down on your knees to shoot at ground level. This can create a more dynamic and intimate shot, especially if you’re photographing people or animals. Or, try shooting from above to create a different perspective and make your subject appear smaller or more isolated.

4. Use Natural Light

Lighting is one of the most important factors in photography, and natural light is usually the best option. When shooting outside, try to take advantage of the “golden hour” – the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset – when the light is softer and more flattering.

If you’re shooting indoors, try to position your subject near a window or other source of natural light. Avoid using the flash whenever possible, as it can create harsh shadows and wash out the colors in your photos.

5. Take Advantage of Portrait Mode

Portrait mode is a powerful feature that’s available on newer iPhone models. It allows you to create a shallow depth of field effect, which blurs the background and makes your subject stand out.

To use portrait mode, open the Camera app and swipe left until you see the “Portrait” option. Then, simply frame your shot and the iPhone will automatically blur the background.

6. Use HDR Mode for Better Exposure

HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range,” and it’s a feature that can help you capture more detail in your photos, especially in high-contrast situations. When you turn on HDR mode, the iPhone takes multiple shots at different exposures and combines them to create a single, well-exposed image.

By default, iPhone automatically uses HDR when it’s most effective. On some iPhone models, you can manually control HDR instead.
On iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 models, iPhone SE (2nd generation), and iPhone 12 models: Go to Settings > Camera, then turn off Smart HDR. Then from the camera screen, tap HDR to turn it on. You can choose to have HDR automatically enabled, or you can turn it on and off as needed.

7. Edit Your Photos

Editing is a critical part of the photography process, and fortunately, there are many great photo editing apps available for the iPhone. The built-in Photos app has some basic editing tools, including exposure, brightness, contrast, and saturation adjustments. But if you want more advanced editing features, consider downloading a third-party app like Lightroom, Snapseed, or VSCO.

When editing your photos, try not to go overboard with filters and effects. Instead, focus on making subtle adjustments to improve the overall look and feel of the image. For example, you might adjust the exposure to brighten up a dark photo, or increase the saturation to make colors pop.

8. Use Burst Mode for Action Shots

Burst mode is a great feature for capturing action shots, like sports or wildlife photography. When you activate burst mode, the iPhone will take a series of photos in quick succession, allowing you to capture the perfect moment.

To use burst mode, simply press and hold the shutter button. The iPhone will take a series of photos, and you can review them later to choose the best one.

9. Experiment with Live Photos

Live Photos is a feature that captures a short video clip along with your still image. This can be a great way to capture more of the moment, especially for things like moving water, fire, or other dynamic elements.

To take a Live Photo, simply enable the feature by tapping on the Live Photo icon (a series of concentric circles) at the top of the Camera app. Then, take your photo as normal. To view the Live Photo, simply press and hold on the image in the Photos app.

10. Invest in Accessories

Finally, if you’re serious about iPhone photography, consider investing in some accessories to enhance your shots. Some popular options include:

  • Tripod: A tripod can help you stabilize your shots and take longer exposures.
  • Lens attachments: There are many lens attachments available for the iPhone, including wide-angle, telephoto, and macro lenses.
  • Remote shutter release: A remote shutter release can help you avoid camera shake when taking longer exposures.


The iPhone camera is a powerful tool for capturing stunning photos, but it takes some practice and experimentation to master. By getting to know your camera app, using the rule of thirds, experimenting with different perspectives, and taking advantage of features like portrait mode and HDR, you can take your iPhone photography to the next level. And don’t forget to edit your photos and consider investing in accessories to enhance your shots. With these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to capturing stunning photos with your iPhone camera.

By Moses Johnson Managing Editor
Moses Johnson is the Editorial Director of, who has a keen eye for news, rumors, and all the unusual stuff around Apple products. Moses is commonly referred to online as The Professor, with decades of experience in tech under his belt.
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