Photography, Tutorials

How to use your iPhone for Photography

A cat shot with an iPhone.

The majority of people on this planet have a phone and pretty much all of these phones have a camera built in so, here we will talk about how we can use the embedded camera to take awesome photos. I will be focusing on an iPhone 7 because that is what I have but the same principles pretty much apply to most smartphone cameras.

A portrait of a girl looking out into the snow covered mountains
A portrait of a girl looking out into the snow covered mountains

A Quick Recap

We know photographs require light, some kind of composition and a steady hand.  Follow the links to read more, but these three things here will set you up for a nice photo.  A fourth thing could be a plane ticket to Iceland to photo a nice geyser but that is a nice accessory (one day – in my dreams hehe).

We will assume that we have no apps installed to manipulate the inbuilt camera and no add-on lenses, just the raw phone, and camera.

iPhone and the Hidden Grid

Is there a grid for the camera so we can get an idea of our rule of thirds? Yes, there certainly is.  Go into ‘Settings’ -> ‘Camera’ and there it is. Turn it on, close the settings panel and test the camera.  One useful grid to help with composition.

A mountainscape. pay attention to the rule of thirds here
A mountainscape. pay attention to the rule of thirds here

The Technical Bit

The aperture on the iPhone is huge,f1.8 which means a lot of light gets in.  This, in turn, means that the shutter speed can be slower thus reducing the chance of a blurred photo.  What this does not mean is that the effort for a sharp photo can be neglected.  Always support and keep any camera as still as possible.

Let Us Try

The grid is on, we are outside and we want to try our hand at a few shots.  Remember, what looks good on a little phone may not be quite what you expect when you look again on your PC.

A lovely horizon complete with snow capped mountains
A lovely horizon complete with snow-capped mountains


The list items here are very similar to what you would do with a full DSLR camera, that is because the same guide/rules apply.  There is no reason why a camera photo should be any worse than a DSLR photo.  Composition, light and a steady hand.  Just because it is your phone does not mean that the rules for taking photos do not apply.  Assuming you want good photos.

What iPhone cameras are particularly good at is the macro shots, those close-ups of objects.  great for posting on Instagram.


Cameras on smartphones are now usually high quality.  They really can take amazing photos, comparable to a DSLR camera.  It is the operator that will need to keep up with the camera.  The rules for composition, light, stability still apply to a camera phone.  A little tripod could be a good investment for those really sharp shots.

Follow the links out of this page for articles on lighting, composition and general tips.


All photos in the article were shot using an iPhone.

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28 thoughts on “How to use your iPhone for Photography

  1. Great tips Alan. The grid feature is invaluable and I use it a lot. I have a Samsung which takes good enough pictures for snaps, I bring out my proper camera when it’s needed, but I confess I do most of my blog photography with my iPad. The camera is brilliant and I use an app called Snapseed to fix any major problems.

  2. These are really great tips! I’m going to check if there is a grid setting on my phone! Some of my favourites photos are from my phone actually! Phone cameras have increased in quality so much havent they!

  3. I just got a iPhone 7 Plus and the camera on it is absolutely amazing! It saves me from carrying my DSLR or mirrorless camera when we go hiking on travel locally, and I still get good enough photos for my blog. The best camera is the one you have with you as they say!

  4. I really enjoy your writing, this iphone related article is easy to understand so help me and increase my knowledge about this, thanks for sharing with us, I wait for the next update.

  5. Great to find this tutorial here! I always use the grid myself without knowing why I do it. I mean, I get good pictures off with the use of the grid but never did understood why it comes out the way it is, until I read this. So, apparently, I wasn’t so lucky, there was really a good explanation after all. thanks for sharing!

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