Learn Hidden iPhone Camera Features

Learn Hidden iPhone Camera Features

Did you know you can control focus, change exposure or capture action with your iPhone?

In my post I will share how to do all of these things, along with a few other creative tips I’ve come across over the past year.

Utilizing Camera Features

Many people don’t realize that you can control focus on an iPhone. Just compose your photo, then simply tap on whatever you want in focus and notice a square pops up. Now the focused is set. If you focus on the foreground, whatever is in the background may be out of focus depending on how close you are to your subject. Or visa versa. If you would like to lock these settings in for more images, just tap and hold until the square flickers. When releasing, you will notice the AE/AF Lock indicator appears on the screen.

To change the exposure while taking a photo, first tap on the image to focus, then notice an exposure slider appears with a sun. Using your fingertip, slide the sun up or down to change exposure. If you’d like to lock in the exposure, you can do this when you focus, as I mentioned above. This will lock both exposure and focus at the same time.

Burst mode is an iPhone camera feature.  While using burst, you can take more than ten photos per second.  In earlier iPhones, you can activate this by holding down the shutter button.  From the 11 series iPhones, swipe left on the shutter button and hold to shoot.

Getting Creative

If you have an iPhone 7 Plus or above, you should have portrait mode. The photo at the top of the page was taken using portrait mode. To access this mode, open your camera app.  Then under the image, you will see “PHOTO” is highlighted.  Place your finger there and drag to the left until “PORTRAIT” is highlighted.  Some of the newer iPhones will allow you to change the f-stop.  Look for the “f” icon in the upper right corner of your screen, then tap on it. Using the slider below the photo, click and drag to the right for more background blur.  If you do not have this feature, you can try to do it after the photo is taken, in editing mode.  Some of the earlier phones (such as iPhone 8) have this option. One other fun feature that’s new to portrait mode is High Key Mono, which is similar to Stage Light and Stage Light Mono. If you’re not familiar with Stage Light, it simulates a studio photo taken against a black background. Stage Light Mono is the same, but in black and white and the newest mode, High Key Mono is similar, but uses a white background instead.

There is also an option for slow shutter.  For example, have you seen the photos where the water looks really smooth?  This is accomplished using a slow shutter and a steady hand or tripod. To enable slow shutter on the iPhone 6X and above, open the camera app and select Live in the upper right corner (icon with concentric circles).  Then select the upward arrow in the center top of the screen and notice some icons now appear at the bottom of the screen.  Look for the timer icon and select it. Then press 3s and take your photo.  There is a choice for 10s, but I found that the 3s worked better for me.  If you happen to have a tripod for your iPhone, use it.  If not, hold your phone very still.  After the photo has been taken, open it in the photos app and swipe up on it to reveal effects.  Then swipe left until you see the Long Exposure effect.  Select it and you’re done. If you don’t like it, you can always revert back to the original.

For the iPhone 11 and above, there has been an improvement with the night mode feature. This mode improves brightness and reduces image noise. Night mode appears automatically activate when the lighting conditions call for it. Or you can enable it by tapping the moon icon at the top of the camera app.
To turn it off, slide the slider under the image all the way to the left.

I hope you learned something new about your iPhone camera. For more info about Melissa Hay Photography, see my about page.