Unveiling Hidden Gems: Mastering Your iPhone's Camera Like a Pro

When it comes to smartphone photography, iPhones have long led the pack, with a dazzling array of camera features that have made some professional photographers’ jaws drop. Nevertheless, Apple has a curious habit of hiding away some of the camera’s best tricks, so that even longtime iPhone users don’t know their device is capable of fantastic photography effects they’d love to use. Today, we begin our search for those hidden bright spots. We want you to use your iPhone camera to grab images you can be proud of, because the camera in your pocket can take some incredible shots.

Embrace the Speed: Capturing Life in BURST Mode

If you want to freeze the action or capture that perfect expression, then burst mode is the button to embrace. When you hold the shutter button, it just keeps firing and firing, so you don’t miss a thing. To test this photographic rocket launcher, hold the shutter button and swipe it to the left, or hold it down for an iPhone 11 and before. Make sure that you are regularly culling out your captures, so you don’t use up all your space Whoa, did you see that? That’s a hot burst.

Swift to Shoot: Unlocking Your Camera with a Swipe

In photography, timing is everything, and your iPhone registers the need to act quickly by providing a camera shortcut in its control centre. Pick up your device and swipe from the right edge across to the left, and you’re straight in to Camera mode. I won’t repeat what I said above, but equally handy shortcuts to this mode on your iPhone are to hold down the camera icon, or on newer models, the Action button. A swipe is much quicker though for those split-second moments.

Crafting Visual Poetry: The Art of Long Exposures

With long exposures, you can make a scene appear eternal, to give it a sense of fluidity with just a few flicks and taps. Turn on Live Photo, compose your frame, then go into the editor and tap on Long Exposure to turn your waterfall into silk or your passing crowds into a glimmering river of light, to open up the door to a world where time is controlled by you.

Beyond the Touch: Volume Keys as Your Shutter

Because no one can like a blurry picture or an Instagram taken from a weird angle, and because fingers can shake, your iPhone’s volume keys will automatically serve as a makeshift shutter button so you can steady those shots with your whole hand rather than simply pawing away at the screen like some kind of divot-hunting chimpanzee. A longer press on a volume key will let you immediately start filming whatever you’re watching and listening to so you can both record the life of the party and capture its soundtrack. And you can even go back into the settings and tell your phone to put burst mode on the ‘Volume Up’ button for even more action-shot capabilities.

Personalize Your Vision: Customizing Photographic Styles

Photographic Styles act as the brush to your iPhone’s photo palette, encompassing how a photo looks in terms of colour, contrast and tonal richness. Set them once and your iPhone will remember that for every photo you take. The 10 styles in my iPhone – ranging from Vivid to Classic to Cool to Warm – merely provided a starting point. With Montage Photo Editor, I could tweak them upwards or downwards to turn the Tone to simply Ruddy, and the Warmth to All too Warm. I deleted Hyper to create my own styles: Dark with Vivid or Classic, or Classic with Cool or Warm.

Why BURST Still Captures Our Imagination

Burst is a technical expression for an age-old impulse – to arrest the passage of time around us, a mark of what technologist and writer Paul Dourish calls the ‘power of human intention’. It is a creative act, not a mere tool, and its usefulness lies in the open-endedness of its expression. Through composition, a creative user can turn a mere technical feature into something infinite, an endless echo of the potential of their world, and ultimately, express something about the temporality of their experience: a pulse, a swell, the vitality of life itself.

Explaining BURST: The Heart of iPhone Photography

At its heart, burst mode captures everything that makes iPhone photography so seductive. At its root, it embodies the philosophy of the snap. It celebrates the everyday and the fleeting. Capture life, capture it as it unfolds, capture it without staging or cropping – that’s the wireless life that burst mode holds out as a tantalising possibility. Burst mode doesn’t offer its users the chance to shoot numerous images; rather, it provides the rare opportunity to choose the perfect one, a photograph singled out and reinforced from a sea of moments, each frame that much more than a still, each selection a further endorsement of the transformation of the everyday into something extraordinary, of the sacred in the mundane.

With burst mode and all of the other hidden features of your iPhone’s camera, rather than simply taking pictures, you’re documenting experiences. In the words of photographer Alec Soth: you’re photographing ‘the untouched soundtrack of [your] life’. Next time you’re out and about with your iPhone in hand, remember: you have the ability to immortalise the fleeting, to tell your own story and, if you have the inclination and imagination, to explore your own creativity. Break through the smartphone convention and let your iPhone shine a light on the photographer in you.

Jun 09, 2024
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