iPhone camera capturing a man's silhouette in a sunset background

How to Use the Camera App: Your Guide to iPhone Photography

Imagine going to an iconic place and suddenly witnessing a moving, picturesque scene. Your first instinct will tell you to angle a phone or a DSLR camera and shoot away. But what if after going home, you got nothing but dull images? Aside from a broken lens, there’s nothing more frustrating for a photographer and nothing more heartbreaking for an aspiring one, than this. Now what?

Maybe your device is getting old. Or your techniques are getting old. Either way, something needs to be changed. How will your photos go from bland to fascinating, like the viral ones you see on social media? Read on for new insights, tips, and tricks about iOS photography, and get ready to transform your photos—from lifeless to life-like!


What is iOS Photography?

iPhone photography, or iPhoneography as mobile photographers like to call it, is the art of taking captivating photos using an iPhone. Unlike the conventional method with a DSLR, iPhone photography maximizes the use of iPhone camera features to capture still images. It also uses iOS apps and built-in editing features to enhance photos instead of post-processing them on a computer.

Reasons Why You Should Try Mobile Photography With iPhone



What instantly pops into your mind when professional photography enters the conversation? We bet it's the same for most of us, if not all—DSLR. We take them as equivalents. The image quality is definitely unparalleled and stunning. But did you know that something comes nearly as close to a DSLR in taking great images? It's the iPhone! You can take phenomenal pictures of scenes and moments that you wish to keep or share with the world and enhance it more using the iPhone's camera features. You can also use editing apps that are available and easily accessible in the App Store. It’s one of the best go-to photography gears if you’re looking for convenience and quality in one. Yes! iPhoneography is real and serious.

Here are several reasons why you must try taking photos with your iPhone Camera app:


  • Convenient, accessible, and discreet, anytime, anywhere, making it perfect for street photographers
  • Consistent feature updates and improvements on camera quality
  • Easier to edit and manipulate photos on iPhone with readily available image-enhancing apps within the device
  • Multiple camera modes, and photographic styles
  • You can use it as is to take outstanding pictures or use accessories to improve the angle and other elements of your shot
  • Fast computational power and processing of photos

    How to Use the iPhone Camera App


    If you think the iPhone is all about mirror selfies, the following Camera app hacks will have you thinking again. Get ready to maximize your iPhone camera capabilities and confidently share to the world your Insta-worthy shots.

    Launching the Camera App

    The camera icon on your iPhone launches the Camera app. You have three ways to access it quickly:

    1. Wake up your lock screen and swipe left to access the Camera app. On supported models, you can also tap and hold the Camera button at the bottom of your lock screen to open the camera.
    2. On your home screen, tap and hold the Camera app. You can choose from Photo, Portrait, or Video modes and switch between the back and front-facing cameras.
    3. Access the Control Center by swiping down the top right corner of your screen. Then, tap on the Camera button to open the Camera app. If you're within an app, like Messages, and you need to access the camera quickly, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open the Control Center. From there, tap the Camera button.

    iPhone Camera Features

    Getting familiar with the Camera app’s features is the first step to achieving quality, meaningful photos.

    1. Basic Features. You'll see these features at the top of your iPhone screen when the camera is active:


    • Live Photo

    It creates a loop animation of the photo you take by capturing a few moments before and after you snap a still image.


    • Timer

    A timer allows you to set a specific countdown or time delay in capturing an image, so you can have time to stabilize the camera before the camera shutter closes.


    • Flash

    You can enable the LED flashes at the back and screen of your camera to brighten a dark scene.


    • Filters

    The Filters button on the Camera app consists of three overlapping circles on your screen. Click this to browse and apply more or less 10 filters to enhance the lighting and overall appearance of the image you've taken. The viewfinder on your iPhone will help you see the photo preview with the selected filter.

    2. Camera Modes. You'll see the different camera modes at the bottom of your iPhone screen when the camera is on.

    • Time-Lapse

    Time-Lapse manipulates the number of frame rates that your camera shoots to produce creative shots. With this mode, your iPhone camera shoots about one to two frames per second and allows it to stitch a time-lapse video.


    • Slo-Mo

    In Slo-Mo, your iPhone camera shoots at a high frame per second (fps) rate. This mode helps you avoid shutter lag and background noise in your photos and is a good option for taking action snaps.


    • Pano

    The Panorama or Pano mode on your iPhone allows you to capture a wide-angle landscape for a whole view of a scene. That’s why if you need to capture an entire scenery or highlight a subject using the background, this is the perfect camera mode for you. This is also the reason why Panorama is one of the best techniques for outdoor shoots.


    • Portrait

    Use the Portrait mode to give a depth of field effect to subjects in your photos. Newer iPhone models integrate the Bokeh effect on Portrait mode to blur the background and lights and bring more focus to your photo subject—perfect for leveled-up selfies!


    • Video

    This mode allows you to record a scene or event, complete with live images and audio levels you can adjust as you record.


    • Square

    In Square mode, the Camera app limits the frame to a square so that when you take a photo, your image is optimized for many social media apps. It makes your photos Instagram-ready.

    Basic iPhone Camera Techniques, Tips, and Tricks


    Now that you already know the basics, it's time to learn some simple camera tricks to start your mobile photography journey. Here are five useful iPhone camera tricks you can readily apply after reading this article.

    1. Take shots in Burst mode.

    When shooting a moving subject, like taking pictures of a sports scene, use the Burst mode. It lets you capture multiple high-speed shots as your subject moves. It snaps many images in one click so you can choose the perfect photo from the scene.

    2. Snap photos while recording a QuickTake video.

    The QuickTake feature lets you record a video while simultaneously taking still photos. Holding the Shutter button in Photo Mode allows you to record a QuickTake video, and sliding it to the right allows for hands-free recording. This feature started with the iPhone XR, and is also available on later iPhone models.

    3. Use the Camera Grid.

    Ever heard of the rule of thirds in photography? It is a basic composition technique that places the subject in the left or right third of the frame to create a pleasing composition. The Camera Grid on your Camera app guides you in applying this. To enable the Camera Grid, go to Settings from the home screen, tap Photos and Camera, then select the Grid option. You’ll see the Grid once you open the Camera app.

    4. Make Use of the iPhone Photographic Styles.

    The iPhone Photographic Styles are five presets you can use to fine-tune the look of your images in the Camera app. You can choose from these options: Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Warm, Cool, and Standard. You can customize these by adjusting the Tone and Warmth controls. These presets apply only to the iPhone 13 lineup and iPhone SE. If you're an iPhone 13 user, you can find more customization options for lighting, exposure, and shortcut buttons by exploring the iPhone 13 camera settings.

    5. Switch between lenses.

    All iPhone models have several lenses if you consider both the front and rear cameras. All of these lenses bring different perspectives to the photos you take. In an iPhone 13, you can use the Ultra Wide camera to practice macro photography. Its advanced lens and auto-focus let you capture clear close-ups. The same lens allows you to take macro videos, including time-lapse and slow motion. Moreover, you can apply the Lens Correction feature to your selfies and photos taken using the Ultra Wide lens to make them look more natural.

    1, 2, 3—Click, Snap, Take A Shot!

    Ready to take creative snapshots? Put those iPhone lenses to the test and start to click, snap, and take your shot! Share your creative photos by tagging Power Mac Center's social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and mention #PowerMacCenter on TikTok with Shot on iPhone in your captions.

    Power Mac Center offers a wide range of products to support your mobile photography journey. Whether you're a hobbyist or a professional photographer, you can find iPhones with stunning camera lenses and accessories from our Web Store.

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