Aug 9, 2013

iphone photography... a guide for the everyday mom {#2 :: Maintaining Picture Quality}

When I said this was a Friday series, I never specified what time it would actually be posted on Friday. It's still Friday in my neck of the country, but if you're in a different time zone, you're probably getting this a day late. Better late then never, right? Haha!

Today's tips are all about maintaining picture quality when taking pictures with your iPhone. Your iPhone is more than capable of taking quality pictures, but there are a couple of things you need to remember.

The first tip has to do with the zoom feature on your iPhone camera. I hate to say never, but I'm just going to go ahead and say that you should try to never use that feature. You heard me. Never. You probably weren't expecting that, so let me explain. The second your fingers spread across your iPhone screen to zoom in, you're on your way to grainy, pixilated pictures. The reason is, the iPhone zoom feature in not actually zooming. Instead, it's mimicking a zoom by cropping the portion of the picture you zoomed in to. In order to ensure the best picture quality, let your feet do the zooming--not the iPhone. Don't be afraid to get close to your subject. And if you absolutely cannot get close to you subject, go ahead and take a standard picture and crop it later using a basic photo editing app or software. Trust me, your iPhone can take some pretty awesome close-ups without that useless zoom feature!

The second tip has to do with the flash feature on the iPhone. I won't be as hard on the flash feature because it is definitely more useful than the zoom, but, as a rule of thumb, I try to stay away from the flash as often as possible. Lighting is such an important part of photography that I will devote a whole post to it, but I wanted to mention the flash feature briefly in this post because the quality of your lighting plays a huge part in maintaining the quality of your photo. The default setting on your iPhone is likely set to "auto," which means that your iPhone controls whether or not to use the flash. I highly recommend changing that default setting to "off." Too many times photos are ruined by a harsh flash. Taking control of the flash will lead to better quality photos, and let's just say, "Less is more." Even if you're in dark lighting, go ahead and try to take a picture without the flash. If you're not getting the results you want, you can turn the flash back on, but remember, you run the risk of washing out your subject, getting red eye, and creating a harsh glare. Even the smallest amount of light may be enough to get a great photo in a dark place. Also, a little editing goes a long way in bringing a dark photo a little life. Here are a few examples from my photo library:

Taken with no flash by the light of a fire. Edited a bit in Instagram.
Taken with no flash. Edited a bit in Instagram.

Taken with a flash. Notice the harsh lighting as opposed to the warm lighting in the above pictures. 

Bonus Tip: Have you cleaned your iPhone camera lens lately? If your children handle your iPhone as often as my children handle mine, you may want to give your lens a good wipe with a microfiber cloth or a soft cloth.

Happy Shooting,


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