6 Tips for Taking iPhone Photos

iPhone photo, Face time with a black Angus heiferThe iPhone goes with me just about everywhere. It’s handy for email. Checking the weather. Quick questions for Google. But a lot of the time? I’m using the camera. Are iPhone photos (also known as iPhoneography) real photography?

Yes. They can be. I don’t think iPhones will replace dSLRs, because they can’t offer the capabilities of a professional level Canon or Nikon. But if you’ve heard it said, “The best camera to use is the one you have with you.”, it’s because it is true. The iPhone is about as portable as cameras come. And they are rarely left behind because of all the other things we use them for.

The strength of the iPhone camera is that it forces you to get back to the basics of photography. Forget the zoom; it degrades the quality of the photo in quick order. You get one button to push, and that’s the one snapping the photo. All the rest of the work has to be done before you push that button.

6 Tips for Taking Photos with an iPhone

  1. Composition. Balance your photo. Consider the rule of thirds. I have that grid turned on all the time on my iPhone.
  2. Zoom with your feet. You’ve got two legs. Move them.
  3. Angles. The iPhone is lightweight, easy to hoist above your head or crouch down low. Interesting angles grab attention. Use them to your advantage.
  4. Maneuver until you get the best lighting possible. The iPhone is picky about light. Tilting it a bit can change the exposure. Taking a step back to allow a ray of sun to light your subject can make a photo pop. Indoor shooting is a challenge, especially in poor light. The iPhone’s camera capabilities really shine in natural light settings.
  5. Use both hands. It may seem silly since the iPhone is so small, but you’ll get better photos with the angles you want, the lighting you want and the subject in the proper place if you use one hand to steady the phone and the other to press the shutter button.
  6. Be judicious in editing. I use the PS Express (photoshop) app to edit photos if needed. And due to the iPhone’s limitations, I do use the crop, sharpening and exposure features on a regular basis. But I’d far rather get what I want when I push the shutter button. Editing takes time. I’d rather spend my time creating new things than fixing old things.

Both photos on this page were taken with an iPhone. They haven’t been altered in any way. No crop. No exposure, sharpening or blur effects. With patience and practice, the iPhone camera is useful. And it’s complete gold when you want to crawl up the side of a loading chute to get an aerial view of a pen of calves.
iPhone photo, barb wire fence


  1. I don’t have an iphone, but I love your pictures! It looks like #161 wants your iphone! 🙂


    • Thanks, Shannon! #161 is a curious girl. She was about 5 inches from the phone. While I wrote in terms of iPhone, these tips are applicable to any camera phone or point & shoot camera that doesn’t have as many options as fancy-pants cameras.

  2. Yay! I love this post because I love my EOS camera, but can’t always say that it’s a good idea out in the pastures! So thank you for the tips! Also, I lived in Selah for a short period of time. Right outside of Yakima, no judgement! I also don’t know if you know where Grangeville, ID is but that’s where I was born and my ag life started! Small world! Again, thanks for the awesome tips!

    • You’re welcome, and I do know where Grangeville is. I’ve been through there several times. Very cool! I love my dSLR too. No camera can touch it when it comes to capability, but it sure isn’t as portable as it needs to be for ranch life. And if ya can’t take it with you, well, it won’t be taking any good pictures will it? 😉

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