How do we find the best new restaurant, the perfect outfit to wear on a weekend out, or which city to travel to next? Photos are everywhere: Instagram, subway ads, magazines, you name it. Pick up your aesthetic online with snapping your own, original content. Try our how-to on how to take photos with your iPhone.

Tip #1: Lighting

First and foremost, find your light. As always, natural light is the way to go, but it may not always be available. When there is a gorgeous sun above, recognize how the sun hits your subject. Move around to see which positions emphasize your subject without washing it out. This also applies indoors. Find where the light is and where the shadows are. Do some test shots to see how artificial light affects the photo. Is it better right above? In front? Behind? To the left or right? Play around and see what you think looks best.

Tip #2: Rule of Thirds

Many studies show that having your subject slightly off-centered brings in the audience more. A great way to make sure you’re getting the best placement is to use the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is basically a grid, split up into nine squares. Each intersection is a great placement for the subject. Your iPhone has the rule of thirds option in the settings. To access, click Settings > Photo & Camera > Grid. This way your rule of thirds will always be up and make it that much easier to capture the best shot.

Tip #3: Don’t Use Flash

Unless it’s pitch black, try not to use flash. The flash feature is very harsh, especially on skin tones. Most often than not, it will change the coloring of the subject and will look over-exposed when you go to the editing phase. It’s best to always have the flash off. Pro tip: if you really need some lighting, borrow a friends phone and turn on the flashlight. Place the borrowed phone right above the subject, it will bring a spotlight on it, without the harshness of a flash.

Tip #4: Utilize HDR

When you take photos with bright light but also a dark area, do you find it either extremely dim or over-exposed? HDR, found in your iPhone settings, stands for High Dynamic Range. The range takes better color and detail out of the whole photo and evens them out, so it’s not drastically dark or light, it’s a middle ground. This leaves you with more detail in the whole photo.

Tip #5: Burst Mode

Trying to take a candid shot by taking thirty clicks with your thumb? There’s an easier way! Turn on burst mode, it takes 10 shots every second. Instruct your subject to give a few different angles and poses while burst mode captures them all. Once completed, you will definitely have one (or multiple!) perfectly candid pictures.

Tip #6: Move around rather than zoom

Zoom on the iPhone is not the best. Really, zoom on any device is not the best. Instead of ending up with a pixelated shot, move closer to your subject. If this means walking forward, standing on a chair, kneeling, whatever it takes, do it! You’ll end up with a higher quality photo in the end, and, you will learn more for your own photography skills.

Tip #7: Focus

If you notice that yellow square popping up when you open your photo app, that’s the focus setting. Your iPhone will try to figure out what the main subject is in your photo, but if there is a lot of detail in it, it can be hard for your phone to find it. Give it a hand by simply clicking on your subject, this will give the best focus and really bring the most detail to your subject.

Tip #8: Self Timer

Sometimes your phone shifts once you take the actual picture. You set up the perfect subject, focus in on it, and it comes out blurry. It may be because when you actually go in to take the photo, your thumb can shift the phone. To avoid any blurs, set a self-timer. Once you choose your focus, you can click then make sure the focus is still where it’s supposed to be.

Tip #9: App Editors

Once you get your perfect photo, it’s time to edit!! There are some great tools on the iPhone photography app already, but if you want to step it up one notch there are great apps out there. Our favorites are A Color Story, VSCO, Adobe Lightroom and Snapseed.

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