8 iPhone Camera Settings You Must Master to Take Better Photos

Think you already know everything about the iPhone camera?

Well, if you’re a professional photographer who loves to fiddle with settings, that might be the case. For everyone else, there’s always something new you can learn about photography.

So if you’d like to become an iPhone power user, keep reading. We’re going to introduce you to several iPhone camera settings you need to know about.


1. Preserve Settings

Do you have a favorite filter or camera mode? If so, it’s frustrating to have to select it afresh every time you open your camera app. By the time you’ve got your camera set up, the fleeting moment you wanted to capture could have vanished forever.

The trick is to use the iPhone’s Preserve Settings feature.

To set it up, open the Settings app and navigate to Camera > Preserve Settings. You have three options to choose from: Camera Mode (for example, video or square), Filter, and Live Photo.

The options in the Camera may vary slightly depending on your iPhone model, but Apple includes brief descriptions beneath them to help you out if that’s the case.

2. Enable Grid Lines

Most people who enjoy photography are familiar with the Rule of Thirds. It’s one of the essential rules to follow when you’re composing a photograph.

Related: How to Use the Rule of Thirds in Photography

Put simply, it dictates that you should place the subject of a shot in one of the four intersections of lines on a 3×3 grid.

However, in order to get the most out of the rule, you’ll need to enable an on-screen grid so you can see the four intersections. Gridlines are also useful for other composition issues, such as keeping the horizon level or making sure walls and buildings are at precisely 90 degrees

To turn these gridlines on, go to Settings > Camera > Grid and slide the toggle into the On position.

3. Burst Mode

Have you ever tried to take a picture of a fast-moving object on your iPhone?

Often, the object in question is long gone before your phone can process the image. And even if you manage to get the shot, your subject will often be blurry and distorted.

The solution is to use Burst Mode. This takes a rapid-fire series of shots that’ll give you a selection of photos to choose from. You can keep the best and discard the rest.

To use Burst Mode, go to Settings > Camera and enable Use Volume Up for Burst. Then keep your finger pressed on the Volume Up button while taking a shot. Burst Mode will automatically engage and continue until you release your finger.

For more details on this mode, take a look at how to take, view, and share burst photos on iPhone.

4. Lock the Focus and Exposure

If you want to take the quality of your photographs up a notch, you’ll need to start experimenting with focus and exposure. It’s impossible to consistently take professional-grade snaps without having at least a basic understanding of how the two functions work. Failure to learn will ruin your smartphone photography.

In simple terms, exposure refers to how much light reaches the phone’s electronic image sensor, while focus determines the sharpness of a photo.

On your iPhone’s camera, you can manually lock both values. This means you can customize your shots more effectively; you won’t have to worry about the app automatically overriding you.

To manually lock focus and exposure, open the Camera app and tap and hold on your photo’s focal point. After a couple of seconds, you’ll see the AE/AF Lock banner pop up at the top of the screen. To unlock it again, tap anywhere on the screen.

5. Take Advantage of the iPhone Camera Timer

The timer is perhaps one of the most underused iPhone camera settings.

If you enjoy taking selfies, it’s the perfect tool. Instead of trying to do acrobatics with your arm to fit everyone in the shot, you can use a nearby ledge, line up the photo, and still have plenty of time to get yourself into position.

To use the timer, tap on the Arrow icon in the bar at the top of the camera window, then hit the Stopwatch button that appears at the bottom. You have the choice of a three or 10-second timer. Make your selection and compose your image. The timer won’t start until you press the shutter button.

6. Mute the Camera Noise

It’s not clear why phone manufacturers think we want to hear a fake camera shutter noise every time we take a photo. It’s more annoying than anything else.

Note: Some countries, like Japan and South Korea, do not allow you to mute this noise. In such regions, following these instructions will have no impact.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to turn off the noise permanently. Instead, you have two ways to prevent the sound. You can either use the Mute switch on the side of your device, or you can use the Volume buttons to turn the volume off completely.

If you use the latter, you need to do it before you open the Camera app since the Volume buttons will take a photo in the app.

7. Change the Exposure Bias

Earlier, we explained how you could manually lock the exposure to prevent your device from automatically overriding it. But how can you change the exposure bias?

It’s easy. To begin, open the Camera app and tap anywhere on the screen to bring up the focus point.

Alongside the focus point, you’ll see a sun icon. Tap and hold on the Sun icon, then slide it up and down to adjust the bias as you desire. You can choose anything from -8 to +8 f-stops.

8. Enable Geo-Location on Your Photos

Are you a traveler? If so, you might find it useful to tag your photos with the location at which you took them. It’ll help you stay on top of all your memories in the years to come.

Your iPhone lets you turn on the geotagging, but it’s not immediately obvious where to find the setting as it’s not in the Camera app nor the Camera settings menu.

Instead, you need to head to the Privacy menu. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Camera and select While Using the App.

Remember, you can turn this feature on and off at your leisure without affecting location data that your phone has already attributed to existing photos.

Learn How to Take the Perfect iPhone Photo

Hopefully, the settings and tricks we’ve covered introduced you to some iPhone camera features that you weren’t aware of previously.

While it’s all well and good being an expert in the Camera settings menu, that won’t get you very far in the real world. The only way to really supercharge your photo skills is to get out there and practice—so, what are you waiting for?

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