How to Improve Your iPhoneography


I love to shoot with my iPhone! I bring it with me everywhere and the image quality is surprisingly good. I even have an entire series dedicated to images photographed with it. Here are some tips for how to get better images with your smart phone.

Use Editing Apps but with Caution

I use VSCOcam, Mextures, Matter, and Filmborn to edit my iPhone images. When used right these editing apps can really enhance your images, but some filters can look awful. Most of my iPhoneography will have sharpening and contrast adjustments done in VSCOcam. I personally try to avoid filters that make the colors look unnatural in most cases. In the end your filters should enhance the photo; you can’t save a bad image with a ton of filters.

Realize Your Camera Phone’s Limitations

Smart phones sensors don’t work well in low light. Night shots and indoor images at night probably won’t turn out well when shot on your phone. These will usually result in underexposed noisy images. When shooting with your phone try to stay in well-lit areas.

Another limitation of smart phone cameras is there low dynamic range. In laymen’s terms it can’t keep details in scenes with extreme lights and darks. An example of this would be a landscape with a dark foreground against a bright sky. Your phone’s camera would only be able to retain details in the shy or the foreground. The HDR feature on many smart phones can help with some higher contrast scenes. In many scenarios you’ll only have detail in either the lights or darks. Even lower contrast light ensures details throughout the image. Intentionally letting parts of the image go pure white of pure black can make for interesting images as well.

Zooming on the iPhone 5s is the same as cropping. This cuts down on the quality of the image. Instead of zooming walk closer to your subject if possible. Avoid cropping in to far on the images as well.

Understand Composition

Understanding composition is critical to creating any good image. Avoid distractions in the background. Try having things frame your subject or use leading lines to draw your viewer’s eye to the subject. Do some research on composition before you go out and shoot next.

Find Interesting Subjects

Regardless of your equipment images with interesting subjects always look better. Aim to find interesting subjects.


I experiment with weird abstracted shots all the time. Sometimes these images work and sometimes they don’t. Play around and try to create something unique!

To see my latest iPhoneography follow me on Instagram @ryanwatkinsphotography.


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