Painted Ladies in San Francisco

How to take photos on the iPhone camera

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Taking a photograph on the iPhone 6
Taking a photograph on the iPhone 6

Opening The Camera

To open your camera push either the home button or the sleep/wake button.

Your screen will turn on displaying the camera button in the bottom right.

Slide the camera button up to open camera.

This is the fastest way to get to your camera, which is important, so that you don’t miss the shot.

Camera Orientation

Rotate the phone to the left for the default orientation.

Use this as your standard so that your video is never shot upside down.

You’ll only notice that after you import it to a computer.

You are able to shoot video in portrait mode, but unless it is a throw away video, don’t.

Click to enlarge


Compose your photo; What is the subject of your photo? Is the background distracting?

Just a couple of things to think about before you click the shutter.

Click to enlarge

Adjust The Settings

One thing that will assist you in composing a nice photo is turning on the Grid in Settings.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Go to Settings > Photos & Camera > Grid and turn it on.

The Grid setting may help you line up your shot for Rule of Thirds composition.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

While you are in settings, you can also elect to record your videos at 60FPS.

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I also highly suggest turning on the Keep Normal Photo selection, to give you more options, and offer less unexpected disappointment.

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Automatic Face Detection

The camera also features Automatic Face Detection which comes in extremely handy when photographing more than one person.

The Automatic Face Detection balances the exposure across up to 10 faces based on everyone’s facial tones so that everyone can be seen reasonably well.

Focus & Exposure

When you want to focus on a specific area in your photograph, touch the screen on that area and the focus will adjust to that area.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

You can also hold down on an area and the focus and exposure will lock to that area.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

With the focus locked, you can slide the exposure (sun icon to right of focus square) up for a brighter image, or down for a darker image.

The exposure slider has an 8-stop range from brightest to darkest.

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Technical Stuff

A little about the camera:

  • The iPhone 6 camera has a 4.15mm lens, which has an almost equal angle of view as a 30mm lens on a standard full frame camera, a 19mm lens on an APS-C camera, or a 15mm lens on a Micro Four Thirds.
  • The aperture is fixed at f/2.2 giving you a nice wide aperture for low light.
  • The ISO has a range of 32-2500 which is reasonable.
  • The photo size is 8MP, 3264×2448 pixels with an aspect ratio of 4:3
    • Note: A standard camera aspect ratio is 2:3
    • You could print up to 20”x30” in size, with good quality.
  • The pano photo size is up somewhere around 12,000×3000 pixels or more, depending on how well you take the shot.
    • You could print that around 16”x60” with good quality.
  • The video size is 720p or 1080p at an aspect ratio of 16:9

Note: Based on iPhone 6 with iOS 8.4, changes will happen with new phones, and iOS.

Homes on the north coast of San Francisco
Homes on the north coast of San Francisco

Photo Mode

The photo feature is basically the same as most Point & Shoot cameras, with a couple of bonus options.

You have: a view finder (in this case a digital screen), shutter button, focus adjustment, flash, filters, timer, and an easy way to point the camera at yourself!

When you are photographing your subject, make sure it is your subject that can be seen!

If your background is too bright the automatic exposure will want to darken the whole photo, taking your subject in to a black hole.

Don’t let it!

Take charge of your pictures and capture what you see!


Photo Mode Features:

  • Display
    • 4:3 Aspect Ratio
  • Effects – Tap for live preview, touch one to select
    • Mono
    • Tonal
    • Noir
    • Fade
    • None
    • Chrome
    • Process
    • Transfer
    • Instant
  • Flash
    • Auto
    • On
    • Off
  • Hdr
    • Auto
    • On
    • Off
  • Timer
    • Off
    • 3s
    • 10s
  • Selfie – 1.2MP 1280×960
    • Disabled:
      • Flash
      • HDR
      • Pano
      • Slo-mo
    • Recent/Gallery
      • Tap to enter
      • Tap Done to exit
    • Capture Button
    • Tap to Capture
    • If you hold:
      • Burst Mode
        • 10 Frames Per Second


Time-lapse Mode

In this mode you will be able to speed up time!

As you record, the camera will take a frame or two per second, then put them all together at the end for a nice fast motion video.

Recording speed:

  • Less than 10 minutes, 2 frames per second, 15x normal.
  • Between 10 and 20 minutes, 1 frame per second, 30x normal.
  • Between 20 and 40 minutes, 1 frame every 2 seconds, 60x normal.
  • Between 40 and 80 minutes, 1 frame every 4 seconds, 120x normal.
  • Between 80 and 160 minutes, 1 frame every 8 seconds, 240x normal.

One key for Time-Lapse video is a stable surface, even if that surface is moving.

Play around with clouds first, since they are the easiest.


Time-Lapse Mode Features:

  • Disabled:
    • Effects
    • Flash
    • HDR
    • Timer

Time-lapse frame rate source:


Slo-Mo Mode:

Slow Motion video is just fun!

Especially on the iPhone!

With slow motion video you take the video just like you would a normal video, however, the camera is acting very different.

While you shoot, the camera is recording at a quick 240 frames per second!

That is 8 times faster than standard video!

So, do the math, your video will play back at a rate of up to 8 times slower than normal.

This is great for fast moving, or action shots.

The best part of this, is that after you shoot the video, you tell the camera which part of the video you want in slow motion.

Just click on the Recent Photo box at the bottom left of your camera.

The top progression line is for the overall video.

The bottom line indicates where the slow motion starts (first slider), and where the slow motion stops (second slider).

You can move each slider to position where you want slow motion.

For very precise start/stop points, hold on one of the sliders and it will zoom in on the slo-mo progression bar.

You can preview the video by dragging the top progression bar all the way to the left, then press play.


Slo-Mo Mode Features:

  • Video Size
    • 720p
  • Front LED Light
    • Auto
    • On
    • Off
  • Frames Per Second (FPS)
    • 240
    • 120
  • Disabled:
    • Selfie – Sorry, no Slo-Mo duck face


Video Mode

The first thing you will notice when you switch to video mode is that unlike Photo Mode, your entire screen is being used.

That is because the camera aspect ratio switches from 4:3 to 16:9, which happens to be the same aspect ratio as your iPhone screen.

That is rather convenient wouldn’t you say?

In Video Mode you have the same focus & exposure features that you have in Photo Mode.

For indoor video I recommend using the exposure lock feature to avoid your video going black when you pan past bright windows or light bulbs.

Keep in mind; When recording video at the standard 30 frames per second, 1 minute of video can be 740MB big!

If you know you will be shooting video, keep some space on your phone ready.

If you have 10GB free, you can get around 14 minutes of video.


Video Mode Features:

– 1080p HD 30/60FPS 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 3x Zoom

  • Quality
    • 1080p HD Video
    • 30 or 60 frames per second (30 is fine, unless you are shooting semi-pro video
    • 16:9 Aspect Ratio (widescreen)
    • 3x Pinch Zoom (use only if necessary, degrades quality)
  • Front LED Light
    • Auto
    • On
    • Off
  • Run-Time
    • Hour:Minute:Second
  • Selfie – 720p HD
    • Disabled:
      • LED Light
    • Recent/Gallery
    • Record
      • Tap Start, Tap Stop
      • If you hold
        • Hold before start, starts when you let go
        • Hold to stop, stops when you let go
      • Press the white shutter button in the lower right hand corner while recording to capture still photos at the same time. The photos will have a 16:9 aspect ratio.


Square Mode

Basically does anything the standard Photo option does, just squarier.

If you happen to shoot in only square format, like Instagram or a Medium Format 6×6 camera, then you will appreciate this.


Square Mode Features:

  • Same features as Photo Mode, just in a square 1:1 aspect ratio


Pano Mode

A small image thumbnail, an arrow, and a line are displayed on the screen.

You now have the option to lock the exposure by holding on the screen, although, I do not find that it is necessary.

Press the shutter button on the furthest left edge that you want to capture.

Pan the camera to the right, while keeping the arrow aligned on the line.

If the arrow dips down, tilt your phone back.

If the arrow is above the line, tilt your phone forward.

The more accurately you keep the arrow on the line, the larger, and sharper your image will be.

You also want to move very slow and steady.

If you want to pan from the right instead, simply tap the arrow.

If you are on a boat with waves rocking you back and forth, I would avoid using Pano.

There will be black spots of missing data on the top and/or bottom if you move the arrow off the line too much.


Pano Mode Features:

  • Portrait Mode Only
  • Up to 43MP
  • Disabled:
    • Effects
    • Flash
    • HDR
    • Timer

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small monetary reimbursement if you make a purchase using this link.

Royalty Free Stock Images

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