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How To Use iPhone Camera

Updated on April 1, 2013

Most of the photos I have in my blogs are taken from an iPhone camera. I'm using an iPhone 4s. Given proper lighting, I'd say they are worthy of several pins in Pinterest. While the iPhone is a bit costly compared to other smartphones, its camera features do make a good argument when it comes to the crunch.

If you're thinking of buying a phone; and you're looking for one with good camera features, I would actually recommend Apple's iPhone. It's one of the best things I love about my unit.

Features I like on iPhone 4s camera

Back camera : 8-megapixel iSight camera
Front camera: 0.3 MP VGA 30 FPS (480p)
Has facial recognition for still images
Has auto-focus
Tapped to focus
Has LED flash
Has HDR imaging

iPhone's Back Camera is Worth the Phone

For a phone, the camera lens installed in iPhone 4, 4s and 5 are quite impressive. I'm talking about the back camera, of course. The front camera can take VGA-quality photos. Fairly ok, but the quality of the back camera far exceeds it. If you're an avid fan of taking photos of your meals as if it's your last, taking shots of a scenic location or having impromptu photo-shoots, iPhone 4 and higher generations can provide you with satisfying images.

Beside is a clear sample of a photo of my egg omelet while lunching. No edits.

If You'd Buy a Smartphone,

Would You Care For Its Camera Features?

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iPhone Camera's Notable Features


High dynamic range imaging enables iPhone photography to capture the contrast between light and dark shades at a given angle. The photo shot with the HDR feature of the iPhone camera depicts a scenery as how it is actually seen by the naked eyes. It tries to, at least. Basically the iPhone HDR feature provides you with the underexposed, overexposed and the normal exposed sides of a photo.

In the photo below, I instructed the iPhone lens to focus on the cup (particularly on the "Green" word) in taking the shot.

See the differences in the light exposure of the 2 images below. The one on top (HDR version) shows a clearer image of the glass on top of the printer. The normal photo however, only captures the brightness of that entire side.

Notice any differences? One is more vivid than the other.

HDR image, 1.8MB
HDR image, 1.8MB | Source
Normal image, 1.6MB
Normal image, 1.6MB | Source

When to Use HDR Imaging Feature?

While HDR feature of the iPhone camera provides a more realistic photo compared to the normal one, I don't always use it.

Here are the main reasons why:

1. Takes longer time to save an image. Unlike the normal mode iPhone shots, you'll need to wait for a few seconds before you see the HDR version of the image you took.

2. Consumes a lot of space. When you shoot with an HDR, iPhone gives you the normal image AND the HDR version. That's twice the space in your memory bank.

3. Not all shots need to be HDR. HDR-worthy images include outdoor shots; or colorful scenery with a lot of contrasting colors. Moving objects are not worthy of HDR, too; since the iPhone camera is not (yet) capable of capturing action shots.

Consider the photos below. You can hardly see any difference between the 2. Since the photos are not against the light (as opposed to the 2 above); the HDR image is very much similar to its normal version.

See how the 2 images have insignificant differences?

HDR image. 2.1MB
HDR image. 2.1MB | Source
Normal image. 1.9MB
Normal image. 1.9MB | Source

Panoramic View.

You can take photo of a wide landscape or a very big group picture with an iPhone. Its camera, just like most professional digital camera, has a panoramic feature. To enable the panoramic view, go to camera mode, click Options, Panorama, then start taking the photo.

Panoramic views are best taken with a steady hand. I suggest using a stand to make sure that the photo has a clean look. I rarely use the panoramic feature of the iPhone; but, it's always good to know that it's there when the situation calls for it.

Look for a casing with a wide slot for the iPhone camera and its flash.
Look for a casing with a wide slot for the iPhone camera and its flash. | Source

Flash feature.

Notice from the photo above that iPhone's camera has a On/Off flash feature. If you're taking photos at night time, simply turn it On IF you are not going to enable the HDR feature. If you do, the flash will automatically turn OFF.

Also, here's another thing about using the flash of an iPhone camera. The iPhone casing you are using can also affect your photo, especially if it's taken at night or dark scenese. See the photos on the right? The Otterbox casing will not affect the quality of photos with flash; unlike the other 2 beside it.

How to Use iPhone camera in Taking Photos?

1. Go to the Camera icon. There is a short-cut to go to camera mode if your phone is locked. Simply press the Home button and slide the camera icon upwards. Go ahead and try it.

2. When you're on the camera mode, choose a subject that you want to take a photo of.

3. Focus on that by tapping the object on the screen where you want the camera to focus on. There's a big difference in the photo imaging when you tap the screen, believe me.

4. Press the shoot button on the top of the home button.

5. To view the photo, click the icon on the lower left side of the screen.

Tap to Focus Feature of iPhone Camera

This image focuses on the headband. Notice how the post-it is a bit blurry.
This image focuses on the headband. Notice how the post-it is a bit blurry. | Source
This image focuses on the post-it. Notice how the headband is a bit blurry.
This image focuses on the post-it. Notice how the headband is a bit blurry. | Source
Step 1
Step 1 | Source
Step 2
Step 2 | Source
Step 3
Step 3 | Source

How to Make a Screenshot With an iPhone?

When taking shots of the world around you, iPhone creates a JPEG image. The file may be a few hundred KB up to thousands (MB). When you take a photo of your screen, though; the image created is a PNG file with fewer bytes, usually hundreds.

How to make a screenshot:

  • Press the home button AND the ON/OFF button at the top right of the phone.


  • Use the Assistive Touch - Go to Device, ...More, and press Screenshot. (See the instructions at the right side.

Assistive Touch in iPhone devices are available since iOS 5 was released. The latest iOS version as of the writing of this hub is 6.1.3. The Assistive Touch enables the Apple user to navigate the device without actually touching the unit's physical hardware (i.e., home button below the screen, ON/OFF button on the upper right side; and the mute switch and volume buttons located at the left side of the Apple unit). As a user, I find it so cool that my device will not depreciate or wear out by pressing these buttons over and over and over.

To enable the Assistive Touch:

Go to Settings, Accessibility, Assistive Touch and slide the switch to ON.


How to Use iPhone camera in Taking Videos?

Recording videos using the iPhone is easy too; whether using the front or the back camera. iPhone generates a High Definition1080p video images of up to 30 frames per second with audio. That's a good deal for a smartphone.

To record a video:

1. Go to the Camera icon. Again, you can use the short-cut I showed you above.

2. Slide from Camera to Video mode on the lower right side of the screen. The screen will adjust to Video mode and the Camera button will change to a Record On/Off button. You can switch from back to front camera using the icon on the upper right side.

3. Press the red Record button to begin the video; and the same button to end. You will notice a timer on the upper right side as you record.

Among the smartphones, iPhone 4s (and high generation/s) and Samsung Galaxy SII (and high generation/s) are my top 2 choices.

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    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks rajan! I hope she finds this one helpful with her phone.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Wonderful and useful hub. I'll be sending a link to this hub to my daughter who has an iPhone. She'd love this. Thanks for sharing.

      Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      That is so true, avian. Thanks for your comment.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Oh, that's very neat. Thanks, rtalloni.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Glad to help, moonlake.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      thanks anglnwu. I'm glad you liked it.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks for your comment, vandynegl. I appreciate your comments.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I have seen some very good quality photos on friend's iPhones, which really impresses me. Technology has come a long way in a handheld device such as these.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for this look at using the iPhone camera! Pinning to my Photography Tips and iStuff boards.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      You have given me information on here that I did not know about my phone. I'm heading off to try them. Vote up and shared.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 5 years ago

      Thanks, now, I think I've a better understanding of how my iphone camera works. Detailed information. Rated up.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 5 years ago from Ohio Valley

      Hi beingwell! What a great, informative article! I do not have an iPhone, but I found that the features that you described are amazing! My smartphone doesn't have these neat features; I found that the pictures you took of the cup were really interesting too! I like that you can fade out background images. Good info!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Thanks for your comment careermommny. I hope you would be enjoying your camera even more.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      beingwell, this is such a detailed article. I have the iPhone but just use the camera's basic features. I knew there was more to it, but now I will definitely delve deeper. This is great, voted up and shared!


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