Now, as far as I know, almost nobody likes learning about iPhone camera settings, and I get that. It’s not the most exciting topic, it’s kind of technical, and you’re here to learn about photography, not settings.
Well, I get it, but here’s the problem. Unless you get the camera settings exactly right, your photos will not be of the highest possible quality, and because of that, I’ve created this artical, where I’ll walk you through all the most important iPhone camera settings.
I’ll tell you how to pick the correct values for each setting so that your photos will always turn out great. Now, if you can’t hear me, and then we can get started. So, to find the iPhone camera settings, we’ll start by opening the Settings app on the home screen of your iPhone.
From here, we’ll scroll all the way down until you find Camera. Select Camera, and that will open the Camera settings. Here, the first option that I think is really important is the Grid setting, and by default, the grid is turned off, but if you turn the grid on, the next time you’ll launch the iPhone Camera app.
you’ll have two horizontal and two vertical grid lines on the top of the view finder, and these grid lines are really, really useful when you’re composing your shots. The next setting that I think is really, really important is the Formats option.
So I’m gonna tap on Formats, and this brings up two options, and I can choose between High Efficiency and Most Compatible image file formats. So, for those of you who are more technically-minded, High Efficiency corresponds to HEIF image file format, while Most Compatible corresponds to JPEG file format.
High Efficiency is a file format that’s mostly used by Apple, where as Most Compatible or JPEG is actually the most popular image file format in the world. So, if you don’t know what these acronyms mean, don’t worry, but you wanna make sure you select the Most Compatible option.
The benefit of High Efficiency is that your photos will take up less storage space, but Most Compatible has two very substantial benefits. Number one, these files are indeed more compatible, especially if you send them over to your friends who do not use Apple devices.
but number two, which is even more important to me, is the fact that Most Compatible images will actually be of higher quality. And if you compare High Efficiency and Most Compatible photos side-by-side, you’ll see that the Most Compatible images will actually have more detail, and thus their quality will be better.
And because of that, I strongly recommend that you choose the Most Compatible option. And finally, at the bottom of the screen, you’ll see HDR settings. For now, I want you to take the Auto HDR option and turn that off, and the Keep Normal Photo option should be turned on.
So, now that we’ve changed these settings, let’s open up the iPhone Camera app, and let’s see what kind of options are available there. So now, when you open the Camera app, the first thing you’re going to see are the grid lines.
So now, on the screen, we have two horizontal and two vertical lines, and those are the grid lines, and they’ll be really, really useful for composing your photos. Now, besides the grid lines, there are a whole bunch of other buttons on the screen.
So, let’s walk through them one by one, and let me quickly explain what each of these buttons means. So, we’ll start with the top left-hand corner where you have this icon showing three overlapping circles, and if you tap your finger there, the Filter menu opens up on the right-hand side.
and here you can swipe through all sorts of different filters such as Vivid Warm, Vivid Cool, Dramatic, and so on. And the way you can tell that one of the filters has been turned on is by the fact that the three overlapping circles icon is now in color.
So, every time these circles are in color, a filter has been turned on, and if you don’t want that, all you have to do is tap on that icon again, and go back to Original. I personally prefer not using these filters because there’s so much you can do to improve your images in post-processing.
and I like to take control of the editing process, and because of that, I personally never use these filters. So, I’m gonna stick to the Original, which is no filter, and now, to exit the Filter menu, I’m gonna press the three overlapping circles icon again.
Now, the next option you see on the screen is the Self-Timer, and you have the choice between the Self-Timer being off, or you can select three- or ten-second Self-timer. Most of the time, you wanna leave this off, which is what we’re going to do right now.
Now, the third option, which looks like several circles, which are now crossed out, stands for Live Photos. And when this option is yellow, that’s when you know that Live Photos are turned on.
So, the Live Photos functionality essentially records a short video just before and just after the photo that you take. The general guideline is to keep Live Photos on every time there’s movement in the scene or whenever you’re
taking photos of people.
Since we have some moving water here, I’m gonna leave the Live Photos option on. Next up, you see the letters HDR. So, if you tap on HDR, you can once again choose between Auto, On, or Off. or now, let’s leave it at Auto, and a lot of the times, the Auto option will serve you best.
So, there’s no harm in selecting Auto most of the time. And finally, you’ll see the Flash icon, and you have the choice between Auto, On, and Off, and with flash, my general recommendation is to keep the flash off, so that’s the option I’m going to select, and you can see that now the flash is crossed out.
Now, the reason I don’t recommend using the flash too much is because the flash of the iPhone is relatively weak. It only works well when your subjects are really close to you, and even then, you may end up with unnatural-looking colors and other potential image quality problems, and because of that, it’s
better to leave the flash off unless you absolutely need it.
but for most photography situations, even in low light, I recommend keeping the flash off. And those are all the options you have on the left-hand side of the screen. Now, in the top right, you’ll see the Camera icon with two arrows in the middle, and if you tap on that icon.
you’ll switch to the front-facing camera, and this is me, and if I now go ahead and take a photo, this is how you can take selfies with the iPhone. Now, the one thing you should keep in mind though is that the front-facing camera is substantially worse in terms of image quality than the back camera is. So, while it’s fun to take selfies with the front-facing camera.