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Home / Tips and Tricks / iPhone 12 Photo Tips: How to Maximize the Coolest Features of Your New Phone

iPhone 12 Photo Tips: How to Maximize the Coolest Features of Your New Phone



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Angela Lang / CNET

The iPhone 12 stunned us during our full review of them, becoming one of the top rated phones of all time on CNET. Of this year̵

7;s four iPhone 12 models, the iPhone 12 is on the more “affordable” side, missing some of the camera pizzazz of the more expensive ones Pro and Pro Max models, such as the telephoto lens and lidar sensor. But don’t think it doesn’t require creaking visuals.

If you’ve just got your hands on the iPhone 12, here are my tips for taking great photos. You don’t have to follow all of them, but keeping these ideas in mind can help you think more about your photography and turn otherwise forgettable snaps into memorable works of art.

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For this shot, I paid attention to the leaves in the foreground and the way the alley leads the eye to the scene, and positioned myself so that the castle in the background is framed by the opening in the trees.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Nail your composition

The iPhone 12 can take vibrant, well-exposed photos with little input from you. But so do most good phones and indeed most standalone cameras. The biggest factor that will distinguish your images from anyone else’s is the composition of the scene you are shooting. So take a moment to think about the arrangement of all the different elements for you and what they will look like in your finished image.

Let’s say you walked into the hills and found a nice view. You can just point your phone at it and take a moment, and your family and friends would no doubt compliment you on what a beautiful view it was. But spend some time watching the scene and think about how it can turn into a real “wow” image.

Adding interest in the foreground (such as an interesting rock formation, a patch of flowers, or a gnarled old tree trunk) can help tie the scene together, and the use of guiding lines (such as a path or a wall) can help shape the draw the viewer’s attention further inward. your scene. The photographic rule of thirds is worth keeping in mind to get you started, and to help with this, you can enable a grid overlay in your camera settings to precisely align the elements. Keep in mind that, despite its name, the rule of thirds is really just a guideline, not a rule. Some of the more creatively striking compositions will intentionally break it.

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By switching to the super wide lens, I was able to include these rocks as the foreground interest for this shot of Scotland’s Forth Bridge.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Know when to go wide

The iPhone 12 has a standard view and a super wide view built into the camera, so it’s important to remember to use both angles and know when to use them. Switching to the super wide view can transform your image, but it’s only worth using if you have a strong composition that requires a really wide angle.

If the subject in your image – say, a church on a hill – is far away, a wide-angle lens will make the church look even further away from you and disappear. Instead, move closer to the church and enable the wide mode and you will see that the church is still the dominant topic in your image. But you can now capture more of its environment. Again, a strong interest in the foreground helps with wide-angle shots, so look around; maybe there is a nice field of wild flowers you can place in your foreground and the church can occupy more of the middle ground.

Control your exposure

While the iPhone 12 is usually perfect at selecting the right exposure for a scene, it sometimes needs a little help. Complex scenes with bright skies and dark shadows can sometimes confuse the camera. For example, if you’re taking a portrait of a person against a bright sunset, it can pick a good exposure for the sky, but leave your subject in shadow. There are a few things you can do in this case.

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Shooting against the bright sun will always be tricky for a camera, but by tapping the sky and darkening the exposure with the slider, I was able to capture a rich scene.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

First, you can try to tap on your subject and tell the camera that it is the part to be properly exposed. You can also drag the little slider that appears on the side of the box that appears when it is tapped. This allows you to lighten or darken the scene as required. If the scene looks really bright, you want to bring it down with a simple touch.

Shoot in raw

If you want more control over your exposure, shoot in raw format and take manual control over your settings. You will need a third party app such as Moment or Firstlight for this as the default iOS camera app does not provide these features.

Manual control of settings such as shutter speed, ISO, and white balance is useful in those cases where the camera may be confused by a scene and you cannot take the picture you want. For example, a deep sunset can look too dark for the camera, overcompensating and bringing out the shadows too much, spoiling the atmospheric look you had in mind. By choosing the settings yourself, you can take exactly the picture you want.

Raw images also don’t permanently store image data for white balance and sharpening, giving you more control when it comes to editing images later. When I take a photo I know I want to edit it for a more ‘artsy’ look, I almost always shoot in RAW.

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With just a few minutes of editing in apps like Snapseed or Adobe Lightroom, you can turn your images from simple snapshots into works of art.

Andrew Hoyle / CNET

Edit your images

Proper editing can often be the single most important factor in turning a ho-hum snap into a dramatic piece of art. And the great thing about editing is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. Even if you use the basic edit button in Apple’s Gallery app, you can apply cool filters, control highlights, or cancel shadows, all of which take seconds and can boost your photos.

But if you want to go further, there is a wealth of editing apps in the App Store that can transform your photos. My personal favorite is Adobe Lightroom, which provides the same set of detailed controls over exposure and color that I use in my professional photography. Snapseed is great too, there are a lot of tools available, and it’s free. Both Lightroom and Snapseed are great for fine-tuning your images to get beautiful, sophisticated looks without turning the images into something completely different.

Then there are apps such as Prisma, PicsArt and Photoshop camera, which lets you apply wild effects to your images and turn them into bizarre modern works of art.

Whether you prefer a more natural look or something more quirky and edgy is entirely up to your own preferences – not to mention your own imagination. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to edit images and you can always go back to the original and start over if you are not happy with what you did, so there is no risk to experiment. Ultimately, my advice is to make a good cup of tea, sit back in a comfortable chair and play with the tools in the app of your choice to discover what you can turn your images into.


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