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iPhone 12 Pro Max can take incredible photos with these top tips



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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The camera quality in Apple’s phones has always been impressive, and the most recent iPhone 12 ($800 at Best Buy) and 1

2 Pro ($1,100 at Best Buy) take that to a whole new level. But it’s the 12 Pro Max which sits at the top, with its larger camera sensor and a variety of upgrades that make it a powerhouse for photography. We are very impressed with the images we shot with Apple’s ProRaw and how well it compares to its rival Samsung, the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

But having a great camera in your pocket doesn’t guarantee great images – you need to know how to use that gear to get the shots you want. Here are my top tips to up your photography game and hopefully get the best photos ever from the iPhone 12 Pro Max ($1,100 at Best Buy).

Know when to use the different lenses

It’s easy to stand in front of a picturesque scene and quickly switch between the normal, super-wide, and zoomed-in views on the phone, but it’s harder to understand exactly why one might be better than the other for a given composition. To find out, you need to take an extra moment to look at what’s important in the scene to you.

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Switching to the ultra wide angle lens allowed me to capture this mooring rope as foreground interest, which really ties the scene together.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Is there a particular subject — perhaps a statue or an impressive building — surrounded by many other elements such as trees, signposts, or streetlights? Using the telephoto zoom is a great way to isolate your subject and eliminate all those distractions. You may have to go back a bit and then zoom in to keep it in view, but simplifying your scene this way will really make your subject stand out in the image.

But maybe it’s those extra surrounding elements that really add to the scene and provide context for where you are. In that case, the standard zoom allows you to keep those items in the shot. Switching to the super-wide view captures even more of the scene, so to avoid getting your subject lost in the frame, you may want to get closer and find interesting foreground objects (a patch of flower, a cool-looking rock) to approach. to add to the composition.

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Waiting until the evening for this shot really paid off, with an incredible fiery sunset.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Visit again at different times of the day

Thanks to the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s great low-light skills, you don’t have to take photos only in the afternoon when the sun is at its highest. Sunrises and sunsets tend to be darker, but can reward you with beautiful colors in the sky and great contrast in the light thrown. Landscape photographers know that getting up before dawn often produces the best results and it’s always worth bearing in mind, if you can tolerate getting up early.

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Just 10 minutes earlier this was the same scene. Fine, but without that Edinburgh sunset drama.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you’re on a city break (when they’re allowed again), it’s worth taking a sunrise photo at least once, visiting the spots you’ve already found and seeing how they’re transformed by the other light. It’s this that will separate your photos from the hundreds of others on Instagram who just snapped a photo after drinking their morning coffee.

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The 12 Pro Max’s enhanced night mode can take great photos in very dark conditions.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Do not be afraid of the Dark

And don’t think that once the light is completely out, you have to stop shooting. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has one of the best night modes on any phone and can take amazing nighttime photos. Cityscapes, with car headlights, vibrant window displays and even festive Christmas decorations can be excellent fodder for night shots. And don’t worry if it pours with rain — those wet streets will now reflect all those lights, which can look great.

Watch our tutorial If you want to get it even better results from your nighttime phone photography.

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The original image on the left is a decent shot, but with a moody black and white edit it has a lot more atmosphere and works much better as a shot.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Focus on your editing

If you really want to create eye-catching images, editing should be part of your workflow, whether you’re shooting in RAW or JPEG. You need to start with a good image, so make sure you’ve followed the tips above, but good editing can be the biggest step to turning a standard snap into award-winning art.

I use Adobe Lightroom Mobile for most of my phone operations. It is a professional tool and has a lot of detailed control over color and lighting. If you don’t like the monthly fee, Google’s Snapseed is free and also has many excellent features to get the best out of your photos, including a variety of movie effects that give your photos a beautiful color toning.

If you want to get a little wilder and more creative, check out apps like Bazaart and PicsArt, which offer a variety of tools and effects for composing images to turn them from photos into often outlandish pieces of modern art. Have a look at my collection of image editing apps for more ideas.






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