Here are a few tips for capturing photographic momentos that are clearer, sharper, and focused, when you’re using an Apple iPhone. I’m directing this post to informal but posed group shots–not candid or portrait work or anything serious.
- Slow down. It’s worth getting everyone you want to remember in the frame.
- Look at your light and move toward it if you need to. Most of the time, I try for side light or shade for the group shot, since I don’t like the iPhone’s flash for fill, and I don’t want all of my friends squinting into the camera on sunny days.
- Ask everyone to squeeze in closer together. Pull heads together, wrap arms around each other, whatever it takes, but get in close.
- Ask everyone to stay still as you take the photo. I sometimes say, “hold the pose.”
- Take a horizontal shot. I see all kinds of people holding their phones vertical. Often a horizontal shot is easier to frame, especially for these fun group shots, as your frame spreads out a bit.
- Hold your smart phone firmly but relaxed. Use whatever grip you like but make sure your finger isn’t covering the lens in the upper left corner and that you aren’t letting your forearms, wrists, etc., sway. Stabilize yourself against a wall, a table, someone else’s shoulder, a chair.
- Tap on the screen to focus and to expose for highlights or shadows. In the newer iOS, the box that appears in your frame isn’t focusing–it’s trying to recognize faces. I’ve had people tell me they assumed this was the focus. Nope. You can tap and drag to move the exposure/focus across the screen. I focus every shot I take myself, unless I’m using an app that just doesn’t have this feature at all.
- While shooting, do not move your arms or wrists toward the subject or back toward yourself as you take a photo. Keep your upper body and arms still.
- Look at the photo to ensure you have everyone in frame and focused. If not, do it again. Don’t just hand the phone back without checking.
- Think about post-processing to monochrome; it really is forgiving of bad light.
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