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A photographer shares her 5 easy tips for making your iPhone photos magazine-ready

In a world of perpetual content creation, sometimes it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. With the content cycle moving so fast, it’s often our trusty iPhones that are the go to tool, capturing our lives and our every thought, at the drop of a hat.

Below, RUSSH photographer Olivia Repaci shares her best iPhone camera hacks that allow you to elevate your photography instantly – giving you the tools to develop your photography style and get noticed out there on the wild, wild web.


Go manual with your exposure!

Change the exposure of the image in the camera. Simply tap on the part of the photo that you want to be in focus. You will then see a sun appear with the focus square – this is actually an exposure toggle!

Pull the exposure down for a moody, editorial vibe, or increase for something a bit more blown out and artistic. This manual exposure adjustment is a great way to differentiate your photos from the automatic light settings that we all know and love, as well as shoot in tricky lighting scenarios.

If you’re lucky enough to get your mitts on the new iPhone 15, then the camera has great low light capacity, automatically creating super high resolution images in more difficult lighting moments!


Be precise with your zoom

Camera depth and zoom can really make or break an image. The right framing is everything. I find the most accurate way for me to get just the right amount of zoom is to scrap the pre-set lengths and find a happy medium between these. The way to activate this on iPhone is to touch and hold the zoom controls, then drag the slider right or left. Switch between 0.5x, 1x, 2x, 2.5x, 3x, (and even 5x if you’re on the iPhone 15) to quickly zoom in or out, and find just the right framing for your image.


Find new angles, and don’t be afraid to get physical

Angles are key. Try and stray from the typical angle that your eye can see, and engage a new perspective. But be warned, this comes with a need to get physical. Photography is a physical sport of its own, and it will require you to use muscles you didn’t even realise you had. In order to get the shot, you have to be willing to put yourself in extremely strange positions, no matter what gear you’re shooting on.

Experiment with shooting your subject at different angles – squat on the ground, climb up on a bench, lie in a gutter – nothing is off limits when trying to get THE shot.


Utilise Portrait Mode

Portrait mode is just getting better and better as the iPhone camera’s progress, and it is fast becoming a great hack for me to get DSLR-like images on the go.

Select the Portrait Mode function to begin; or, if you have an iPhone 15, it will automatically pop up as an option on the standard photo mode if it detects a human or animal!. You will see the background blurs an automatic amount, but this can actually be adjusted, with the manual aperture (or f-stop) feature.

Tap the ‘F’ at the top right corner of the screen, and you will see a depth slider appear at the bottom of the screen. Now you can adjust how much of your image is in focus, and how much is blurred by the ‘depth’ of the camera. The lower the f-stop, the more the blur (this is also true in any other camera).

Adjust to your liking or to the depth required for the subject, and then shoot away!


Seek out good lighting

Lighting is the most important element to photography, and there are some key times of day that you should seek out and avoid if you want to elevate your photography game.

Shooting in the middle of the day in bright sun can be cute if you’re going for a high summer vibe, but often results in harsh shadows on your subject. When shooting at this time, try to shoot in the shade to allow more even light on your subject.

If shooting in the direct sun, always avoid shooting into the sun. The sun should always be behind the photographer, and facing the front of your subject. This way, your subject will be well lit, and you can see what you are shooting!

An overcast day is actually a blessing for a photographer, as the lighting is usually more even than a sunny day, while still allowing you to shoot wherever you want (not just in the shade). Relish in those clouds, pray the rain holds off and shoot away!

And of course, shooting at those special times of day like sunrise and sunset will always result in the most beautiful lighting… but I think we all know how great these times are.


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