How to Up Your Photo Game

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How to Up Your Photo Game

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Taking the perfect picture can be difficult, but with this easy to follow guide taking a picture with an iPhone, Android, and/or DSLR camera will improve your photo game.


Using the basic Camera app offers great features, depending on what phone you have the more you can get out of it.

iPhone Camera App

iPhone  5s, 6, 6s, 7, 8 

With these phones, you have the basic camera features, which offer great options for a photo. when you first open the app you are set at the basic camera setting. The iPhone 6s, 7 & 8 have live photos, which move when force touch is applied. Taking these photos is easy, make sure that the symbol is yellow and that no line is through the symbol. One the symbol is one every photo that will be taken is a live photo. If you don’t have an iPhone 6s, 7, or 8 you can still take great photos but unfortunately no live photos.

Live Photo Symbol

Along the top bar of the camera app, there are a lot of options. The first feature we’re going to look at is HDR. HDR can also be called bracketing by photographers. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. This feature takes three photos in one. The first photo is at a normal light setting, then it takes the second at a lower light setting and finally, it takes the third picture at a higher light setting. The phone then takes these photos and takes parts from each. This results in great looking photos.

HDR Symbol

The second feature on the top camera bar is the timer setting. When using the timer it may be a good idea to find something to hold up your phone. If you’re looking for something to hold your phone try looking on Amazon. They offer multiple options for holding a phone up.

Timer Symbol

As well on the top bar is two symbols left. The first one is flash symbol this is self-explanatory, in the flash option there are three different options, the first is the auto setting which judges the light and decides if the light is needed, the second is the one which will be on for every picture taken and the third is off.

Flash Symbol

The last symbol on the bar is the color adjust option. Here you can scroll through the different options to change the color effects of your photos, this works well if you’re trying to get that Instagram dramatic shot that everyone loves.

Color Adjust Symbol

The bottom menu on the camera app allows you to change the type of media you want to capture. Scrolling through the menu is easy, just swipe to the desired options.

iPhone 7s, 8s, X, Xs, Xs Max & Xr

If you have one of these phones you have the options to do portrait mode. Portrait mode allows for the blurred background photos most people go crazy for. Portrait mode is one of the options on the bottom scroll bar.  These photos are the professional photos you’re looking for.


The Android camera app can look overwhelming but can be a little more tricky. Depending on the phone the app can be different. When you open the app you will most likely be on the automatic feature. Changing the mode will offer different experiences. Depending on what type of photo you are trying to take you can find the option in the mode menu.

The most challenging mode to use in the menu is the manual setting, look at the DSLR camera section to see exactly how to use the pro mode.


Almost all DSLR camera has the same setting, depending on the type of camera the settings will be in different places. Changing these settings offers great opportunities for wonderful photos.


The first setting that will affect a photo is shutter speed. This allows you to change the length of time a camera’s shutter will stay open. Shutter speed is measured in seconds. Most DSLR cameras have a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, This means that the shutter is open for 1/4000th of a second letting almost no light inside to the camera. From there the shutter speed goes down until you get to speeds like 1/60th of a second. From here down its recommended that you use a tripod, or else the photos will come out shaken. From here on down the shutter is left open more and more. When you get to a shutter speed marked with a ” that means a full second. This is primarily used for long exposure photos. These photos are the show stoppers, the best way to take long exposure photos is to use manual mode of a camera to fully have control over the exposure settings.


To get those sought-after photos you want, you’ll need to understand two more key components of exposure to fully get that lasting image. The next thing to understand is aperture. You may know aperture by what the camera does to change it. Aperture is changed with blades that can open or close. They do this to allow specific amounts of light into the camera, the specific amount of light is measured in f stops. F stops are labeled like this F 3.5, F4, F10, etc. The lower the number the less DOP (Depth of field) you will have. This means that the background will be blurred, like the portrait mode on the iPhone plus’. The higher the number the more detail you’ll have. A way to remember this is to look at the numbers that follow the F as water levels. If you’re over 3.5 feet tall then you can’t really drown in the water, which means that you won’t drown in detail. Looking at 10 feet of water you can drown and may drown. As you go higher the more detail you’ll have.

One downside to increasing the aperture number is that the light let into the camera decreases. you’ll have to adjust the other settings to compensate for this.


This next setting can be a little tricky to understand, but its worth it. ISO is the last setting of exposure which is one of the more important exposure settings. This setting changes the camera’s sensitivity to light. ISO is measured in intervals. On most cameras, they range from 100-6400. The lower the number the less sensitive the camera is to light, so the darker the camera will be. The higher the number better the camera can recognize light, but with more light comes a catch. This introduces noise into the photo. It can make the photo look grainy, or pixelated. Its recommended that you set your ISO somewhere around 800.

No matter what device you use as your camera, remember that you can do amazing things with it. So go out and capture something amazing.

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