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This Holiday Season, Level Up Your iPhone Pics with These Tips From a Professional Photography Studio

The holidays are coming up, and, like most parents, you probably want to capture high-quality photos of the season. But you don’t want to invest money and time into learning how to use a DSLR.

Sound familiar? You aren’t alone. Luckily, it’s not difficult to take amazing photos on iPhones or other smartphones. By following a few helpful guidelines, you can transform your blurry cell phone pictures into high-quality images that will serve as memories to last forever.

Take a look at these tips to help capture amazing iPhone or smartphone pictures.

Know Your Phone

iPhone cameras aren’t difficult to use. That’s the attraction — anyone can figure out how to use them, even a child. But taking good photos is a little trickier. Spending a few minutes playing around with your cell phone’s camera before you’re ready to use it will help you be better equipped to snap a great photo when the time comes.

What kind of features should you be looking for? Most smartphones have autofocus options and settings that let you turn the flash on or off. HDR balances the light and dark areas in a picture. Panorama allows you to capture a landscape or a tall building without cutting anything out. Smartphones even offer built-in photo filters. And if you have an iPhone 12 or higher, you’ll have portrait mode, too.

The more time you spend exploring your phone camera, the easier it will be to capture high-quality photos when it matters. While you’re reacquainting yourself with the camera, make sure to check the lens for dust, debris or fingerprints. Your smartphone’s camera lens isn’t covered by a screen protector, and if you don’t clean the lens on a regular basis, your iPhone photos won’t be crisp and clear.

See some spots? No worries; a microfiber cloth is a quick and safe way to clean your lens. Use the cloth to gently tackle dust, fingerprints, and any other debris that might be smudging up the camera lens on your phone.

Consider Composition

Composition, or how your photo is visually arranged, can make a huge difference in your cell phone photography.

For example, the rule of thirds is an easy way to uplevel your photos. When you follow this rule, you put the subject of your photo (whether that’s a person, a flower, or something else) in either the left or right third of an image — not the middle. This creates a picture that’s more appealing to the eye. (If you need help practicing this concept, you can turn on grid lines for your camera in iPhone settings.)

It’s also important to make sure your photo isn’t too crowded. Add some breathing space around your subjects. Focus on one primary subject instead of trying to add too much into one photo.

Set Up Your Shot

Once you have a basic understanding of your smartphone’s camera and of general photography best practices, you’re ready to start snapping photos.

When you set up a shot with your phone, tap the screen on the spot where you want the camera to focus. You can also adjust the light using the yellow sun that will appear when you tap to focus — use your finger to drag the sun up to increase brightness, or down to decrease.

If you want to take a close-up photo, don’t zoom in! Using zoom causes the quality of your photo to take a hit. Instead, if possible, get closer to your subject.

To get more options for your final image, turn on iPhone’s Live Photo setting at the top of your screen. Live Photo records 1.5 seconds before and after the picture is actually taken, essentially creating a short video or GIF. Then you can select the frame that looks the best.

When you’re ready to take a photo, find a spot that has good natural light. If you’re taking pictures of people, don’t be afraid to give them some direction or move them around into a pose that looks natural and works with the composition of the photo.


The final step to good smartphone photography is touching up your final images. An app like VSCO or Lightroom contains basic editing tools such as the ability to adjust brightness or crop a picture, as well as more sophisticated filters that help your photos look uniform. Adding the same filter to all of your photos will give your photography a cohesive look.

While there’s no substitute for a great photo studio to capture memories this holiday season, with all of the smartphones on the market today, taking great photographs on your smartphone isn’t hard. And by applying a few key tips and tricks, you can capture amazing photos with the phone that’s probably always in your pocket.

About Aileen Avikova

Aileen Avikova is a mother, wife, and co-founder of Enchanted Fairies, a luxury fine art portrait studio that provides a magical, immersive experience for children of all ages. They have donated over $1 million dollars to children’s charities nationwide. To learn more about the Enchanted Fairies experience, visit