iPhone 11 Pro is here and will be for the years to come. With 3 cameras, 0.5x, 1x and 2x you are able now to capture scenes and be creative as a photographer as never before.
In terms of phone photography, many photographers may think we could never reach the quality of creating outstanding images as compared when we capture with a DSLR. This is a wrong concept.
It is not the camera who takes amazing pictures, always is the photographer. And now if you have or you are planning to buy an iPhone 11 Pro in special for photography, well, good choice I can say.
Remember one thing: It’s a mobile phone so you will probably have with you all the times, as compared to a DSLR. There could be places and times when you will have your phone with you and not your DSLR. The best camera to photograph is the one you have with you at that time, and in this case, is the iPhone 11 Pro.
Therefore, in this post, I want to share with you 11 special tips to improve your iPhone 11 Pro Photography.
11 tips to improve your iPhone 11 pro photography.
Why so specific?
iPhone 11 Pro is literally a new generation in the iPhone series where the cameras had a big leap in performance and quality, this not only including a brand new 0.5x ultra-wide camera but the image quality overall is absolutely stunning.
I am not promoting iPhone cameras for the sake of making this post. This is a reality, at least from my perspective as a photographer, I am really impressed. Besides, in the future when new iPhone versions will be released, the tips I am going to share with you will apply to those iPhone cameras as well.
Now, let’s get into the post, shall we?
1. 1x camera is the best for low-light photography
In many cases, we tend to take photographs indoors or outdoors during the evenings or nights, on the streets or different places where in general lighting may be poor.
As a true fact, the 1x camera is the best for low-light or night photography for three main reasons:
- it has the widest aperture of the three cameras. The 1x camera has an aperture of f/1.8 which is larger than the 2x camera which has an aperture of f/2.0 which has also a larger aperture than the 0.5x which has f/2.4.
Keep in mind that larger the aperture of a camera, more light can fall into the camera sensor, therefore, better performance in low-light situations.
- the 1x is a wide lens with a focal length of 26mm as compared to the 2x which has a focal length of 52mm. This is better for handheld stability when taking long exposures handheld with your iPhone 11 PRO during the night.
In this scenario, in reality, the 0.5x is the widest lens with a focal length of 13mm! But the 0.5x camera will fall behind on the third reason (see below)
- 1x and 2x support night mode, where the 0.5x does not. This is crucial for capturing low-light or night performance. At this moment I am not sure if the 0.5x from the iPhone 11 Pro has a hardware limitation or is something planned to be released on further iOS updates.
Therefore, following not only the data available and technical details but with real-life tests, the best camera of iPhone 11 Pro for night or low-light photography is the 1x followed by the 2x and the last the 0.5x
2. You can adjust the shutter speed manually.
Guess what! When photographing with the 1x and 2x in night mode, you are able to adjust the shutter speed manually, and you are able to take long exposures up to 10 seconds.
To take these long exposures handheld won’t make a great difference as compared to auto mode because nobody is ever able to be perfectly stable when taking long exposures
For this reason, you will see great difference if you can set the shutter speed manually to it’s maximum values (slowest) the camera can offer and take those photo with your iPhone mounted on a tripod.
Remember, as the 0.5x camera doesn’t have a night mode, you won’t be able to adjust the shutter speed manually.
3. Know what camera to use and when.
Depending on what you photograph, it is imperative to know what camera to use in order to get the best results
As an instance, with the 0.5x you can photograph sceneries such as landscapes, cityscapes, nature etc.
With the 1x camera is a good practice to photograph not only low-light but can be standardised for use in most of the photography niches. You know your earlier iPhone models, you basically used the 1x camera. It is not a wrong approach to keep using it even now though
With the 2x camera I found it the best to be used in portrait photography, unless there is a group of people and a wider lens may be beneficial.
4. Ignore the number 3. Be creative.
Oh. Did I just said what camera to use and where? What about to break these rules and try to be creative with each camera.
As an instance, what about a portrait with the 0.5x? What about to use the 2x to capture scene or elements from a landscape, or parts of a car maybe?
At the time of writing this article and this line, 2 AM, those are just some easy pick ideas I could think about.
Believe me when I say, the power of photography rely in you, the photographer.
Also, think that you can change each camera with a single tap. Pre-visualise each scene or subjects you want to photograph with all 3 cameras of your iPhone 11 Pro and pick which would be the best.
5. The same subject, all 3 cameras
As this would be one of the easiest things to do as compared to DSLR photography, you can change each camera with a tap.
If there is no rush in photographing a subject, scene or elements, why don’t you photograph with all 3 cameras?
You would be surprised about the results of using each camera, the 0.5x, 1x and the 2x to capture the same thing. It takes only a few seconds to do it, but then you have not one but three different perspectives of the same scene. Who knows what would look better in the end.
6. Panoramic image with the 0.5x camera
The 0.5x camera is not only very wide but you are also able to create a panoramic image with that camera, the same way as before. The panoramic image will look ultra-wide as never before though.
But let me give you a quick tip here: The panoramic mode from the iPhone was never perfect when it was to rotate the camera slowly and keeping track on the line. No matter how perfect you do it, this panoramic mode messes with the line of the horizon as in the image before.
Say no more. The panoramic function of the iPhone cameras can be used with very good results where we have complexity in scenery – as an instance shooting a panoramic inside the forest as compared to the seaside.
When the image is more complex, the small “flaws” of the panoramic function will be unseeable and the panoramic image taken with the 0.5x camera will definitely look like one of its kind. Think about how many phones or cameras with a 13mm focal length are there and how many can perform in creating an ultra-wide 180degree panoramic picture with the same focal length.
As in terms of shooting panoramic of simple sceneries as at the seaside with 13mm, for the best results, if you are a photographer or you have Lightroom or Photoshop, I recommend to take multiple images of the same levels from left to right or right to left and merge them together in that software.
This would be the best approach in order to minimise the “glitches” in panoramic images.
7. Disable the live-mode.
Live view mode is something like a GIF image. I am not against it, I find it cute sometimes as a family photo to use this.
Also, I have no concrete information to support the idea that the live-view mode decreases the image quality overall, but as I’ve noticed with it, is that the images I took with the live view mode on can be poorly post-processed as compared to the ones without.
It is very easy to disable the live photo when you have the photo camera on, press that little circle on the top left of the screen. A line crossed over it mean the live view mode is off.
But in order to preserve the settings and not to turn it off every time you start the camera app, you have to go to your iPhone settings > camera > preserve settings > live photo to be ticked on (that is only to preserve the same settings of the live photo, not to turn it on).
8. Edit your photographs directly with your iPhone 11 Pro
A JPEG image is a final image and in general, this cannot be post-processed, at least any more than the basic settings with the risk to lose quality. In photography, we shoot in RAW in order to be able to post-process the photo.
Interesting fact of how Apple came and perfected the HEIC image format. This is so-called the “next-generation JPEG” where the images can occupy even half the space of a JPEG and can leave a lot more room for post-processing the image.
Therefore, you can always post-process the images taken with your iPhone 11 Pro directly on the phone by pressing the edit button. But how I would do that properly.
I recommend you to watch the next clip as to see how I usually do it.
9. Filters are optional but great.
Same way as you edit the images on your iPhone 11 Pro (as on the above point), the middle button to the very right is preset filters.
You know what is a filter, there is no need for me to describe it. In some cases, you may want to try or pick some filters for your images instead of editing.
Those, of course, are optional, but sometimes, the filters can play a nice role though.
10. Portrait mode to control aperture
Above the camera mode, you have a “portrait mode” which can be amazing in special in taking portrait photographs but can be used in any other scenarios where you want to create a shallower depth of field
Keep in mind that this is a “boosted aperture mode” where you can control the aperture and have it as wide as f/1.4. Considering the cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro, none of them has the f/1.4 aperture.
Moreover, this won’t look anything like the depth of field of a DSLR, but remember, this is a mobile phone, therefore, it is a nice thing to have this camera mode to express creativity in some situations.
11. Remember, it’s an iPhone with 3 cameras.
Well, hallelujah. This is not an actual tip but as a photographer where I have two DSLR cameras, I tend to go outside only with these whenever possible and consider 99% of the time only DSLR photography.
But here is the wrong approach not only of mine but of other photographers as well.
We have the phone with us 24/7. No matter that we go shopping, to work or school, we either travel or stay at home. If you have a DSLR camera, you know that you may take it with you only when you schedule photography trips. This may happen not as often as you want.
But on the other side, as many times I found myself in the situation where I was outside either travelling to work or to shopping and I’ve seen not only sceneries but “things worth photographing”. Only I know how many times I’ve ignored it simply because I did not have my DSLR with me. But had the phone. All the time.
Now, you may or you may not have a DSLR camera, but whenever possible you are outdoors and see something worth photographing (it may be a simply beautiful tree in the field, a rainbow or a heart-shape cloud) take the phone out of your pocket and take not one but as many pictures as you can.
You do have nothing to lose by doing this. If the photo was taken appeared to be a disaster, fair enough. Still, you didn’t lose anything. But if this appears to be something beautifully even to share on your social media – we call it a win-win scenario.
Therefore, one last time before I end this post, remember, you have not one but three powerful cameras in your pocket, on your iPhone 11 Pro. Follow these tips and you will definitely make a change.
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