Nearly everyone who keeps tabs on iPhone photography for kids has heard of rules they must comply with in order to take stunning shots. Rules exist to guide you with image composition, but they’re not to be followed scrupulously. Your creative imagination will also determine the final output. That said, rules can turn out great when you use them as directional guidelines to enhance a picture.
Many photographers have followed them and been rewarded with amazing results. Another thing about rules is that they’re applicable to all shooting scenarios. The impact is largely the same regardless of who or where a picture is taken. It’s always tempting to try out all the rules, but don’t use them like your life depends on them. As said before, creativity is highly valued in iPhone photography because it showcases a person’s intelligence. It’s the embodiment of one’s ability to unleash their inner desire and turn it into a concrete piece of art.
Creativity can also be perceived as birthing new ideas out of old ones. There’s no way to measure it because creativity is subjective, but it represents the power to transcend conventional thinking. Can you eschew rules in composing an image? Yes, it’s technically possible, but the lack of direction can cause the picture to have no substance. It would look messy from any perspective.
Basic Rules of Photography
1. Rule of thirds
I’m not gonna lie, this sounds like an exciting term to learn. The rule of thirds is arguably one of the most important compositional guidelines in iPhone photography for kids because it works notwithstanding the visual elements. At the simplest level, the rule of thirds denotes a method where you break an image into 9 small zones using 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines. They’re superimposed on top of each other and spaced out equally inside the photo. Done correctly, there should be four points of intersection around the center of the image.
The goal of this rule is to provide balance to the image. With this in place, the viewer’s eyes won’t dart around trying to settle on something. Their vision will easily spot the most prominent element of the whole arrangement, which is also known as the focal point. For the record, some cameras show the grid line as an optional feature. You can enable it to view it right on the screen.
If your kid uses an iPhone, consider installing an app that supports this function from the App Store. To be good at this rule, practice is your ultimate strength. That’s how you acquire a new skill and improve it. Pointing your camera at different angles will help you apply the rule to various scenes. Hit the shutter button when it feels right and compare the results at the end.
The type of device you use for taking a picture has no bearing on whether this rule is applicable or not. You can use an iPhone or a DSLR. The viewpoint can still be the core foundation of your image composition. A viewpoint describes a point from which an image is photographed. Any change to the viewpoint will conspicuously change the whole configuration.
Some portions of objects that originally appeared wider may appear narrower when you switch the viewpoint. Or some objects at an extremely far distance will look a lot closer after changing the viewpoint. We normally snap a pic at eye level because that’s the most feasible option. Bringing it to a higher place will require you to climb up a tree or a ladder. Pointing at the same spot when you sit on a branch will change the narrative of the image even if all the objects remain identical.
Keep in mind that our world is three-dimensional. And our brains have the superlative capacity to envision things in 3D form based on the visual inputs we receive. Smartphones don’t have that kind of proficiency to render the world in 3D, so we’ll still see a 2D photo when it’s taken using an iPhone. To overcome this, capturing the scene from several viewpoints will give a 3D visualization of the scene.
3. Balancing elements
All the elements in a photo need to flow well together to promote harmony. They have to complement each other, so it doesn’t create the impression that they don’t integrate in the right way. The key to balance is to achieve cohesion, which can be done in a number of ways. The first one is asymmetrical balance, which, as the name suggests, shifts the point of balance off the middle section.
It’s somehow reminiscent of the rule of thirds, except that it doesn’t feature a grid line. It mainly focuses on the placement and our perception of visual weight. Another type of balance your child can incorporate into the image is color balance. It’s like a personification of the yin and yang principle where positive energy comes together with negative energy to bring harmony.
In relation to color, this interaction can come as mixing vibrant hues with neutral ones to counteract each other’s tremendous power. And then, you should also know about conceptual balance. This concept is not bound by rules, but instead by distinctive elements that appear in a photo. It suggests that two points of interest should be polar opposites in terms of visual dominance.
In a crowded photo with a good number of elements, it’s likely that the subject will be drowned out if it’s less riveting than the background. This should not happen because a background is meant to accentuate a subject. In the real world, we have no problem drawing a distinction between elements even if they occupy a busy setting.
But since an iPhone depicts the scene in 2D, sometimes it can be hard to tell elements apart when the background is not properly isolated from the foreground. This will eventually overshadow the subject that must be the main component. You can solve this problem by taking a few steps away from the spot and finding a new background to take a photo of.
Or this can also be fixed in post processing by gently blurring it out using a bokeh filter. This will soften the details in the background, which then highlights the subject. The bokeh effect is a staple feature in newer iPhone models. It comes integrated into portrait mode. Launch the camera app and switch to this mode. Give time for the app to analyze the scene and recognize the subject. Once the ‘Depth Effect’ shows up on the screen, it suggests that the mode is in action.
5. Leading lines
Implementing leading lines in a photo helps attract the viewer’s attention and guide their sight through them. The purpose of leading lines is to add perspective to a picture. They’re also effective for reiterating the layer of depth. Of all the methods, this is one that people use a lot because lines are an integral part of photography.
There are two types of leading lines: natural ones and those that exist because of human intervention. Artificial lines don’t occur naturally. They come into being because we want them to exist. Fences and avenues are two good examples. When a picture is comprised of lines, we can’t help but stare at them. They act as a track for the eyes to follow, which will take you back to the primary focal point.
While beneficial, going overboard with this element won’t amplify its impact. No matter how marvelously they embellish an image, overuse can be a detriment instead of oozing charm. Through the viewfinder, you can observe subtle and thick lines in a scene. Once you’ve identified some, use them to accentuate the subject.
Cropping also does wonders to simplify a picture that’s cluttered with striking elements. By cropping out a portion of an image and keeping only a small area, more attention will be directed to the subject.
Cropping is literally easy because you just need to hold any corner until the cropping icon appears. and then drag it towards the center to downsize. Once you’ve achieved the desired cropping area, click “OK” or another relevant command in the editing program you use.
Another cropping style you can try is to move the subject off-center because this placement is a bit too generic. Any location that breaks up symmetry will make your image more dynamic and attractive. Or you can also switch up the orientation. For example, you can turn a landscape photo into a portrait to make the person in the photo look better.
Adding depth to a picture isn’t always easy because an image is two-dimensional. If it appears to have depth, that’s because our brains try to make sense of the details that give it a 3D perspective. You can evoke this feeling by improving the composition. The first trick you can try is to change the shooting angle. Hold your iPhone and orient it at an angle that creates a sense of depth.
You can also do it through layering. If you capture a panoramic landscape, chances are you’ll find elements at different distances, which naturally brings out layering. Those objects can be meters apart from each other. This arrangement will eventually push the foreground forwards and throw the background further back, which in turn, produces a subjective sensation of depth.
Another idea that offers a similar output is inserting a foreground interest. Having something close to the lens can blur the background, especially for a device with a shallow depth of field. Even without blurring, you can get that impression by laying emphasis on the subject in front of the iPhone camera. Its presence will lead the viewer’s eyes through the scene towards the farthest elements.
Simply put, experimentation means the process of testing different ideas. In the context of photography, it can be viewed as capturing a moment rather than just taking a meaningless photograph. You can point a camera at any angle and fire up the shutter, but that doesn’t mean that the result will tell a compelling story.
There are a bunch of ways to experiment with an image. First, you can use all the assets carried by your own device. Altering the white balance, for instance, can give the photo an exciting tweak. Second, you can experiment with the way you shoot, such as extending the exposure by fiddling with focus. The goal is to attain an effect we don’t normally fancy.
Instead of making the subject sharp and in focus, you can smooth it out by changing the focus. Another option to push beyond the boundaries is through experimental processing, although it’s mainly reserved for digital cameras. For iPhone photography for kids, you can skip it in favor of other alternatives.
Understanding the iPhone camera UI
Many of us like the simplicity that the iPhone’s camera interface has to offer. But now it’s ready to knock it out of the park with a slew of extra features. The iPhone’s camera has always excelled at the basic functions, but with all the extras joining the lineup, you can make the most of every shot.
The newest entry to the powerful series clearly hints at the company’s commitment to revamping its camera setup, transforming it into a well-rounded image and video capturing device. The new camera pampers users with a myriad of options even before they think of supplementing their device with third-party installations. One that has become the talk of the town is the Cinematic Mode, which bolsters photography to a pro level.
The main highlight of this feature is the ability to switch focus across different subjects through an intelligent analysis of the subject in the frame. Styles also add a touch of sleek sophistication to a picture by altering the basic color tone while keeping the skin tone intact. It’s not the same as filters that cover an image thoroughly. There’s a lot to discover in the new iPhone’s camera UI.Likewise, the gallery app also serves more than just a regular image viewer. It does way more thanks to the new set of functions.
There’s an option to edit videos right from the app. It also allows you to manually adjust the focus during the editing process. This is normally present in photo editors, but now that it’s built right into the gallery, there’s no need to launch another app to use the effect. The new iPhone also scores another point with its Memories. It offers a couple of advancements for better personalization. Aside from using filters and picking images and videos at will, it also lets you play music from the music app.
Portrait vs. Landscape
You don’t have to aspire to be a photographer to know about portraits and landscapes. A portrait basically refers to an image frame that sits vertically. When a photo is taken in this orientation, the frame is taller than it’s wide. Landscape is the opposite, where the frame is wider than it is tall. Both are used heavily in iPhone photography for kids because there are certain objects that look better as portraits, while there are some that look more visually pleasing as landscapes.
The portrait format is mostly popular for selfies because it gives the subject maximum attention without all the distractions. If we take a selfie in landscape mode, the background can dominate the subject when it has layers of intricate details. Meanwhile, the landscape orientation is more suitable for capturing the spirit of nature because we naturally pan from left to right while witnessing a new scene. And just like that, you should also orient your phone horizontally to expand the field of view.
In summary, there is no right or wrong when it comes to framing a scene. Both layouts can be breathtaking, but we can’t deny that they also need specific circumstances under which to perform at their best. The same goes for shooting videos. Landscape remains the most popular pick when we consider presentation on device screens and platforms. When we watch a video on a smartphone, we tend to hold it horizontally because it gives more comfort to the eyes unless the video itself is recorded in portrait mode like those on Tiktok and Youtube Shorts.
Back then, photo editing was something for professionals only. But ever since the rise of Smartphones’ popularity, more and more photo editing apps have come into existence. They’re not only designed for pro users but also for beginners.
Now, photo editing has become a part of using a smartphone. It doesn’t take long to improve an image with the tons of features that an app has. Simply drag one from the gallery app and use the default effects that the iPhone provides. Here’s the step-by-step guide:
- Launch the camera.
- Tap on the 3 overlapping circles icon on top of the display.
- Browse through the library of filters until you stumble across one you want.
- Tap the same 3 circles icon in step 2.
- Take a picture using the shutter button.
- Or you can also edit a photo after it’s been captured. To do it, launch the camera.
- Find the photo, and then select the “Edit” button.
- Tap on the same three-circle button that resides around the bottom portion of the screen.
- Find one filter you want to apply, hit the three-circle button one more time.
- If you’re happy with the result, hit “Done.” If not, repeat the previous steps to replace the filter.
For those wondering about all the filters available in the camera app, we’ll mention a couple of them. Vivid is a filter for bumping up contrast, making it perfect for landscape pictures. Vivid Warm is a filter to add a warm atmosphere, which works great for portraiture. Meanwhile, Vivid Cool is the antithesis of vivid warm. It adds a layer of cool energy to a photo.
There’s also Dramatic to sharpen shadows and bring down highlights. Mono is also fantastic to try. It’s a filter to convert an image into black and white with a light tinge of blurriness. There are many others, so please just head straight to the camera roll and find them there.
Framing the shot and composition
Framing here is not framing as in using an actual frame, but more of utilizing a visual element in a picture to go around the edges of a scene. For instance, when you take a photo from inside a tunnel, its opening can be a frame for whatever subject you’re trying to capture.
A frame doesn’t have to surround a scene like a physical frame normally does. It can just cover a few sides to give it some sophistication. Apart from tunnels, other objects you can use include window frames, sculptures, and archways. By the way, framing is just one way of doing things. A photograph can look just fine without it.
However, the composition can take on a different meaning with a visual frame. This addition acts as a clue that can reveal where or how a picture was taken based on the information that the frame offers. And as with leading lines, frames also help direct attention right to the focal point. If you want to excel at composition using your iPhone, apply this trick whenever possible.
A photo is open to endless possibilities just by changing the location from which you snap it. Angle is the backbone of stunning photography, so it’s a must for a photographer to have knowledge of it. You can improve a photo by taking it from a different perspective.
For example, a mushroom will look totally different if it’s taken from an overhead view compared to when the lens is steadied in front of it. We’ll give a few different angles that can inspire you to take more creative photos. The first one is the bird’s eye view. This term is self-explanatory; it describes a view as if it’s seen by a bird in the sky.
No, you don’t have to take to the skies to do it justice. It’s just an analogy of what a subject should look like in terms of perspective. Try to place an object on the ground perpendicular to the direction of your phone’s back camera, and then hit the shutter button. This is an example of a photo that has a bird’s-eye view. There are many ways to reach a high point, like climbing a ladder or standing on a balcony, a step, or another structure.
The high angle is another you should give a go. It’s in the same vein as the previous angle, albeit tamer in composition. It doesn’t demand an overhead view, only a view from a high place or altitude. Additionally, there’s also an eye-level angle in which the object aligns parallel to the camera. One more angle you shouldn’t skip is the low angle, which suggests placing an iPhone below the subject. With this, the subject can project an aura of authority and change the narrative since it gives more stress to their vulnerability.
The newer iPhones really step up their photography game. It receives fundamental camera upgrades like Night Mode and an ultra-wide lens. And while some features are carried over from the previous models, they are also advancements on many fronts.
If you’re a long-time Apple fan, you must know how Burst Mode works in every model. Or you may also notice functions that have disappeared, like the holding gesture that is no longer assigned to Burst Mode.
If you use the iPhone 12, holding the shutter will enable Quick Take instead. With this, you can record videos straight away without the need to switch between modes. Do you need a tutorial? Please read down below:
- To switch to portrait mode, quickly press and drag the shutter button to the left.
- To take a picture in landscape mode, quickly press and drag the shutter button up to the top.
- Release it when you’ve finished taking burst pictures.
If you’ve ever come across a picture that’s in motion but without the play button, you’ve probably seen a live photo. This sort of photo now comes as an iPhone feature. It allows you to turn a still image into an animated graphic with music playing in the background. It may boggle your mind how it can happen.
For the record, it takes advantage of the background feature embedded in the system. Here’s how the process unfolds. As you access the camera roll, the app will automatically snap pictures without you touching the shutter button. The sequence of photos is captured very quickly, but they will be removed from the memory if you decide to not use them.
In Live Photo mode, all the pics taken immediately after one another are stitched together to create a seamless animation lasting 1.5 seconds. Not only the stills, but the sound the mic picks up during the recording will also be part of the animation. Here’s how you create a live photo:
- Open the camera app and locate the 3 concentric circles icon on the display. The location depends on the iPhone model you have. It should be activated, which appears as a well-lit icon.
- After that, snap a picture.
- That’s it. If you want to check out the result, open the photos app. Select the image that you just took. Tap on it and hold it until it starts playing as an animation.
Can you touch it up with effects?
Yes, there are quite a few options to improve a live photo, like using loop and bounce. All you have to do is navigate to the Photos app. Right inside of it, find one live photo you want to edit. Once loaded, swipe up to see all the available effects. Tap on one, and it will quickly take effect. The effect will merge with the pic and stay throughout the duration.
Low Light & Night Mode
The sheer increase in low-light performance is also discernible throughout the lifespan of the flagship phone. It was virtually impossible to pick up details in settings with low illumination. But now, you can take the phone to a dark room and it will snap a picture that shows bags of detail. That’s how impressive the current generation of the iPhone is.
What’s more, color reproduction is also rich at night. Nowadays, it’s all about unlocking your creative potential because there are a lot of aspects of the new iPhone waiting to be explored. When the light goes down in intensity, activating Night Mode is absolutely necessary.
But what if the room still receives sufficient light? Is this mode still that important or can you ignore it in place of the flash?
That’s when creativity should emerge. You can take pictures with both options multiple times and compare the results. As the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect”. You must repeat it over and over again to achieve the most gratifying outcome. Learn under what lighting this mode works best and if it’s always necessary to turn it on at night.
Night Mode is developed to smartly activate itself as the ambient brightness drops below the threshold. To find out if the function has been triggered, just look at the moon icon on top of the display. If it’s there, it suggests that the mode is in full swing. If not, it should remain white like before. You can manually adjust it, though.
At what age is a kid ready to start taking pictures using an iPhone? The problem with an iPhone is that it can have so many distractions, like mobile games. Smartphones in general have the same problem. They can be great educational tools, but at the same time, they can be addictive as well.
But as long as your kid knows how to use their iPhone in moderation, it’s alright to hand them one as a gift. Or if you think they’re too young for that, lend them your phone to learn photography. You can limit access to certain apps if necessary and let them focus on the camera feature. iPhone photography for children should be enjoyable and rewarding.
The new iPhone is jam-packed with amazing features, so it will take time for your kid to navigate through the settings and options. It is critical to teach them the fundamentals of photography. We’ve covered them in this article about iPhone photography for kids, so please read it again if you missed something.