improve your iphone photos

Mini Guide: Make Your iPhone Photos Stand Out on Social

I love my iPhone for shooting content  for social media.  It’s great in a lot of light situations, it’s quick and it’s easy.  Here is my mini-guide for making your iPhone shots stand out on social!  All of my example pictures below were shot on my iPhone 11 and edited in Lightroom/Snapseed.

I definitely rely on my DSLR for food photography shoots, but great photos come from the iPhone too.  Big advantage there:  if you’ve got a pocket, you’ve probably got your iPhone on you so it’s available for quick shots.  It’s nimble, and you can grab a photo and go.

Here’s how to use your iPhone to grab great photos that really pop on social:

Research Your Shots Inspiration

The chances that you’re going to consistently think of an amazing shot just off the cuff are kinda slim.

If you consistently shoot food at your restaurant, spend time looking at food like yours.  See what is a scroll stopper for you and what elements really catch your eye.  That way when the moment strikes, you’ll have some fresh inspiration ready to go and you’ll know what’s a scroll stopper for you and shoot to that.

If you have some advance notice of what you want to promote — an amazing new outfit, a creme brulee feature or an upcoming event — search the hashtag of what you’re shooting and save those shots on Instagram (the little flag in the right hand corner at the bottom of the picture).  Right before you shoot, pull up those saved photos and bring elements from your favorites into what you’re shooting.

iphone make good photos great

Use Up That Natural Light

Especially when you’re shooting food, if you can get outside, get outside.  If that’s not possible, shoot next to a big window, under an awning or even on a loading dock.  Natural light just makes photos glow and if you can get it, use it!

iphone make good photos great

Get Up Close & Personal

This is one of my favorite ways to get a new angle on an everyday item.  Get up close, flip your phone upside down to get the camera focal point even closer and get down on your hands and knees if you need to.

A quick word on portrait mode — I know a lot of people really love to make this the default way they shoot and it definitely has its time and place, but I think you lose a lot of control when you shoot in that exclusively, especially for close up shots.

iphone make good photos great

Shoot from ALL the Angles

The cool thing about photography is you just never know what you’re going to get until you get it.  Get under the subject, get close to it or go for an aerial view.  Get lots of different angles so you have lots of choices of what to post.

iphone make good photos great

iphone make good photos great iphone make good photos great

Edits Make Good Photos Great

As much as I love natural light, I also live in Illinois and so far the weather has never taken my personal preferences into account.  Sometimes it’s cloudy and that’s the only time you have to shoot.  Sometimes you have 30 seconds to shoot a weekly dinner special under a heat lamp before it goes out and you get what you get while the chefs give you the side eye.

I have a few favorite editing apps that are my go to.  First, if you can find a great preset for Lightroom that matches your brand vibe, it will save you a ton of time getting a cohesive look without having to rely on a standard Instagram filter.  I find all of my favorite presets on Etsy and most of my favorites have been $5 or less.

iphone make good photos great

When a picture needs a little more attention (see the heat lamp example above), my go to is Snapseed.  I think Lightroom and Snapseed are comparable with their editing capabilities, but I learned on Snapseed and I’m just faster on it, so go with what you’re comfortable with.  In Snapseed you can adjust brightness, contrast, adjust highlights/shadows, sharpen and more.  It’s like a handheld Photoshop.

iphone make good photos great

That’s it!  I hope these tips help you feel more confident when shooting content from your iPhone.  Any challenges you’ve faced with getting great shots on your iPhone?  I’d love to hear in the comments!

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