iPhone​ Camera Settings You Need to Understand

The cameras on iPhones are getting better and better.

They allow you to take high quality photos without needing an expensive camera.

A lot of the time, when you have a high quality camera, it’s not always as easy as pointing the camera at the subject, pressing the shutter button, then getting the exact picture you want.

There are usually a number of different settings that you should at least be aware of before you start using your camera.

The camera settings can be just as important as trying to take the picture itself. They can literally change the way you take photos.

iPhone Camera Setting to be Aware Of


Setting up gridlines is going to be beneficial for everybody. No matter what your level of photography skills are, using gridlines are going to help you.

Turning on the gridlines for your iPhone camera is going to help you make sure everything is balanced and level in your pictures.

It creates a 3×3 grid that you see while you’re taking any picture. If you’re somebody that struggles to get things centered or things always seem a little bit off in your photos, the grids are going to help.

Grids greatly help your composition. A picture with great composition is going to look like an amazing photo.

HDR Mode

HDR stands for high dynamic range. This is something that everyone should turn on when they are wanting to take pictures with their iPhone.

This mode will allow for the camera to capture much more details when it comes to scenes that are both light and dark in some areas.

You won’t be missing out on any details in a picture.

Lighting in photography, no matter what camera you’re using is one of the most important aspects of photography.

In HDR mode, your iPhone will be taking 3 different pictures at different exposures. It will then combine those 3 pictures to give you one, very detailed photo.

So if you have a photo that has a lot of shadows and areas that have a lot of light, you will be able to see the detail in both of those areas instead of just in on or the other.


Focus is going to be something that photographers at any level need to get used to. Some photos need more work with focus than others.

With the iPhone, you’re going to have a large depth of field. This means that it’s going to have less problems keeping things in the foreground and background in focus.

This does not mean that focus shouldn’t be something at the forefront of your mind when you’re taking a picture.

You can still end up with a blurry photo where your subject isn’t in focus at all.

The best way to ensure that you have the best possible focus is to tap on the screen wherever your subject is. When you tap on the subject, the phone will make sure that the focus is in this area.

Tapping and holding on the subject will lock on the subject. This turns on the ae af lock. This is the auto exposure/auto focus feature that will really come in handy when you’re taking any picture.


Although your iPhone will automatically adjust the exposure for you, it’s something that won’t be perfect every single time you open the camera app.

If you can notice that your exposure isn’t necessarily right or the way you want it, you can override your iPhone’s exposure settings.

You can do this by accessing the exposure slider.

To gain access to this, tap and hold on the subject like you would when you’re trying to turn on the auto focus. Remember how that will turn on the ae af lock?

Well the auto exposure will turn on the exposure slider. Once this is on, you can slide your finger up and down to adjust the exposure of the photo.

It seems simple, but it’s a setting that a lot of people have never known about or just seem to forget.

Burst Mode

Burst mode is something that can really come in handy when you’re trying to get a picture of a moving subject.

Sometimes getting the right timing can always be difficult for photographers.

Luckily, with your iPhone, burst mode allows you to make up for your bad timing.

How do you use burst mode?

It’s actually very simple.

Instead of pressing the shutter button and hoping you timed it right, you can press and hold the shutter button.

This is going to allow your camera to keep taking pictures until you lift your finger from the shutter button.

In this mode, you’re going to be able to take up to 10 pictures per second. This is almost going to ensure that you capture the right moment from any moving subject that you’re photographing.


We’ve all seen a movie or show where somebody is getting ready to take a picture then they press a button, run in front of the camera, and then the picture is taken.

This is a self-timer that a majority of cameras have.

Your iPhone camera has a self-timer setting as well.

You can make the choice to have a self-time of 3 or 10 seconds. You will then have to wait 3 or 10 seconds before your phone actually takes the picture.

Portrait Mode

Starting with the iPhone 7 plus, your camera will come equipped with a portrait mode.

This mode will allow you to take pictures that have blurry background while the subject is in perfect focus.

The subject will actually be the focus point in the photo. There will be minimal things in the background that can distract your eyes because it’s blurry.

To access portrait mode, you need to open your camera, then swipe until you see the word portrait at the bottom of the screen.


Square is another shooting mode that you can change your camera too.

It changes the aspect of the photo you’re taking.

For example, a regular photo is going to have a 5:4 size image. This means that it’s going to be a rectangle, which is what most of your pictures probably are.

Square will take a picture in 1:1 size images.

This means that it’s going to be perfect for all of the Instagram photos you want to take. There won’t be any cropping needing when you have your pictures in a 1:1 size for your social media.


Pano is a shooting mode that will allow you to take a panoramic photo.

This will make the image into a 16:9 size.

You’ll be having a long rectangle when using this shooting mode.

If you have a landscape that won’t fit into the screen but you want to capture all of it, pano is the shooting mode you want to be in.

While taking the picture, you’re slowly moving from one side to the other.

Your iPhone will constantly be taking pictures until you’re done moving from side to side. The phone will then combine these photos to give you one great panoramic.


This is a feature that the iPhone has that can help you cut out anything that’s unwanted from a photo.

Say you want to post a photo to your social media, but the regular picture you took is too big for the platform you’re posting too. This means you have to cut some of the photo out.

To do this, you’re going to have to crop something from the photo.

The crop tool allows you to resize the photo to your liking while cutting out the parts you don’t want in it anymore.

Portrait Lighting

One of the great things about being in portrait mode is that it has its own specific lighting settings.

The different types of lighting effects that you can choose from while in portrait mode can really change the dynamics of your photo. They can also give you a different perspective on the photo you’re trying to get.

It’s not something that you have to use, but it’s definitely something that’s fun to play around with so that you can see the different kind of looks you can get from certain photos.

Live Photo

Live photos are basically mini movies that you’re capturing.

They can really help you tell a story behind a picture.

With Live Photos, you aren’t just taking a picture, but you’re getting a 3 second clip of the picture.

To turn this setting on, open the camera app, and the symbol for Live Photos is at the top of the screen. All you have to do is tap it. Once you do this, live photos are on and you can capture these mini moments that can really tell the full story behind a picture.

iPhone Settings are Plentiful

There are so many different setting and camera modes that you can play around with when it comes to you iPhone camera.

They all allow for a different type of picture, but at the same time can give you a quality picture that you’ll be proud of.

It’s something that you need to experiment with before you can really be comfortable with all of them.