The iPhone has one of the most powerful built-in cameras of all smart phones, but you might have difficulty taking high-quality shots at first. Here are a few tips to help you improve your iPhone photography.

1. Take the time to prepare your lighting

One of the major advantages of the iPhone 4S is its eight-megapixel camera’s extraordinary lens, which can take great pictures in almost any imaginable light conditions. Whether you’ve got the new iPhone 4S or an older model, however, your pictures will look better if you stage the lighting a bit. Adding a few lights to your back can bring out the details in your subject, but experiment with different light setups to figure out what works best in various situations. Remember to leave the flash off if you’re going to be setting up your own lighting effects.

2. Find good photography apps

While the iPhone’s basic camera app works adequately, it’s not ideal and it’s very basic. At the very least, look into apps like Hipstamatic that give you cool filters, but experiment with apps that allow you to change brightness, contrast, saturation and the like. You’ll find one that you like fairly quickly, and you won’t be limited to the simple shots.

Invest in a stylus if you’re interested in applying a lot of effects to your photos. A cheap stylus will give you a much more precise touch than the edge of your finger.

3. Don’t use the iPhone’s zoom

The digital zoom feature isn’t great for serious photographers, so get closer to your subjects whenever you can and try to avoid zooming. Likewise, get to know all of the limitations of the iPhone, including the aforementioned light limitations. You’ll waste fewer shots and have a better time taking pictures.

When you get the hang of it, the iPhone is a pretty powerful portable camera. The key to learning its capabilities is plenty of experimentation. Put some time into taking high-quality photos and you’ll quickly figure out its secrets.

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