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How to Take Professional-Quality Photos Using your iPhone
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How to Take Professional-Quality Photos Using your iPhone

Learn how to take professional-quality photos using your iPhone and how to apply the rule of thirds for better composition of your iPhoneography.


Taking pictures with your smartphone camera is natural for the hobbyist photographer, and the iPhone takes users to new levels with one of the best point-and-shoot cameras available on a smart device. 

Photo credit: Flickr via Daniela Vladimirova

The iPhone camera is so popular a new type of photography is named for it, iPhoneography. Learn how to incorporate one of the basics of photography composition known as the “rule of thirds” into your shots by using tools available on your iPhone. 

About the “Rule of Thirds”

The “rule of thirds” is a composition grid-based guideline for photographers and artists intended to assist in achieving more appealing imagery than by centering a subject in the center of a photograph. Composed of nine equal parts, the grid consists of two horizontal and two vertical lines. The goal is to align your subjects off-center near the intersection points, creating a sense of dynamic tension and compositional precision.

Getting Started

Activate the grid option for your iPhone 4/4s or 5 cameras by selecting the Settings icon from your main menu, then choose Photos & Camera, next scroll down to Camera and turn on Grid. While you are at it, scroll down to Keep Normal Photo and turn it off. By doing this, you enable high dynamic range or HDR, an option that blends your three best exposures into one photograph. HDR may also be turned on or off from the Camera main screen.

After activating your grid, your iPhone will display a 3 x 3 grid overlay on your image.

The human hand offers a certain amount of subtle shaking. To increase the professionalism of your pictures consider using a tripod to enhance stability. Adorama offers an excellent selection of tripods.


Apply the “rule of thirds” to your landscape by filling two-thirds of your photo with your intended focus such as water, sky or land. For iPhone land shots, your horizon should fall on your preferences of upper or lower horizontal lines. For sky shots such as sunsets or sunrises, align your composition horizon so that the sky fills the upper third and land or water inside the lower third. Consider using a waterproof case when capturing shots in the outdoors.

Upgrade the quality of your iPhoneograpy shots by using telephoto lenses for distance photographs and polarizing lenses to help reduce glare. Telephoto lenses help enlarge distant subjects and assist with normalizing the focal length. The following telephoto lenses are a great choice.


Create better portraits with the “rule of thirds”. The first thing we often notice when looking at a person are their eyes. So, when taking portraits with your iPhone, aim to align the eyes of your subject along the top gridline; this rule also applies to profiles.

Consider using a close-up lens to enhance the quality of your portrait photographs. Check out this selection offered by camera specialists Adorama.

You can further enhance your picture-taking experience with useful iPhoneography apps. Popular iPhone apps include Pic Stitch, Camera Awesome, Camera+, Pho. to Lab and Photo Editor.

The “rule of thirds” makes a good starting point for the hobbyist iPhonegrapher desiring to increase their skills. By applying the “rule of thirds” to your iPhoneography and utilizing these wonderful items, you’ll be able to produce compositionally interesting and intriguing photos.

Related iPhoneography Products

Learn More at the Adorama Learning Center

How has the “rule of thirds” helped your iPhone photography?


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