Gadgets & Toys, Lifestyle

So You Think You Know Everything About Your iPhone Camera? – Tan Lili

Well, I thought I did … until recently, when Vanessa and I discovered some really cool features we never knew existed. Trust me; you’d start looking at your iPhone camera in a whole new appreciative light, too.

With all the features we discovered, it’s no wonder the iPhone camera is the most popular camera in the Flickr community – yes, even against the DSLRs! In fact, the top three cameras right now are of the various iPhone models.



So, without further ado …

The Object That Can’t Stop Moving
You know how you can simply tap to focus? You can also tap and hold to lock the focus – perfect for capturing moving objects! For instance, you’re trying to take a picture of your very fidgety cat. Each time your cat moves, you have to tap your screen to get the focus back from the background to your cat, right?

Here’s a simpler technique: tap and hold the location of your cat on your phone. (Once you’ve successfully locked the focus, you’ll see “AE/AF Lock” at the bottom of the screen.) This way, even when you wave your camera around because your kitty can’t stay still, you’ll still get the perfect shot!

The Secret Remote Shutter Release
Besides tapping the Camera icon to take a picture, you can also press the volume-up button on the side. Okay, maybe that is old news to you … How about this: The volume-up button on your iPhone headphones also acts as a shutter release! Gah! All this while, I could’ve taken a group selfie without looking ridiculous (though the jutting collarbone effect from all that clavicle stretching can be kinda slimming)!

Another great thing about this feature is that it’s great for stability. Simply prop your phone up against a sturdy object on a flat surface, plug your headphones into the headphone jack, fire up your camera app and change it to self-portrait mode, position yourselves to fit the camera screen, grab the headphone cable, and click!

group selfie

The Function No One Bothers Using
You don’t need a fancy-schmancy DSLR to capture a beautiful wide-angle shot. Activate the Panorama mode (under Options) on your camera app, then move your phone steadily from left to right, following the arrow steadily as much as you can. It intelligently stitches images together, so it not only captures moving objects clearly but also gives you a seamless wide-angle shot. Great for capturing nature and skylines.


Did you know you can also capture panoramic shots from right to left, as well as bottom-up and top-down? For the former, simply tap the arrow to reverse the direction. If you want to capture a vertical panoramic shot, like a really tall building, hold your phone horizontally then pan it bottom-up or top-down.

The Photo-Editing Apps You Gotta Have
To date, there are over 900,000 apps available on the App Store; more than 20,000 of them are photography apps. Here are two awesome ones: Mextures and TouchRetouch (both $1.28 each on the App Store).

Mextures is quite possibly the most amazing photo-editing app I’ve seen. It has over 70 original textures (with really awesome names) for you to choose from, all of which specially made for photographers by photographers. The coolest part? You can add more than one texture to your photo to achieve your desired blended effect, and make changes to your added textures at any point, simply by scrolling through your layers. You can even save a custom edit for future use! Mind = blown.

Mextures collage

With TouchRetouch, you can magically erase objects (or people) from a photo without distorting the final image. It cleverly clones the area surrounding the offending object (or person), so it looks picture-perfect – just the way you want it! Perfect for getting rid of blemishes (or an ex).

TouchRetouch collage

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as (now, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.

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