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“Say cheese!” Whip out your phone, snap the photo, upload it to your holiday card and pop
them in the mail to spread some cheer to your family and friends. Easy, right? Wrong. Capturing
holiday memories on your device might be simple, but capturing memories better than ever
with your iPhone camera takes a few tips and tricks. We might not be able to help you get your
toddlers to look at the camera or your teens to crack a smile, but we’re offering the top 3 tips
for taking holiday photos with your iPhone’s fancy camera features.
No matter what angle or lighting you’re shooting, you’ll always be set up for failure if your
settings are off. It’s like baking holiday cookies without the sugar or decorating the tree without
Focus. This first tip doesn’t even require a visit to the ‘Settings’ app. Your child
might be tearing through the wrapping paper of a special gift, and you’re in a
hurry to snap the moment, but don’t forget to ‘focus’ your photo. First, frame
your shot. Then, tap the screen where you want to focus (we recommend that
adorable smiling face). You’ll see a yellow box appear, indicating the focus point.
When you snap the pic, the area you set ‘focus’ will appear crisp. This creates
depth to an otherwise flat photo.
Selfie magic. Let’s face it, some of the cutest photos are taken from an arm’s
length away. Who knows better what better angle to capture your jawline than
yourself? But, if you’re trying to catch your good hair side or show off that
engagement ring, make sure your iPhone doesn’t flip the photo. To fix this,
change the front camera mirroring. Go to settings > Camera and toggle the
switch for “Mirror Front Camera” to “On.” There you go, no more flipping out
over flipped photos!
Grid is gravy. Now, we’re not saying you are a professional photographer, but
with an iPhone grid, you just might feel like one. Turning on grid lines helps you
follow the rule of thirds, which is the method of placing your subject in the left or
right third of an image while leaving the other space more open. The grid also
helps you center a subject. So, this holiday season make sure Santa is right where
you want him in the frame by going to Settings > Camera and toggle “on” next to
Think outside the frame. On new iPhones (iPhone 11 series, iPhone 12 series
and beyond), you can maximize the ultrawide lens option to capture content
outside the frame. “Why would I want to do a thing like that?” you ask. Well,
consider the distracted dog, the wiggly kiddo or the dancing aunt who’s had a
little too much holiday punch. Turning on this feature gives you some room to
edit the photo afterward to grab a little more of the background or shift to
include something that fell out of frame last minute. Go to Settings > Camera >
Composition and enable “Photos Capture Outside the Frame.”
We all have camera rolls full of Independence Day fireworks,
but they never really get shared or printed. Why? Because the photo simply doesn’t do
the bursting lights justice. The same goes for holiday light displays. The memories are
magical but the photos are dismal.
Night mode. The lights shine brightest at night, so it’s important to use Night
Mode for your holiday light display photos. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max (and the iPhone 12 family) use a LiDAR
Scanner to help you get the focus just right by detecting how far away you are
from the subject. Fortunately, night mode turns on automatically when the
iPhone camera detects a low-light environment.
Stay steady. This tip goes without saying, but if you struggle with blurry night
photos, then a shaky hand might be the culprit. There is hope for capturing sharp
holiday light photos, even at nighttime! In low-light settings, the camera uses a
slower shutter speed, so any movement during the long exposure time will
appear as a blur. Try using a tripod for your phone to keep it perfectly still.
Reduce exposure. Don’t you just hate when the dark night sky appears grainy in
your photos? There’s a simple fix for this. When you’re trying to make those
holiday lights pop off the dark sky, adjust your exposure. Do this by tapping the
screen to set the focus on the object you want sharp. Then, swipe down to make
the image darker. Doing this also allows the camera to use a faster shutter speed,
which helps with our previous point above.
We know your family’s smiles don’t need any
altering, but there are a few ways to bring out the best in your holiday photos. Editing
isn’t as complicated as you might think, and a few quick steps can bring a little magic to those festive photos.
Stay in the Photos app. The easiest one-tap edits can be found right there in the
iPhone Photos app. No extra downloads necessary. First, be sure your phone is
running on the latest iOS. Next, open the holiday photo you want to edit and
duplicate it, because when you edit in the Photos app, the original image will get
Explore the easy options. Once you have the photo duplicated, click “edit” in the
top right corner. The icons at the bottom of the screen provide options to spice
up your photo. You can adjust the color, brightness and sharpness. Or, you can
just click the Auto tool for a one-stop-shop edit. Exposure brightens or darkens
the image, Brilliance creates a more vibrant picture and Highlights alters the
brightness of the lighter areas in the shot. Continue playing with the Shadows,
Contrast, Saturation tools and more!
Bring in the apps. If you find that your photo just isn’t “holiday card ready”
within the Photos app, download one of the many highly-rated photo editing
apps. Snapseed is a popular free app to edit photos with a variety of updated
tools like Spot Repair, Brush, Lens Blur and zoom controls. Adobe Photoshop
Camera is another free app option, with in-app purchases, but it requires a bit
more skill to get the fine tuning just right. Photoleap is an iOS only app and has
tools to remove subjects from backgrounds and the option to apply stellar
Now that you have a few tips and tricks under your belt, we hope you’ll gather the family and smile for the camera! Just remember, regardless of lighting, filters and poses, the best part of your iPhone’s Photos app is the cherished memories it holds. Our team at Victra is ready to help you select a device to continue storing memories for a lifetime. Visit one of our Verizon-Victra stores this holiday season!