One of the best ways to improve your iPhone photography is to use the manual focus feature. It’s really quite simple, and can make a huge difference.
The iPhone will automatically set the focus for you. Most of the time, this works well- and this is how most people take pictures. But, sometimes you might want to focus on something different- maybe something more in the background, or something more to one side or the other in the scene. This is when manual focus comes in to play. Once you start using manual focus, you might just find that you use it all the time, since it’s so easy.
These 2 photos illustrate what I mean.
In this one, I’ve focused on the pink flower in the foreground of the scene. The pink flower is in focus, and the yellow flowers in the background are blurred.
In this one, I’ve focused on the yellow flowers in the background. In this case, the yellow flowers in the background are in focus, and the pink flower in the foreground is blurred.
Open your camera, look at the scene, and just tap the screen on the area that you want to have in focus. That’s it! A yellow box will come up with a little sun icon next to it, letting you know that this is now where the camera is focusing. Now, just take the picture as you normally would.
When you tap to focus, the camera will also automatically set the exposure at that point.
Simply put, exposure refers to how dark or bright your photo is. Too much light, and your picture will be too bright (overexposed), too little light and the picture will be too dark (underexposed). After you tap to manually focus, and after you see the yellow box with the sun icon next to it, if you feel the picture is too bright or too dark, you can touch the sun icon and slide it up or down to make the image brighter or darker.
Take it a little further…
Another feature you might want to play around with is AE/AF LOCK. This stands for auto exposure/auto focus lock. This too is really easy to do, and can give you some great results.
When you tap to use the manual focus feature, instead of just tapping, tap and hold, and you’ll get the AE/AF LOCK icon.
Now, the focus and exposure is locked at that point- although you still have the option of sliding the sun icon to manually change the brightness or darkness of the picture. So, why would you want to do this? Well, if you’re expecting movement or some other change to the picture, your focus and exposure won’t change. This setting is really helpful when you're taking a close-up photo. Also, once the focus and exposure is locked, you can re-compose the scene, and the focus/exposure won’t change. To release the lock, just tap on the screen. This can be an interesting and useful feature… so I encourage you to play with it.
I hope you found this helpful... till next time!