Mastering the iPhone Camera | Aaron Raymond | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. IPhone Intro

    • 2. IPhone Setting

    • 3. PhotoMode

    • 4. Portrait Mode

    • 5. Square and Pano Modes

    • 6. Video and slow mo

    • 7. Time-Lapse Mode

    • 8. Photos

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About This Class

Join National Geographic photo instructor R. Aaron Raymond. Aaron is a professional photographer who has traveled the world, and he's passionate about helping people capture memorable images. Here, he takes you on a journey to learn how to take better pictures with your iPhone. The iPhone is most popular camera in the world, and if you know how to use it well, it can take some pretty amazing pictures. In this class, Aaron reviews each mode and setting. You will finish the class with a full understanding of the technical aspects of the iPhone Camera App. 

This class is limited to the more technical aspects of the camera. It should be noted that composition is arguably more important to create great images, so please also watch my class on composition. 

Great Composition: Creating Better Photographs

Meet Your Teacher

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Aaron Raymond

Photo Instructor, Nat Geo Expeditions


I started my career as an underwater photographer, which blossomed from my love for the ocean. I grew up on a sailboat diving for abalone off the coast of California. I love to photograph landscapes, nature, and wildlife - anything that allows me to capture fleeting moments and showcase the interaction of light and the natural world. I have traveled as a photographer from the depths of Madagascar's oceans to the heights of the Himalayas, cresting them at 18,500 feet on a Royal Enfield motorcycle to capture life on all sides of the planet.

After studying marine biology for two years, I attended and graduated from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, one of the world's top photography schools. I have taught photography workshops in the San Francisco bay are... See full profile

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1. IPhone Intro: Hello and welcome to mastering the iPhones camera. My name is Aaron Raymond. I've been a professional photographer and photo instructor for 15 years, and today we're gonna learn about cameras on phones, specifically the iPhones camera app. Now there are a ton of phones with good cameras and kind of camera APS for the iPhone. But today, I'm just gonna focus on the iPhones built in camera app. So the best camera is the one you have on you. And almost everyone almost always has their phone on them. And the iPhone is an amazing camera. The current ones. 12 megapixels. That's twice the megapixels of my first professional DSLR. It has amazing close focusing abilities. It's really easy way to do Pan owes. Um, it has four k video time lapse slo mo. Granted, if you have a good DSLR or a specialized four k video camera, it's obviously going to be way better. But for as good a cameras, the iPhone is those other camera manufacturers should probably be ashamed of themselves. The, uh, the camera's only a small part of the iPhone, and it's a relatively small part of the cost of the iPhone. I have this massive $5000 cannon, that is, it's definitely better, but it's not orders of magnitude. Better like it should be. So having an amazing camera in your pocket all the time is a big part of making great images. But you also need to know the technical aspects of your camera and its limitations, which is what this class is going to focus on. You also have to have an eye for good composition, and that's not something people are born with. You have to develop it. Uh, anyone could do it, though. It just takes time and practice. I recommend watching my skill share class on composition. You can find the link in the description. So without further ado, let's get started with the iPhone skin wrap. 2. IPhone Setting: So before we actually get into the camera app, I want to adjust the camera's settings. So I'm going to open up the little settings there, and then I'm going to scroll down and find the camera app. It's quite a ways down here it is right here. So I believe this is set to the way that the iPhone defaults. So we're gonna just start at the top. We're gonna go to preserve settings. This is the way it should look. I like to leave. Um, only the live you on. So what this is doing is it's preserving the settings of the last time you used the camera . I usually have it set to photo, and I would like it to default to photo. So if I accidentally leave it on pan, our portrait or video modes, I'd like it to reset to the photo mode. When I opened the camera next, and the same with filters and lighting. If I have a filter on the next time I opened the camera and probably not gonna want the filter on, however, I will turned the live you preserve settings on because the iPhone defaults to live. You on and I kind of think it's gimmicky. Um, I like that to stay off, so I usually turn it off and I want it to be off the next time I opened the camera. So next I always turned the grid on That gives me a ah a three by three grid. It gives me a better sense of what is level. And it sort of adds a rule of thirds guidelines, and I usually just turn on the scan QR codes. Next, we're gonna go to the record video settings. This is the default the 10 80 p h. D. At 30 frames per second. Um, it gives you a little bit of an idea of what the what? The different settings are down here. So the 10. 80 p at 60 frames per second, it's just smoother, and four K is gonna be much bigger files. The four K 24 frames per second is the same frames per second as a Z film. That's what what you would get if you go to the movies. 30 frames per second is video, and 60 frames per second is just smoother. So I'm gonna put it back to the default. And then we have the slow mo and it's just 10. 80 p. You have 1 22 40 So 1 20 means that for one second of recording, you're going to get four seconds of playback. And for 2 40 for one second of recording, you get eight seconds of playback. I like to keep it at 1 20 and then formats We have high efficiency and most compatible. Um, this is just the format that it's recording in. Um, I usually just leave it in high efficiency. HDR stands for high dynamic range. Um, here you can turn on and off auto HDR, and whether or not you want to keep the normal photo, I pretty much never keep the normal photo. If I want it on auto, I just turn it on from the app. And if you have it on here, it doesn't give you the option to turn on or off or auto HDR. In the actual app, the button just disappears. So I'm gonna turn that off also. And that's pretty much everything you need to know about the camera's settings. Next, we will work with the actual app 3. PhotoMode: so there are two ways to get into the camera App on the iPhone. The first is from the lock screen. If you just swipe left, it will bypass the the code or the fingerprint and just take you directly into the camera. Um, this is a great way to give somebody 9000 selfies, even if you don't have their pass code. But you have their phone. Um, the second way is to just touch the camera icon and this brings up your camera and across the bottom we have the thumbnail of the last image you took and that takes you into that image in the photos app. We're gonna touch the little back arrow up in the top left corner, and the next thing we have is the shutter. The white button in the middle is the shutter release, and the next icon is the reverse camera icon. And there's me. Let's turn that back around. And we have the different modes. We have portrait mode, we have square, we have Pano. Then we have all the video modes on the other side. But I'm gonna go over the photo mode right now. So right above that we have a little one X in a circle. This is only going to be there. If you have two lenses, you can switch lenses. It goes to the two X. So the iPhones that two lenses are I believe it started at the seven plus and then the eight plus, um, and the iPhone 10. And anything newer than that's gonna have to two lenses. Um, you can also zoom by pinching or by touching the little icon and sliding your finger left and right Goes up to 10. Plus, I'm gonna leave it on one for now. Then across the top, we have the little flash icon. I usually leave mine off. Um, you can turn on our auto auto works pretty well. Um, then we have HDR. This button will only show up if you have the HDR auto turned off in your settings. Um, touch little HDR and it goes on and off. And auto, I usually leave mine on auto. What HDR is doing is it's taking several exposures at the same time and combining them in software so you'll get better highlight detail in better shadow detail. HDR comes on automatically if it's a contrast you seen You can see the little HDR in yellow . Um, right under the live photos button. Um, that's indicating that my scene is a little contrast e c. It went away right there. Um, but it comes back when I get into a slightly contrast your scene. The next icon over is the live photo. You know, I feel like live photos a little gimmicky. It's basically just three seconds to video. I'll take one. And then and then we're gonna go in and look at those. And if I just touch and hold on, the image is gonna show me my three seconds of video. It's just like a choppy three seconds of video that Apple's really proud of. I don't know why. I think it's totally gimmicky. Next, we have the self timer. Um, it should be off. We have three seconds and 10 seconds. Self timer. I'm gonna show you what a three second self timer does. Look, countdown 321 and it takes a burst of 10 images when I show you again. Okay, so there's 10 images and then we can go through and select which one you want. So the iPhone puts a little circle on the filmstrip beneath the one that it thinks is best , and it's looking for closed eyes. If you're taking a picture of a person, um, I will show you that later and focus and imagine exposure to. So I like the one that it likes to click done. And then I'm only gonna keep my favorite. You can keep everything if you want, and then so much in that back off. And then the next one we have is the filters. The three circles are supposed to represent filters. We have the original. We have vivid, which is just, ah, more saturated, vivid, warm David. Cool. So it's slightly blue and slightly yellow or orange. And then we've dramatic, which is just, um, it's just contrast year when we have dramatic, warm, dramatic cool. Then we have the black and whites. I'm going to leave it on original, and I almost never use this because you could do all of these things in post also, so something that a lot of people don't realize is that you can use the volume buttons for shutter release. Also volume up, volume down. It doesn't matter and and you can do bursts with these two, so if you hold it down, it's gonna just count up a little circle at the bottom. It's counting. The numbers gives you. There's 15 the 16 there. Soon we'll turn it back to horizontal and use the regular shudder. So there's 13 and it works on the reverse camera, too. So let's look at that and see which one we want to select. So I'm just gonna touch the select down the bottom in the middle. And it thinks that that one's the best. You can see the circle on the film strip at the bottom. Ah, I'm not sure which one I think is best. I'm gonna go with that one. So I'm touching a little circle in the lower right hand corner of the image that I'm gonna select, done, and then I'm only gonna keep my favorite and I'm gonna turn that around so I'm not looking at myself. Burst mode is great for things that are happening quickly. If you want to catch somebody's expression or if you're shooting dolphins or whales or something like that, use the burst mode. Let's talk about exposure now. One of the issues that people often have with with cell phone images is when they're taking a picture of a person, they'll be backlit and the face will be dark. Um, if you just touch on the person's face, it will. It will expose for the face. So if I touch in the foreground, so it's exposing for the foreground. Right now, I raise up and touching. The sky is going to expose for the sky. So how it was white before or you can touch and hold and you get autofocus auto exposure lock. So now it's locked there, and wherever I moved the camera, it's going to keep the same focus and the same exposure. And then I could just move my finger up to increase exposure. I'm just touching anywhere on the screen and down decreases exposure, and then you could just touch anywhere on the screen and it turns it off. So I think that's just about everything you need to know about the photo mode in the iPhones camera 4. Portrait Mode: so the next mode we're going to work on is portrait mode. Now. Portrait mode is only gonna be on your camera if you have an iPhone with two lenses. What portrait mode is doing is it's taking the main picture of your subject with the long lens, and then it's taking an out of focus picture with the wide lands, and then it's merging them to to give you a sense of depth of field. So because there's only one lens, you obviously lose the rear facing camera across the top. We have the the flash, the HDR, the timer and the filters. Those still all work. So instead of the switching lens icon at the bottom of the image, we have the different portrait moods. We have natural light, studio light, contour, light stage light and stage mono. So Natural light is just using the image as it's taken off of the camera studio light. You can think of it just being more saturated. I'm sure there's a lot of other things going on behind the scenes, like local contrast adjustments, Contour Light is just contrast here, so I'm just going to take a few images on the different settings of my lovely wife. Tiffany here is a natural light, and it takes a second for it to merge. And then we're gonna look at it. And as you can see, the she is sharp and the background is out of focus. And in the 1st 3 settings, the phone is taking what's sharp, and it's thinking that that's the subject. So anything it's not sharp. It's just throwing out of focus with the second image, the out of focus image and because of the deep depth of field of the iPhone. If your subject is further than eight feet away, it's not gonna be able to tell what's in focus and with out of focus. So you have to be closer than eight feet for it to figure out where the line of demarcation between the in focus and the out of focus is supposed to be. So with stage, light and stage light mono, which is just the black and white version of stage light, you have to be shooting a person because the cameras using facial recognition to try and figure out what's your subject and what's not your subject. And then when you take a picture with stage light on. It takes a much longer time to try and figure out what's in. What's the subject. And as you can see, it makes the background black. The line of demarcation between your subject and the background is not particularly great. The algorithm really needs a little bit more work and fine tuning, so there's still a reason to hire a professional photographer, and that is just about all you need to know about portrait mode. 5. Square and Pano Modes: in this video. We're going over this square mode, and the panna mode square is basically just a compositional thing. I almost never use it, because again, you can do in post. Um, if you're younger, you'll probably call it the Instagram format. If you're older and know something about photography, you'll probably call it the hostile blood format. We have all of the same controls. We can zoom. We can switch lenses. Um, the only thing we don't have is a live photo. I'm not sure why the life photo doesn't show up, but, um, but apparently they take that away. If you're on the square format and then let's go over to Pano Pano, you lose everything. You can't zoom. You can't. You can't do the front lens. You lose all of the controls of the top. The only thing you can do is switch lenses. So there's the longer lens, and there's the wider lens. And what you can do with Pano panels are pretty cool is a super easy way to do them. You just hit the shutter and then move the phone. It tells you to go up or down with the little arrow, will tell you to slow down if there's not enough light, and then we have a really easy way to do the Pano going back to the camera app on panel mode. If you touch the little arrow, it will switch directions. So if you want to do it this direction, you just touch little arrow and it goes the other way. And then you can touch the shutter release again to stop it. It works with verticals to I can go up. I'm gonna try to get that tree is going to go up, but I'm going to stop it. And then I'm gonna touch little arrow and I'm gonna go down and let's look at that. Very cool. And I'm gonna show you guys some other cool things you can do with the panna mode at another location. Okay, so these few interesting things you can do with the panel mode takes advantage of the way the iPhone makes Panoz lays them down in strips. So let me show you a few things. Okay? Fear and are you ready? Okay, go. So I'm having my son pose for me, and then I'm moving past him, and then he's running around behind me. It's going to take a minute. Just run up that way. So he's actually going into the scene a little bit, but it belongs is not in the middle of seen. And he's not standing still. Okay, You don't have to get him all the way out of the screen first. OK, go for it there. Run behind me again. I'm pretty shaky, and then we're gonna go past him again, and I'm gonna hit the stop button, and we're gonna look at that. Turn it sideways. You can see it a little bigger. And now we have him there. You have him there, and we have him there. So what we're gonna do now is we're going to manipulate the Pano and get some artifact ing and some distortion. Okay, Go. So I'm having them walk against the direction of the piano, and it's just gonna make him really thin. Okay? Walk the other way. I'm gonna hit the button. And now we're gonna look at those pretty cool. So we have him there and there, and now he's, like, distorted, and it's just artifact ing all over the place. And let's look at the last one and is really thin, and you can only sore to see his face. Okay, And that's a few cool things you can do with Pano. 6. Video and slow mo: So in this video, we're gonna go over the video mode and the slow mo mo. Um, as you can see all of the still modes square piano, portrait photo, they'll have a white shutter release, and all the video modes have a red shutter release. So that's video slo mo time lapse video has a solid circle. Slo mo has a little dotted circle, and time lapse has a circle that sort of looks like a clock on video mode. We can zoom in pinch to zoom zoom, just like on the photo mode, and we have, and we have exposure point selection. You can change exposure by touching different things, and we have the autofocus auto exposure lock. The same as the same is the photo and in rear camera also have the focus selection when I touch it up in the light part on touch in the dark part. In the top we have the flash, which is basically just a led that turns on and off. It's on, that's off. It also has auto, and then we have the timer at the top just to show you how long you've been recording. A lot of people shoot in portrait mode so vertically. Um, it's getting more acceptable as more people view their videos on a cell phone. But I prefer horizontal. Once you're recording, you get a little white button, and that is to take stills. And this stills will just go into your camera roll. So I'm just gonna shoot a little video that is pretty basic. It's just gonna be basically to show you how to cut the in point in the out point and adjust the speed of your video. It won't be interesting at all until I add in the slo mo So I'm just gonna put my hand out there, hit the shutter, give it a little bit of lead time, and then I'm going Teoh, flip the quarter And then if we want to edit it, we just touched the thumbnail and brings the last video and hit edit So you can see the film strip across the bottom and you can drag the start point in the in point around. I'm gonna have it start right about there. I'm going to move to the end point and have it end just before it hits the ground and we'll see what that does. And it looks like I caught it just after it bounced. So just move it in a little bit more and then hit, done and save as new clip. I'm gonna go for slo mo with slow mo You can still switch lenses in, still zoom, you lose the front camera. So I'm just gonna get down here on my stomach and film the end of that sequence. And I'm just gonna do that by dropping the quarter several times until I get a good one on the concrete and I'm gonna film it in slow mo leaving a little bit of lead in time and a little bit of lead out time. So that looks like a good one and retouch edit. And then we can adjust the in and the out point and the point at which we change speeds. So if I just play it like this, it's going to spend a lot of time after the drop. So I'm gonna make it start to slow down just before it enters the frame and I'm going to bring the other end and so that it speeds up. Just a zit stops moving. I think That's probably pretty good right about there. And then you can Onley addressed the the time change when you haven't changed the starting and ending point of the of the video So in the box turns yellow down below You can see the the adjustments turn turn gray up at the top And that's what I've got So I'm just gonna hit done and I'm gonna save that as a new clip. Then I stitch them together and high movie did adjust This feeds a little bit further on and I don't know that much about I movies, so I'm not gonna go into too much detail about it. You can see it looks pretty good and it's not great, but I think it's a pretty good example of what you could do with the video and slow mo 7. Time-Lapse Mode: So here we are in my car. I think it'd be a good place to go over the time lapse mode. Um, I have my camera mounted on the dash mount that I usually used for navigation. And I'm just gonna drive around our neighborhood and show you how the time lapse works. So I'm just going to touch the little start button and then I'm gonna drive around. Never play with your phone while you're on the road. So one minute of recording is about four seconds of playback, so I'm just gonna drive around for about five minutes or so, and that will be about 20 seconds of playback. As you can see, it's garbage day and the leaf vacuum truck hasn't stopped by it. I'm not going to spend too much time showing you this whole five minute drive. No, I'm just gonna cut too. The playback. I did stop it. All of these stop signs, you can edit it just like the regular videos, such a little edit button. And then you can slide the start point and the endpoint around, and we'll give you a preview of exactly where you're sliding it too. And then you can hit done, and it will save it as a new clip. And if you want to speed it up or slow it down, you can do in I'm movie for IOS. Unfortunately, you can't change the speed in settings because it's so closely tied to the camera app. In the next video, we're going to briefly go over editing your images in the photos app. 8. Photos: so there's a slimmed down version of the photos app in the camera app that allows you to edit your images. So if you want to get there, you just touch the little thumbnail in the lower left hand corner. And if you want to go back to the camera from there, you click the little arrow, the back arrow in the upper left hand corner. If you want to get to the photos at from here, you can just click on the also does, and that takes you over to the photos app. So I'm just gonna go back by going through the home menu. So we go back to that across the bottom. We have little box with the arrow up. It's the Sindh symbol so we can do all kinds of things in here. We can text it to people with email to people. We can put it in a shared album. We can airdrop it. Right now, I have an airdrop open to my Mac book. Then we can copy it or make a slide show, and I will show you how airdrop works later. Next over, we have the heart so that you can favorite it if you want. And then we have the edit and then back in the corner, we have the trash. So the edit is what I'm gonna focus on mostly right now. So you noticed in the upper right hand corner we have a little magic wand that tells the phone to do whatever it thinks needs to be done to the image. You can just tap it in and turn it off across the bottom. We have cancel, which obviously just cancels. And then we have the crop, which, if you want to crop it, crop it to wherever you want. And we have the straighten tool. I like it right there. And then the next thing we have over on the bottom are the filters. Is there all the same filters we can use when we're shooting in the photos app it vivid, vivid warms a bit cool, dramatic. We have the black and white versions over there, but I'm just gonna put it back to the original. The next tool we have on the bottom row are the adjustments you can control. How light the images by touching light and just sliding it back and forth. Then we have a little list icon over on the right side, and it lets you do each one individually. Now. I went through and explained each of these on my original recording, but it made for a 15 minute video, so I decided to cut it all out. I'm just going to touch the little collapsed icon on the right side. Go down to color. This basically just makes it more or less saturated again. You can look at the list and you could do each of those things individually. Then we have the black and white. What the black and white slider is doing is it's simulating putting different colored filters over the lens. If you look at the color image, we have the red and the blue brick right in the front, and when we go to black and white there about the same tone because of the same color density. But if we slide it over, it simulates putting a red filter on, so the blue gets darker and the red gets lighter. If we keep sliding, it changes filter color, and then we get the read gets darker, and then, if you want to turn it back off. You just touch the little being w Okay, the next thing we're going to do is go over editing live photos, life, and we're gonna touch, edit, and we have all of the same controls across the bottom. We have the magic wand up in the right hand corner. We have the mute in the left hand corner and in the middle we could turn on or off Live photo. If you turn it off, it just turns the key frame into a still image. And then we have the film strip across the bottom. We could drag the start point and stop point around like we can in a video. And then the little white box is showing you where a key frame is. So this is the frame that is going to be displayed as your thumbnail. So we slide it around until we find what we like. And then we say, make key photo and then we had done and you'll see in the film strip, the key photo is displayed, so there's one other interesting thing you can do with the live photos, so you go into the main photos app. If you swipe up. Just touch the picture and swipe up. You get some more effects, we can loop it. So this is just going to play it over and over again, or if we slip up again, we can bounce it. So this is just gonna make it go back and forth is probably not the best image for demonstrating Bounce or we could do long exposure. And what that's doing is taking all of the things that are still in the frame and keeping them still. But it's blurring the parts of the image that are moving, so it's sort of simulates a long exposure. I'm gonna go back to the regular live photo, and that's editing live photos. Next, I'm going to show you some unique features of editing images that were taken in portrait mode. So across the bottom we have all the same controls that we have on the other ones. The cameras saved both images that it took so you can change the different settings. After you've taken the picture, you can even turn portrait mode often on you can see in the background you get sharper because this is all one image and then you can blur it out again, and I like that best, So I'm going to click. Done. Earlier, I said, We come back to airdrop and airdrop is another way of sharing your photos directly to another iPhone or another Apple product. Right now, I'm near my Mac book pro so my Mac book pros coming up as something to share with. So I just tapped Mac book Pro Note sending, and now it's sent. So that's gonna show up in my downloads folder. So if you're having a hard time air dropping, you need to make sure that airdrop is on the airdrop. Controls are much harder to find now on the new IOS. Time to go to my home screen. I'm gonna swipe up. And if you just push on the box on the upper left hand corner where your airplane mode is, you'll get two more items below one is airdrop. I have receiving off now and the other is personal hot spot. So if you touch on air drop, you have receiving off contacts only or everyone. I usually just leave mine on everyone because it will alert you if somebody is trying to air drop something to you that I was gonna go back. I'm not gonna talk about video because I talked about the video editing while I was actually doing the video modes. That's just about everything you need to know about the technical aspect of using your iPhones camera. I can't stress enough how important good composition is to making good images, though. So I recommend watching my composition video. The link is in the class description. Thank you.