Tips and Tricks to Capture High-Quality Graduation, Summer Photos With Your iPhone

With graduations and summer activities right around the corner, there will be many memories to capture. Catching these fleeting moments with a camera can be tricky. And, lugging around a bulky, heavy, expensive camera can get tiring. Fortunately, all that’s needed for high-quality, Pinterest and Instagram-worthy photos is an iPhone.

iPhones have come a long way in taking quality photos – the new Portrait mode on the iPhone 7 Plus is unlike any filter seen before! Follow some of these tips and tricks, and consider downloading a few apps that will help take your i-photography skills to the next level.

Natural Light Is Always Best

Thankfully, most summer activities take place outside, which makes capturing perfect shots much easier. Artificial lighting casts color tones on the photo’s subjects, which results in the need for more photo editing on the back end. Natural light, while not perfect, decreases the amount of color correcting needed.

Use the Grid

The iPhone camera comes with a handy tool called the grid. The grid consists of two sets of intersecting lines that divide the screen into nine squares. These lines help set up the best composition for the shot. A photo tends to look best when the subjects are at the intersection of two grid lines. The lines also help a photographer line up the horizon.

The grid is deactivated by default but it can easily be turned on by going into Settings, tapping on Photos & Camera, and sliding the grid to On.

Tap On the Screen to Set the Focus

When taking a photo, it looks best when there are objects in the foreground and background. Normally, the focus is on the foreground which blurs the background. However, focus can also be put on the background which results in a blurred foreground. Perfect for crowded graduations and parties. Just tap on the screen to tell the camera where to put the focus.

Pro Tip: Use AF/AE Lock to lock the exposure and focus when taking action shots. In lock mode, the focus and exposure will remain the same, making it easier to take quick, multiple shots of the same action. To activate AF/AE Lock just tap and hold on the screen where the focus should be.

Take Multiple Shots

Watching kids interact with some of their school friends for the last time that year is something that should be remembered. Take at least three to four shots of the same scene and pick the best one. That way, if someone blinks or turns their head, there are at least two more pictures to choose from. Unwanted photos can always be deleted, but moments that have passed can never be recaptured.

Pose Some Lighthearted, Fun Shots

Break up the monotony of staged, traditional poses by staging some lighthearted, fun shots. Take candid shots of family members smiling at each other. Or stage some poses in which the subjects are looking at each other instead of straight at the camera. Get creative and have fun.

Use Burst Mode For Action Shots

Burst mode is a handy feature to help capture the perfect action shot when kids are cranking out home runs in little league (or knocking the ball of the tee for the tenth time). To activate burst mode simply hold down the shutter button for half a second or more and the camera will take pictures until the button is released. Having the camera take multiple shots in quick succession minimizes blur and gives many shots to choose from.

Or, consider a few apps to make pictures look even more unique.


Instagram has some great built-in filters to give a photo a different tone or feel. Photos can also be edited using the brightness, contrast, vignette, and other controls within the app. Instagram is perfect for quick, stunning edits.

Adobe Pixlr

Pixlr has some built-in filters like Instagram plus some more robust photo-editing capabilities. Pixlr has the traditional tools like crop, rotate, contrast, and brightness. But, it also comes with the ability to create a double exposure with a photo on top of another photo, blur, heal, and several other tools.

Parents can get pretty creative with these two apps alone. Along with the tips mentioned above, this year’s set of photos is sure to be the best.

Sara Woodard-Ortiz, owner of The HeartFull Journey, is an ally for heartbroken moms who are going through separation and divorce. Her goal is to help moms love themselves during and after divorce as a way to build a foundation to attract a new, satisfying relationship. Sara lives in Danville, IL with her daughter, Olivia, and their cats, Bianca and Katniss. When Sara is not working on her business, you can find her playing Minecraft or drinking coffee at a local cafè.

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