If you are thinking of opening an online store, a blog, enhancing an Instagram account or even doing product reviews on Amazon, you might want to know how to take professional-quality photos from your iPhone with few resources .
We’ve mentioned how easy it is to start a blog , a YouTube channel, an online store… In short, any Internet project from the palm of our hand.
The interesting thing about investing (not spending) almost or more than 1,000 euros in an iPhone or iPad, is that we have a mobile office in our possession. We are talking about investment , not spending, because we have bought a device to do incredible things from anywhere.
One of the most recurrent cases is the blogs or the product reviews , something that can be interesting for our followers or other clients, to know first hand, a personal evaluation of a product in question.
Today we are going to see what we need to have our own home set with professional results, why we should do it and of course, how to make the most of the camera of our Apple devices.
iPhone or iPad cameras
Apple has always boasted about the cameras in its devices. The truth is they have reason to do so. Even in their commercials, they don’t sell us the camera as such or the device itself, they sell us the experience of capturing the moment (as GoPro action cameras do)
It doesn’t matter if you have an iPhone X or an iPhone 6, practically all of them take extraordinary pictures, as long as, we have a good light source . Mobile device cameras tend to be very bad in low light conditions, adding a lot of noise to the images.
So if you have an older iPhone around the house, maybe you can give it a new life as a camera for your projects, which in this case, we’ll limit to object photography for an e-commerce, blog, YouTube, Instagram or even Amazon reviews.
A picture is worth a thousand words
We have heard this phrase more than a thousand times, and it is true. There is no point in working on a good article or review if it is not accompanied by a striking headline and an image attractive , it is the first impact that counts. One of the case studies is Amazon. Amazon relies heavily on customer ratings and reviews to help others make a decision when making a purchase.
Surely, you have looked at some articles on Amazon and wanted to know the opinion of other users. Which is usually the most voted and the one that is usually in the first positions, those that have images .
No matter how short the text is, the impact of a real and well-made image is more powerful than the one that “cures” an assessment that is practically a blog post. You can check it yourself in any Amazon rating.
Furthermore, if we regularly review on Amazon and receive a lot of positive feedback from other customers, it is quite possible that manufacturers and vendors will contact us for reviews in exchange for some kind of compensation .
That’s why taking good pictures of the products is so important. Not only for our Amazon ratings have a high amount of positive votes, also for our own projects have a more careful and detailed image.
As we mentioned before, we have in our hands a valuable device, not only in terms of what it has cost us (which also), but also in terms of performance. One of them, and it is the one we are going to focus on (and never better), is the iPhone camera (no matter the model).
iPhone camera in AE/AF lock mode
By default, the iPhone usually takes pictures with an autofocus . Many times, we’ve heard that we have to download third-party applications to take a manual capture, where this is not entirely true.
The iPhone’s camera can lock the autofocus or activate the exposure lock . This allows us to focus on an object and move the angle without losing focus in the area we have previously designated.
To activate the AE/AF lock mode, we simply have to open the Camera app and press for a few seconds on a specific area. When the message “AE/AF lock” appears at the top in a yellow box, it means that it is activated.
If we click on any other area of the image, this lock will be deactivated to start with the automatic focus that the Camera app has by default. If, on the contrary, we have the AE/AF mode activated and we slide our finger up and down (or the opposite), we will control the brightness input.
Well, this blocking mode is important because it will allow us to capture an image with more accurate parameters and in a faster way than with the automatic mode. With the automatic mode, our iPhone will capture what it “thinks is right”, even if we force it to another point or area of the screen.
Minimalism helps in images
One of the best ways to photograph a product is to use a uniform smooth background . To be able to “play” with the edition of a photograph, it is better to use a black or white background, preferably white, since we will have plenty of room for manoeuvre in the quick edition.
Having a product that we want to photograph for 500 euros to do a review, can be devalued if you use a rug, the tablecloth in your house or even the bedspread (yes, there is everything). If we want the client or other users to focus on the product, we have to highlight it as much as possible.
The minimalism for this helps us a lot, because we are going to use a uniform background that makes the product stand out. If you look at the Apple Store app , you will see that they use this effect, a solid background with the product in question, a brief description and the price. Nothing else.
A milk carton or light box
Yes, strangely enough, the best way to take pictures of objects is to use a small studio, either mobile or permanent. The point is that it doesn’t take up much space and we can ” fool ” the client or users. It’s not that we deceive with the product in question, but by making them believe that the photograph has been taken in a studio, or at least that we’ve put some effort into it.
The most recurrent is a milk carton (not the individual box). It meets all the requirements for adapting to the circumstances of the environment in which we find ourselves, our home. At home, we will surely have one, so it is not necessary to buy a special box.
These usually have a white background . This, applied to a flashlight or LED light connected to a portable battery, will give us enough light for the image to come out sharp and without noise. Likewise, these lights are usually very cheap and fulfil the function of mobility, which is what we are looking for so as not to limit ourselves.
Thanks to the fact that the box is closed (except on one of its sides), the light will bounce back almost equally, achieving an adequate luminosity to practically all the parts of the object we want to photograph.
If we come very high, we can buy a specific box for it , usually do not cost much, except for Foldio , pioneer in this type of portable light boxes, where it was born as a crowdfunding project.
Well, we already know the base where we will place our objects that we want to photograph, but now we need a series of accessories so that the image is perfect and we work comfortably.
Of course, we can dispense with them, but after several tests, it is best to go to the accessories detailed below:
Yes, the headphones that come with any iPhone (the wired ones) It doesn’t matter if it’s with the mini jack or Lighting input. What is interesting is the volume up and down button, as it will act as a trigger.
Thanks to the headset, we have the opportunity to activate the camera shutter release without the iPhone shaking when you press it. If, due to circumstances, we don’t have one, we can use the timer to capture the image without it being shaken, achieving greater clarity as there is no vibration due to the waiting time.
Bluetooth Shutter Release
In some selfies , they usually include a button that acts as a trigger, which of course, we can also take advantage of. Here we find an advantage, the elimination of cables to work more comfortably.
As disadvantage, we will have to be sure that the pile will not leave us stranded in the middle of a photo session. This is unlikely as the consumption of these is minimal and they usually last quite a long time.
Apple Watch (optional)
Thanks to the Apple Watch , we can use the camera’s shutter release from within the clock’s built-in application. This way, just like the shutter release or the headphones themselves, we can take a picture without having to touch our iPhone.
Of course, the cost is much higher, so we only recommend it if you already have an Apple Watch in your possession. In this post we comment how you can do it step by step.
The tripod is one of the fundamental pieces, since it will allow us to choose a suitable height and also to avoid movements. We can use a table tripod or a floor tripod , this last one is the one we know all our life with an adjustable height.
If we don’t want to spend money on a tripod, we can use a mobile phone holder that we have at home. It doesn’t have to be very sophisticated, just that it has a sufficient degree of inclination so that it points at the object without juggling.
USB LED lamp or strip
Although we have already mentioned it in the section on the milk carton, it is not superfluous to clarify some doubts. The ideal would be a strip of LED light that can be stuck on top of the box, as it will give us all the light source we need.
I recommend you to use one with USB connection , since we will be able to connect it to an external portable battery from any place without having to look for a conventional plug. This offers us mobility and comfort.
EVA rubber is a thermoplastic polymer widely used for making dolls and crafts of all kinds. It is easily found in any “Chinese” and is really cheap.
We will use this on the floor and bottom of our box to eliminate imperfections , as well as absorbing shadows and eliminating reflections. It is not 100% necessary, but it is highly recommended.
This accessory is really useful. Its function is simple, to be able to make photographs in 360 degrees . As TimeLaps or capturing an image in each small turn.
The more photos we have, the better the movement, but at the same time, the more weight the image or GIF will have. But without a doubt, it is an extra complement to give you a more professional touch, since we will show the whole object.
The procedure for taking photographs
Well, once we have our box lit and our accessories ready, we simply have to put the object in question in the center of the box, activate the AF/EF lock of the iPhone and play with the brightness of the image.
If we have a dark sludge , we should lower it until the background is even and we only see our object (as in the image above). If, on the other hand, we are using a white background , we will have to increase the brightness as much as necessary.
Note that to determine whether an image is more or less correct, we have to look at the burn zone . If we see that there is a beam of light from the object we want to photograph, we must lower or raise the brightness until it disappears.
Remember to trigger the Bluetooth , with your EardPods or even with the Apple Watch. This way we’ll get a really still image with no unexpected movements.
Never use the zoom
White noise when zooming (iPhone X)
Even if the image seems very far away, never use the iPhone’s zoom . It’s better to capture the distant image and then crop it. Even if you have an iPhone 7, 8 Plus or X, both the zoom and the flash must be turned off because the image will not look good.
If so, bring the iPhone as close as you can to the object, but don’t use the zoom because noise will appear in the image . You may even notice some imperfections in the image, not being too sharp, something we don’t want to happen.
Well, with these recommendations and accessories, you will get some very professional results , both for your own projects, and for some commercial action with very positive results.
What did you think of this idea? Have you carried it out? Have your publications improved with these tips?
- iPhone or iPad cameras
- A picture is worth a thousand words
- iPhone camera in AE/AF lock mode
- Minimalism helps in images
- A milk carton or light box
- Essential accessories
- The procedure for taking photographs
- Never use the zoom