Even though we’re all carrying around phones with professional-quality cameras these days, not all of us know how to take professional-quality photos.

Learning how to take professional photos with your iPhone is good for more than just expressing yourself better. Great photos can help you get noticed on social media — both humans and social media algorithms appreciate interesting visual content.


  1. Turn on grid to follow the rule of thirds

One simple iPhone photography trick is called the rule of thirds. This rule divides the field of your image into a three-by-three grid.

Placing your photo’s main subjects along these lines creates more visually compelling images.


  1. Create a sense of depth

When we first learn to compose a shot, we usually only think about the frame in two dimensions. But our eyes love to be tricked into seeing depth in a flat object like a photo.

Take advantage of this by emphasizing depth in your composition. As we just saw, you can do that with leading lines, but that’s not the only way.

Placing a close-up subject against an out-of-focus background is a simple way to create a sense of depth.


  1. Use portrait mode

In iPhone photography, “portrait” can mean two things. One meaning is the frame’s orientation.

“Portrait” can also refer to one of the iPhone camera app’s settings. Selecting portrait mode will make your portraits more striking. You can find the setting just next to photo mode, above the shutter button.

This setting adds blur to the background so that the photo’s subject will stand out even more.


  1. Adjust focus and exposure settings

Your iPhone’s automatic camera settings make your life a lot easier, but sometimes you need to take matters into your own hands. Two settings that are easy to adjust yourself are exposure (how much light the camera lets in) and focus.

The iPhone will guess what the subject of your photo is and focus on it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always guess right. To focus on something else, tap the screen where you want to focus to override your phone’s guess.

You can do the same thing for the exposure settings. Once you’ve tapped where you want to focus, swipe up or down to create a brighter or darker exposure.


  1. Use HDR for photos with a wide range of light levels

HDR (high-dynamic-range) photos combine multiple shots taken simultaneously to produce a composite image.

Use HDR when your photos contain some very dark areas and some that are very bright. The HDR image will give you a level of detail that a standard photo couldn’t.

You can set HDR to be On, Off, or Automatic by tapping the HDR icon at the top of your screen in the iPhone camera app.