How to Improve Your iPhone or iPad Camera

Get better iPhone and iPad photos with a new lens and settings

The iPad camera gets better with each new model, but it still isn't a fully-featured camera capable of taking every shot. And while the device's huge screen can make it easier to snap a fantastic photo, the camera lags behind the one found in the iPhone. To take advantage of your mobile device without sacrificing quality, improve your camera and the photos you take with these suggestions.

Instructions in this article apply to devices running iOS 11 or later.

Improve Your Photos Through Settings

Adjust the settings in the Camera app to take better pictures. The easiest way is to turn on HDR photos. This tells the iPhone or iPad to snap multiple photos and merge them to create a high dynamic range (HDR) photograph.

  1. Open the Camera app.

    Camera app on iPad
  2. Tap HDR.

    Improve iPad camera
  3. When HDR is on, HDR appears at the top of the screen.

    Improve iPad camera
  4. HDR automatically runs whenever you take a photo. Use your camera as usual.

If you don't see the HDR option on the iPhone, go to Settings > Camera and turn off Auto HDR.

Edit Photos With the Camera App

The Camera app has built-in filters that can bring out the best in an image. After snapping a photo, a small thumbnail of the picture appears to the right or below the large circular snap button, depending on if the iPad is in landscape or portrait mode. Tap this thumbnail to view the photo full-screen, then tap the Edit button in the upper-right corner.

Improve iPad camera

Use these tools to make changes and enhance a photo:

  • The Magic Wand analyzes a photo and adjusts lighting and color contrast.
  • The Crop tool removes unwanted portions of a photo and can be used to rotate the image.
  • The Filters tools applies filters to a photo that change the brightness, saturation, and color contrast, which can have a dramatic effect on your photo. You can add third-party filters through the App Store.
  • The Dial tool gives you manual control over lighting and color.

When you finish making changes, tap Done to save the image.

Use Live Photos to Improve Your Photography

Live Photos are small video clips the phone captures when you take a photograph on a newer iPhone or iPad. Along with creating moving pictures, you can choose a main photograph from the video to fix defects like a bad facial expression, a blink of the eyes, or a just-missed shot.

The Live Photos function is available on iPhones 6S and later and 9.7-inch iPad Pros and later, running iOS 9 or newer.

Here's how to choose a new image from a Live Photo:

  1. Take a Live Photo or select one from the Camera Roll, then tap Edit in the upper-right corner of the screen.

  2. When editing a Live Photo, the bottom of the screen shows every frame the camera captured. Tap individual slides to preview the image.

    Improve iPad camera
  3. Tap Make Key Photo to choose a frame.

    Improve iPad camera
  4. Tap Done to finalize your choice.

Buy an External Lens

An external lens can do more than adjust the camera settings. It can increase magnification and take specialty shots such as wide-angle. A lens also boosts functionality on an older device by improving the camera without the extra cost of a new smartphone or tablet.

A good source for camera peripherals for iPad and iPhone is iographer. This company makes lenses that work with a specially designed case that supports different interchangeable lenses to get the perfect shot.

You can use the same lenses for both iPad and iPhone as long as both devices have an iographer case.

If you only want to upgrade the iPhone camera, check out Ollocip. That company offers lenses that clip on to an iPhone and provide access to a variety of different shots you might not otherwise get.

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