TiPb Asks: How do you take pictures with your iPhone?

TiPb Asks: How do you take pictures with your iPhone?

It's often said iPhone is the best camera because it's the one you have with you, so that makes me curious -- TiPb nation, how exactly do you take pictures with your iPhone?

  • Do you use the built in Camera app or do you use something like Camera+ or Instagram that offer more or different features?

  • Do you spend a lot of time composing that perfect picture or do you snap away hoping to capture that special moment?

  • Do you prefer the look of a "normal" photo or do you like the cool filters that give it that something extra?

  • Do you crop or enhance your photos before sharing or using them, or do you just shoot and send?

  • Do you use apps that add cartoon bubbles or funny props?

And if you don't use the built in Camara app, will the iOS 5 Camera app, with its volume key shutter, crop tools, auto enhance, and other features make you consider switching back to it?

Let me know what apps, effects, additions, you use to take pictures with your iPhone!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

More Posts



← Previously

iPhone 5 to be announced in August, major hardware update?

Next up →

Verizon users waiting for iPhone 5 to ditch Android en masse?

Reader comments

TiPb Asks: How do you take pictures with your iPhone?


I used to heavily use ProCamera app as I felt it was the best, but since the 3.1 update it crashes immediately upon launching the app.I now use the stock camera. Anyone else having this issue?

I don't take long to set up the shot, since it's just a phone camera after all. But I always have HDR on in hopes that it will give me a better picture (and if it doesn't, I still have the original!). I've gotten some pretty spectacular shots that way.

Camera+ was my main camera taking app for a while, but now I am keen on CameraSharp which was free and maintains settings, like Anti-Shake, where Camera+ will not. Editing is done through FilterStorm (or FilterStorm Pro on iPad).

I use standard camera app to take pics, mostly of my two kids so no time to set up the shot!!
Then I apply filters and share pics through Instgram and Path.
Really looking forward to new iOS 5 features. I'm all for making it as quick as possible to launch camera app.

Mostly I just use the native Apple Camera to capture the moment quickly. Then sometimes, I'll play around with filters in Instagram or Photoshop apps before sharing. Looking forward to the new iOS 5features.

Im using iOS 5, and i dont use the volume button to take pictures, care to know why?
Cause when you transfer them to your computer, they are upside down!! I am thinking apple need to allow the camera to auro correct the rotation like when you are browsing etc.

The iPhones orientation is recorded in the EXIF data of the photo. If they are upside down on your computer then it's the computer software that isn't correctly reading this data to determine which way to rotate the image.

Thanks for the info Steve, but it used to work fine on iOS 4 in any orientation, but holding it with the volume on top it goes upside down.
My other half's 3GS works fine on iOS4 too, maybe its a bug in iOS5. i will wait for the next release, and see if it improves.

Alan it may be a bug, I'm not running os5 but I did check with a friend who is before I commented and he said his rotate correctly. I won't be using the volume button either but for different reason.

  1. By touching and holding the onscreen button and just releasing at the exact moment you want to take the picture the phone can be held much steadier than pressing in a physical button.
  2. From years of using cameras and cameraphones I always wrap my fingers around the bottom two corners for stability, that is now where the lens will be. So I'm not going to change the way I hold a camera just to use a button that I find less useful than the onscreen one.

I open in windows, using explorer i browse to my iphone photo folder, and the photo is upside down. Just tested now, and still the same.
We could blame windows, but it used to work ok. So i am guessing its a bug.
As for using the volume controls, i personally have found i get clearer pictures using the touch screen over the vol button. Plus my finger is less likely to get in the way lol :)

I think the idea behind the volume button shutter release is for self portraits and self groups that you don't want to shoot with the lower res front facing camera (or you want to use the flash). It's difficult to press the button on the screen when you can't see it. The volume button release would be a great solution.

I think it could be partly windows fault, yes I'll blame windows :-) I get that same thing happen when I open photos from my DSLR in windows image viewer, yet they are fine in Photoshop on PC and fine in all mac apps. There must be something slightly different with the way the orientation info is stored in OS5 that Image viewer and explorer don't like.

For most of my daily snaps, the stock camera app is sufficient. When I'm looking to make something more interesting I almost always reach for Hipstamatic. If I'm looking to capture subtleties of the environment Pro HDR is my tool. I also use Cartooniac when I want to take shots that look like cartoons.

Being that is shoot professionally, anything serious goes on my Nikons. What do use the iPhone camera for is for social network snaps, in which case the apps can take their own photos in several cases. When I am trying to be serious with the iPhone I will use Camera+ and I do miss them loosing the volume button as a shutter release. I will (about 50%) of the time tweek the photo with Camera+'s editing suite.
I will use the native camera app to shoot things when I feel HDR is important or when I want to shoot video.

  1. Camera+. I would probably switch to it, full-time (even over the iOS 5 Camera app), if it could shoot normal video, or at least send me to the video recording feature of the normal Camera (as I want to be able to switch to video in a few heartbeats). I have considered using CameraPro as well.
  2. A chaotic mixture of both, providing me with excellent photos, but also a few gigs of additional baggage after every session ;-)
  3. A photo that requires filters to stand out is not worth shooting ;-) On a more serious note, I never use effects destructively/replace the original, and so therefore, if I do add effects (which I rarely do), I do it on my computer/Picasas editing tools, etc, and only for specific purposes.
  4. Enhance, rarely. See 3., above. Crop, however, oh yes! Crop tools in the normal Camera app in iOS 5 will probably win back quite a few users of other photography apps.
  5. Again, never destructively (i.e., by replacing the original), and to this date, I haven't found the need. For advanced photo editing for specific purposes, I prefer to work in Pixelator, Acorn, or possibly Photoshop. Had I the need to comicsize my pictures, I'd use software made specifically for adding captions and speech bubbles.

I do have Photoforge 2 on my iPhone, however, and in my ongoing effort to transfer my digital live altogether to my iPhone, I can see myself doing my digital editing on my phone, come fall and iOS 5.
Also, if I begin to shoot more pictures in my line of work (journalist), I will probably have to rely on on-phone tools to edit pictures if I want to be able to submit stories on the move.

Why all the concern over destructive editing? It's a picture from your phone. Not a thesis for your post grad gallery showing. I'm just saying...
I'm a pro photographer and I live and breathe cameras and Photoshop. I understand destructive and non-destructive editing. I just think there is a time and place for archival principles.
However, I see you are a journalist so that may certainly add to your need to preserve the original shot and your desire to stay away from enhancements. All the best.

Funny thing about perspective... it differs depending on where you are standing ;-) A thesis I could recreate (though anyone but a journalist might find the prospect numbingly tedious), but a near-perfect picture of a rare moment is inimitable. I imagine a photographer such as yourself will subscribe to that principle :-)
But yes, photographing in a documentary context (which is as close to real art photography as we journalists ever come, and still close to the polar opposite :-) ) certainly makes me more wary of irreversible changes to photos. T'would be a shame to lose those extra 200 dollars thanks to an overenthusiastic pinhole filter ;-)
But outside of work, the time and place for archival principles are entirely subjective.

I mainly use the HDR and just point, shot and post. I have all these apps that can do things but I rarely use them. I haven't figured out why I don't yet. LOL

I primarily use the native Camera.app since it does everything I need it to. It's also nice since its integrated into the OS with things like the Lockscreen button and volume button shudder. I'm also enjoying the simple editing features in the iOS 5 Photos app.

If it's a spontaneous shot of the kids or something, I just hit the native app and hope for the best. If it's a set-up picture, like of a sunset or my car, then I use Camera+. It's a great editor, even for photos not taken within the app itself.

Now that iOs 5 has cropping and auto enhance built right into the photo app I've mostly been using that, actually that's all I've used for the past two weeks.

QuickCam is in my dock now - pretty quick to load, and the best solution for taking multiple pictures in quick succession. I like Camera+, but there's no video. Plus, it takes forever to "save" a photo to the lightbox, so I'm at least 5 seconds in-between shots.

I use the built in camera app then I use my MBP iphoto 11, aperture 3 or lightroom 3 on them if there not that bad I will just use fotoir ps or photoshop express on iPhone 4

I tend to just use the native app, unless I need an anti-shake feature (Camera +). I've often craved a faster camera app, but haven't dabble with it yet.
For editing or enhancement, I use Photoshop Express.
Any serious/important photos, I take along a dedicated camera.

  1. Basic Camera app
  2. Usually spend a lot of time composing it - or more often, tapping it to ensure its optimally focussed. Occoasioanally just snap and hope for the best when it is the only choice.
  3. Just a HDR photo normally, it vastly improves the camera and still looks untouched!
  4. There usually good enough after I've spent time before taking them, but occasiohnally I will edit them.
  5. NO! How tacky?!

So far I've just been taking photos using the stock camera app, and then editing them as needed in iPhoto on the Mac after synching them.

Camera + or the native app, it just depends on the moment.
If I'm going to mms the pic then I use the native app cuz for some reason the other ones (pics taken w/ camera+ or other 3rd party apps) won't go through or aren't supported by the other phone(s).

Camera+. Shoot with Camera+, save to Camera Roll, use Camera+ if I want to tweak the photo. I shoot with Camera+ because it does seem a little faster than the phone's camera app. And probably will work that way with iOS 5.

If I'm using both hands, I'll snap the pic with my left thumb (on the volume button, jailbreak tweak). If I'm using one hand (my right hand) I'll use my right thumb on the volume button. It's pretty darn awesome having one-click shooting. WP7 and Android Phones with dedicated camera buttons have that bs two-stage shoot, which is irritating to use.

I use Pro Camera. Same features as Camera+ but also includes video. I tried a lot of camera apps and found this the best.

99% of the shots I take are using either the Hipstamatic or Pano apps. Rarely shoot in HD