I gave up my career as a professional photographer in 2009. Besides being burnt out from the business itself, I had both arthritis and two bulging discs in my neck. Twenty five years of hauling around heavy cameras, lenses, lighting, and all the supporting equipment had finally taken it’s toll. What never changed though was my love of photography. After a break from the daily grind I found my passion stirring once again after I purchased my first iPhone. I was very surprised at the quality of photos I could get with just a little editing. Now I take photos with my iphone almost daily and continue to see my everyday world as if looking through a lens.

At the Design Blogger’s Conference one of the speakers was professional photographer Colleen Duffley. Duffley travels the world on high profile assignments, so imagine my surprise when she said she shoots some of her jobs, including commercial jobs, with her iPhone! Duffley used a term I had never heard called “iphonography” which is professional photography using an iPhone. I am now rethinking everything I thought I knew about my iPhone camera.

One of the biggest challenges taking photos with the iPhone is getting the exposure right. Outside is usually no problem but inside it can be challenging and one that designers encounter all the time. The scenario usually involves trying to photograph an interior with windows in the shot or maybe just a window treatment but the bright outside light coming through the window causes the rest of the room to be too dark. Here is a typical example taken of a corner of my family room.


The camera’s light sensor will always pick the lightest area to determine exposure. However, there is a simple trick to override the sensor. Place and hold your finger on one of the darker parts of the image. After a few seconds a yellow box with a sun icon will appear.

familyroom 2

Hold your finger on a darker part of the image and a sun icon appears

Simply touch the sun and slide your finger either up or down to lighten or darken the photo. This will over ride the camera’s sensor.

Here is the same corner after I moved the sun icon up toward the top of the yellow bar.

family room3

The image is not perfect but the exposure is a lot better than before. What I would do next is then use an app to fix the converging lines and tweak the lighting even more. That’s more advanced and I will save that for another post.

Here is another example using the drapery. The first photo is how the iPhone camera wants to expose the shot.


This is the image after bringing up the sun icon by placing my finger on the drapery part of the image and sliding the sun icon up toward the top of the yellow bar.

drapery2Big difference right? So I hope this was helpful and I will continue to share more iPhone camera tips on this blog in the coming weeks.

Tell me your biggest iPhone photography challenge and I will answer your question in an upcoming post.

Linda Holt | Interior Designer & iPhone Coach

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