9 iPhone Camera Effects For Taking More Creative Photos (2023)

The built-in iPhone camera app is loaded with awesome camera features that can lift your photography above the normal, everyday kind of photography most people produce. In this tutorial, you’ll learn about each of the iPhone camera effects so you can use them to improve your iPhone photography.

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1. Use 2x Telephoto Zoom To Get Closer To Your Subject

Do you have theiPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, oriPhone Xcamera? Maybe you have the newer iPhone XS cameraor iPhone XS Max camera.

Or perhaps you’re planning on getting the latest iPhone 11 Pro or Pro Max.

If you have any one of these iPhone models, you can enjoy the benefit of optical zoom.

That’s because these devices have either two or three rear-facing cameras. One of these cameras has a telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom.

With optical zoom, you can bring your subject twice as close without losing any image quality.

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To zoom in:

  1. Open the Camera app and swipe to Photo mode.
  2. Tap on the 1x button and you will quickly see the 2x view.
  3. To return to 1x (wide-angle), tap the 2x button.

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2. Light Up the Scene Using Flash

Your iPhone camera’s flash is perhaps not the most exciting of iPhone camera effects, but it definitely has its place.

If you want to add some light to your image, look for the little lightning bolt icon when you’re in the Camera app. You have the choice to turn your Flash to Auto, On, or Off.

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The use of Flash will take some experimentation on your part. If you have an iPhone 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max or XR, you’re in luck. They all have a Slow Sync Flash.

Slow Sync Flash means your iPhone takes a photo with a slower-than-normal shutter speed while firing the flash. Because the shutter is open a bit longer, the background is exposed for longer, making it brighter. The flash helps to freeze the subject, but it’s still important to have your subject keep fairly still.

3. Create Long Exposures (And More) With Live Photo iPhone Camera Effects

You can get really creative and have a lot of fun with one of the most powerfuliPhone camera effects – Live Photo mode.

It’s available to those with an iPhone 6s or later. This option allows you to record the 1.5 seconds before and after you take an image.

So what does that mean for your photos? By having this feature activated, you can see your still images come to life with motion and sound. In essence, you have access to a three-second video, as well as a still photo.

(Video) 20+ iPhone Photography Tips & Tricks

To turn on this feature:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Swipe to Photo mode and tap the Live Photo icon. It looks like a target and it will turn yellow when it’s on.
  3. Take a picture.

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This is where the fun begins. If you have iOS 11 or later, you can apply a Live Photo effect.

  1. Open your Photos app and select the Live Photo.
  2. Swipe up until you see Effects.
  3. Select from Loop, Bounce, or Long Exposure.

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With Loop, as the name suggests, you can turn your Live Photo into a video loop.

Bounce makes your Live Photo move back and forth.

Long Exposure is the most exciting of the Live Photo features.

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It creates an effect that used to be possible only with a long-exposure app or a DSLR/mirrorless camera.

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Experiment with traffic at dusk or at night or fireworks in the night sky to capture light trails. Apply it to a waterfall or any body of water to give it that silky smooth appearance.

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If you want these Live Photo effects to look their best, use an iPhone tripod to keep the camera as steady as possible.

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And once you’re done, you can share the Live Photo with others! Just make sure to save Live Photo as a video, first.

4. Try A Filter To Change The Mood

iPhone filters are the most commonly used of the iPhone camera effects. There are a number of filters built into your iPhone camera. You can make subtle changes to your image before you even take the picture.

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To get started, launch the Camera app. You’ll see three overlapping white circles on your screen. Tap on them to access a number of “looks” you can apply to your image before you shoot. The circles turn red, green, and blue when one of the filters is activated.


You have nine choices that will change the mood of the image. Aside from the obvious Original appearance, you can make your image more vivid, more dramatic, or remove the color altogether with Mono, Silvertone, or Noir.

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Ideally, you should shoot without any applied filter. Then, if you want to use one of these filters later, you can do that. However, even if you do shoot with a filter applied, it’s good to know that you can remove the filter afterward, or switch to a different filter.

Always remember to use filters sparingly. Concentrate on taking good pictures first, then apply a filter to see if it provides the subtle enhancement or mood you envisioned.

5. Use HDR To Balance Your Exposure

HDR (high-dynamic range) blends the best parts of three separate exposures into a single photo.

So if you want to automatically provide a more balanced exposure when you’re taking a picture in a high-contrast scene, turn on the Auto HDR feature on your iPhone.

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The photo above shows how the iPhone camera has exposed for the relatively dark subject, causing the bright highlights above the subject to be blown out, capturing no detail in that region of the photo.

Compare this with the photo below, where HDR has been used. The iPhone automatically took three photos in quick succession and used the best-exposed regions of each photo to create a single image which has a much more balanced exposure and no lost detail.

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Here’s how to enable HDR:

  1. Go to the Settings app and select Camera.
  2. Scroll down and you will see a section for HDR.
  3. Switch off Smart HDR (Auto HDR on older iPhones).
  4. Switch on the Keep Normal Photo option.

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Now open the Camera app. Tap theHDRicon to ensure it appears without a line through it (which indicates HDR is on).

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You can now take beautiful HDR photos with a balanced exposure throughout.

6. Condense A Long Event With Time Lapse

Have you ever wanted to create a video of a sunrise or sunset? Like, the whole thing — from darkness to daylight or dusk to dark? This is where iPhoneTime Lapse mode can come in handy. And it’s one of the more fun iPhone camera effects.

The entire process is quite simple, but you will need to keep your iPhone perfectly still, so get a tripod or place your iPhone somewhere it won’t move.

(Video) The Correct iPhone Camera Settings For Stunning Photos

  1. Find the ideal landscape you want to capture. Make sure you treat this part as if you were taking a picture. Be sure everything in the viewfinder is properly composed, allowing for the location of the sun’s rising or setting.
  2. Swipe to Time Lapse mode and tap the red button to start recording.
  3. Once your event has ended (e.g. the sun has set or risen), press the shutter button again to stop the time lapse.

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Time Lapse can be used on anything you want, not just sunrises and sunsets.

For instance, you could attach your iPhone to the dashboard of your car and record your daily commute to work.

7. Use Slo-Mo To Highlight Movement

When you want to emphasize movement and really show the details behind some motion, the Slo-Mo feature is what you need.

To begin recording, open the Camera app and swipe to Slo-Mo.

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Then start recording just like you would any video. With Slo-Mo, however, you’re shooting video with more frames per second. This way, you can slow down specific parts later.

Here’s how to edit your Slo-Mo video:

  1. Launch the Photos app.
  2. Find the Slo-Mo video you want to edit.
  3. Tap the Edit menu button at the top of your screen.
  4. Look at the slow-motion portion of the video in the timeline, represented by some “sliders” to the left and right.
  5. Drag these sliders to the points where you want the video to move in and out of slow motion.
  6. Once you’re happy with your selections, tap Done.

Whenever you want to record a video, consider Slo-Mo to emphasize certain parts. For instance, if you’re recording your child or pet running, maybe you will want to slow it down when they take a leap over a puddle to emphasize that athletic action.

8. Create Beautiful, Professional Portraits

If you have an iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, XS, XS Max or XR, you can use iPhone Portrait Mode to capture beautiful portraits with a blurred background.

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There are a few things to remember to make sure you get the best results, however.

Keep The Proper Distance From Your Subject

When you open the Camera app and swipe to Portrait mode, an on-screen prompt tells you whether you’re at an acceptable distance or not. If you’re too close or too far away, the camera lets you know.

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When you see Natural Light in yellow at the bottom of the screen, Portrait Mode is ready.

Keep It Simple

Whatever you’re taking a picture of — a person, your pet, an inanimate object — keep it simple. If your subject is complicated — let’s say they have strands of hair sticking out in all directions — some of that hair may blend into the background when that was not your intention.

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Pay particular attention to the edges of what you want to be in focus. If you don’t like what you see, move around a bit (closer or farther away) until you get the look you want.

Add Some Light With Portrait Lighting

Portraits generally need plenty of light for the best results. When you don’t have as much light as you would like, you can always fall back on Portrait Lighting.

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In Portrait Mode, you can change the lighting to make your portrait image even better. Portrait Lighting produces the effects of real studio lighting based on fundamental photographic principles using depth‑sensing cameras and facial mapping.

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There are five available options:

  1. Natural Light is the best-case scenario for your perfect portrait. Find a well-lit area and you’re well on your way to getting great results.
  2. Studio Light is the subtle solution when you need just a bit more light on your subject’s face.
  3. Contour Light adds some dramatic shadows with highlights and lowlights.
  4. Stage Light highlights your subject’s face against a deep-black background.
  5. Stage Light Mono is simply the black-and-white version of Stage Light.

Portrait Lighting can be applied before or after you take a Portrait Mode image.

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Note that Portrait mode and Portrait lighting aren’t available on the iPhone 8 camera, iPhone 7 or older.

9. Capture The Whole Scene With Pano

The iPhone camera is already a wide-angle lens by design. But when it just isn’t wide enough to capture everything you want from left to right, try Pano Mode to include it all.

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Open the Camera app and swipe to Pano mode.

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You’ll notice a guide bar in the middle of the screen to help you take your photo.

If you want to start your photo from the left, be sure the arrow is pointing to the right. If you want to start from the right, tap the arrow to change its direction.

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Tap the shutter button and slowly but steadily move your camera along the straight yellow line from one side of your shot to the next until you’re done. You’ll want to move your iPhone continuously along this line without stopping.

Try to keep the arrow on the yellow guide bar. This is easier said than done. It will be much easier to get a great image if you have a steady hand as you’re moving.

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Try a vertical pano to capture something really tall, like a tree, a building, or a waterfall.

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The same principles mentioned above apply, just turn your camera to the landscape position and scan vertically.


What effects are on iPhone photos? ›

Edit photos and videos on iPhone
  • In Photos, tap a photo or video thumbnail to view it in full screen.
  • Tap Edit, then swipe left under the photo to view the effects you can edit such as Exposure, Brilliance, Highlights, and Shadows.
  • Tap the effect you want to edit, then drag the slider to make precise adjustments.

What is the best photo filter for iPhone? ›

Discover 10 Best Photo Filter Apps for iPhone & Android in 2023
  • YouCam Perfect: Best Free Photo Filter App.
  • VSCO: Popular Filter App.
  • Instagram: Best Social Filter App.
  • Afterlight: Best for Customization.
  • A Color Story: Best Aesthetic Filter App.
  • Prisma: Best Art Filter App.
  • Photo Lab Picture Editor & Art: Funky Filter App.
16 Nov 2022

How do I make my photos creative? ›

How to Take Unique Photos
  1. Create Visual Consistency by Focusing on One Colour. ...
  2. Shoot from Different Angles to Photograph Your Subject from a Refreshing Point of View. ...
  3. Use In-Camera Tricks to Make Simple Photos Look Unique. ...
  4. Focus Away From Your Subject to Emphasise Overlooked Details.

How do I make my photos more creative? ›

12 Ways to Add Randomness and Creativity to Your Photography
  1. Move your Camera. ...
  2. Zooming While Shooting. ...
  3. Creative Focusing. ...
  4. Shoot from your Boots. ...
  5. Over expose your shots. ...
  6. Slow Sync Flash. ...
  7. Get Up High – Monopod extenders and Kite Aerial Photography. ...
  8. Multiple Exposures.

How do you get special effects on Photos? ›

In Photos, tap a photo to view it in full screen. Tap Edit, then swipe left under the photo to view the effects tools you can use to edit, such as Exposure, Brilliance, Highlights and Shadows. Tap the effect you want to edit, then drag the slider to make precise adjustments.

How can I make my camera look better in pictures? ›

Want to Take Better Smartphone Photos? Try These 10 Tips From Pro Photographers
  1. First, start with a clean slate.
  2. A little framing goes a long way.
  3. Ditch the digital zoom.
  4. Look for light before making your own.
  5. Watch out for cloud storage shenanigans.
  6. Steady yourself — or use a tripod.
  7. Go remote with a shutter button.
26 Aug 2019

How can I make my photo clarity better? ›

Use the following steps to use the Clarity filter.
  1. Click Filter in the menu bar at the top.
  2. Hover over Details in the menu.
  3. Click Clarity.
  4. Drag the bar to the right to enhance details or to the right to decrease detail.
  5. Click Apply.
27 Apr 2022

How do I make my iPhone pictures look professional for free? ›

  1. YouCam Perfect - Best Free Photo Editor & Selfie App. ...
  2. YouCam Makeup – Best Face Editing App for Selfies. ...
  3. PhotoDirector - Best & Creative Photo Editing App. ...
  4. Photoshop Express Photo Editor - Best Photo Editing App for Advanced Edits. ...
  5. Snapseed - Free Photo Editing App for Quick Edits. ...
  6. Picsart - Best Photo & Video Editing App.
15 Nov 2022

Which filter is best for all photos? ›

  • VSCO. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • Adobe Lightroom. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • Snapseed. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • BeautyPlus. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • AirBrush. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • Lensa. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • Video Filters Photo Editor・TON. Platforms: iOS, Android. ...
  • Photo Editor & Filters. Platforms: iOS.
7 Oct 2022

Does iPhone have photo filters? ›

Take a photo with a filter

Use a filter to give your photo a color effect. Open Camera, choose Photo or Portrait mode, then do one of the following: On iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and later: Tap. , then tap.

What 3 things make a good photo? ›

The three variables that matter the most in photography are simple: light, subject, and composition.

What is creative mode in photography? ›

Creative Style function:

This function allows you to control the finish of the image according to the scene or your intention. It is available in the P/A/S/M-modes, and it is completely independent of the aperture, shutter speed, and white balance control.

How do you get special effects? ›

Most people will need a vocation school certificate, an associate degree and/or years of on-the-job experience. There aren't really shortcuts; you'll want to find special effects makeup classes nearby that will help you learn the basics of makeup application.

What is the best photo effect app? ›

  1. 14 Best Free Photo Editing Apps.
  2. PhotoDirector - Best Free Photo Editor App. ...
  3. YouCam Perfect: Best Free Photo Editor. ...
  4. Pixlr - Best Photo Editor For Filters. ...
  5. PicsArt - Best Photo Editor For Filters. ...
  6. Snapseed - Best Photo Editor App for Casual Users. ...
  7. Adobe Photoshop Camera - Best Photo Editor For Taking Pictures.
7 Oct 2022

How do I make effects on my camera? ›

There are many ways one could use the in-camera effect.
Some examples of in-camera effects include:
  1. Matte painting.
  2. Schüfftan process.
  3. Forced perspective.
  4. Dolly zoom.
  5. Lens flares.
  6. Lighting effects.
  7. Filtration such as using a fog filter to simulate fog, or a grad filter to simulate sunset.
  8. Shutter effects.

What are in camera special effects? ›

In-camera effects are special effects rendered solely through creative use of the camera at the time of recording. With the development of powerful digital video cameras, filmmakers can achieve some of these old-school film effects in new-school ways, both while recording and in post-processing.

How do you add glowing effects to pictures? ›

How to Add a Glow Effect to Your Image in Photoshop
  1. Step 1: Mask the Subject and the Object From the Background. ...
  2. Step 2: Apply Curves Adjustment Layers to the Background and Subject. ...
  3. Step 3: Add a Glow Effect to the Object. ...
  4. Step 4: Add a Residue Glow Effect to the Background and Subject. ...
  5. Step 5: The Final Touches.
29 Apr 2022

What is the best setting for iPhone camera? ›

Shoot at 24 frames per second

To access these settings, go back to the main camera settings page and then tap “Record Slo-mo.” Our preference is to shoot at 24 fps. This frame rate will give your footage a cinematic and larger-than-life quality.

How do I make my iPhone look more aesthetic? ›

You can completely control the aesthetic of an iPhone, like by changing your home screen app icons to custom ones and by using widgets. If you want to get super spicy, you can even add a video clip of something to your lock screen.

What app has the perfect face filter? ›

YouCam Makeup is the best all-in-one selfie camera app for iPhone and Android users. Aside from glam-up selfies with the best beauty filters, makeup tools, and hair color options, users can also edit faces with dozens of auto AI blemish remover and face shaping tools naturally and easily.

What is the most important camera filter? ›

1) UV Filters

Today, UV is the most widely commonly used filter, but now its role is different. It serves mainly to protect a lens from scratching and damage. Every photographer who cares about their equipment should use a UV filter. The UV filter in detail.

Does Apple have photo filters? ›

In the Photos app on your Mac, double-click a photo, then click Edit in the toolbar. Click Filters in the toolbar. Tip: To quickly see filters while editing, press F. Click the filter you want, then click or drag the slider to adjust the look of the filter.

What is the iPhone effect? ›

The iphone effect: The quality of in-person social interactions in the presence of mobile devices.

What words can trigger effects on iPhone? ›

What words cause special iPhone text effects on iMessage?
  • 'Happy New Year' When you send a "Happy New Year" message, your text will be accompanied by its own colorful fireworks show. ...
  • 'Happy Chinese New Year' Chinese New Year gets its own effect, too. ...
  • 'Happy Birthday' ...
  • 'Congrats' or 'Congratulations' ...
  • 'Pew Pew'
5 days ago

What does effects do on iPhone? ›

Send a message with effects

With message effects, you can use bubble effects to change the way your message bubbles will look, or you can use full-screen effects to animate the screen. You can even add a Memoji sticker with bubble effects or full-screen effects.

What words give special effects on iPhone? ›

Messages automatically uses the following screen effects for specific text strings: Balloons for “Happy birthday” Confetti for “Congratulations” Fireworks for “Happy New Year”

What are pictures effects features? ›

You can enhance your picture by adding effects, such as shadows, glows, reflections, soft edges, bevels, and three-dimensional (3-D) rotations to it. You can also add an artistic effect to a picture or change the brightness, contrast, or sharpness of a picture.

How do you make words fancy on iPhone? ›

You can download fonts from the App Store app , then use them in documents you create on iPhone. After you download an app containing fonts from the App Store, open the app to install the fonts. To manage installed fonts, go to Settings > General, then tap Fonts.

Why does Pew Pew light up on iPhone? ›

As previously mentioned, if you type "pew pew" into Messages, colored laser beams will shoot out of your text message on both your screen and that of your recipient when they open the message. "Congratulations!" (and its variations) prompts a confetti party to take over your screen.

Where is iPhone camera effects? ›

Tap on the Camera icon next to the App Store icon. Make sure you're in either standard Photo or Video mode. To get to the available Effects, tap on the small star-shaped icon to the left of the shutter button.

Which app is best for effects? ›

In case you are looking for an efficient video special effects app for Android, those listed below are worth your attention:
  • Movie Booth FX Free. While using Movie Booth FX Free, all you need to do is, record a footage from your camera, and add special effects to it. ...
  • MovieRide FX. ...
  • Movie Effects Maker. ...
  • Extreme VFX.

What's special effect? ›

noun. : an image or sound that is created in television, radio, or movies to represent something real (such as an explosion) or imaginary (such as a monster) a movie with spectacular special effects.

How do you do smooth effect on Iphone? ›

Go to Settings > Accessibility.
To turn on Reduce Motion:
  1. Screen transitions and effects use the dissolve effect instead of zoom or slide effects.
  2. Parallax effect where your wallpaper, apps, and alerts that move or shift slightly as you tilt your device are disabled.
  3. Animation and effects in certain apps are disabled.
31 Jan 2022

How do you send a heart effect on Iphone? ›

Express your feelings
  1. Tap: Tap with one finger to create a burst of color. ...
  2. Fireball: Touch and hold with one finger.
  3. Kiss: Tap with two fingers.
  4. Heartbeat: Touch and hold with two fingers.
  5. Heartbreak: Touch and hold with two fingers until you see a heartbeat, then drag down to break the heart.

What factors affect a photo? ›

8 factors that affect image quality
  • Image scaling. Speaking about factors that affect image quality, the primary thing to decide on is where these photos will be used. ...
  • Sharpness. ...
  • Digital noise. ...
  • Distortion. ...
  • Compressing images. ...
  • Dynamic Range. ...
  • Color Accuracy. ...
  • Lens flare.
7 Nov 2019

What are visual effects in photography? ›

Visual effects means the creation, alteration or enhancement of images that cannot be captured on a set, or location during live action photography and therefore is primarily accomplished in post production.


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