6 things you need to know about your iPhone camera NOW!

Last week I was lucky enough to go to a quick workshop at the Apple Store in Sydney to learn some stuff about my iPhone camera and have a play around with it on a new iPhone 5s. Now I use my manual digital SLR a lot. I force myself to use it because it forces me to look around and SEE things. REALLY see things. The adjusting of settings makes me slow down even more to really capture the moment.

But some times, all I have is my phone. I am an Instagram lover too – so many a moment throughout the day is snapped and uploaded onto my phone. No one showed me how to use my iPhone camera – I kind of make it up as I go so it was really exciting to get some very simple tips. That I’m going to share with you!

1. Your volume buttons also act as the shutter (click to take the photo) button

Did you know this? I didn’t?!!! Open your camera in your iPhone right now. Go to take a photo. Now, you know if you are trying to take a landscape, or need to be extra steady it’s hard to get your thumb down to the middle to press the shutter to click the snap right? Try doing it with a selfie! THE VOLUME BUTTONS ALSO TAKE THE SNAP. Do it! I know right?! Steady as she goes now my friends!

2. You can get to the camera without unlocking your phone

So you stumble across a moment that needs to be captured! NOW! NOW! And there you are gaffing about with your code to unlock it. No more! You can swipe your thumb from the bottom upwards and it will open a control panel that takes you straight into your camera. Here, look:

Normal front screen:

IMG_8469 IMG_8470 IMG_8472 IMG_8473

3. You can see all the effects/filters before you even take a photo

If you are like me you will take a photo, go into Instagram and then choose your filter from there. But did you know that you could do it directly from the photo taking bit? Me either!

IMG_8474 IMG_8475

4. You can change your shooting modes with a simple swipe of your thumb

OK, so I didn’t even know that there were different modes to shoot in! But there are. You can take a normal photo (my default) or you can swipe across for video, square mode (which is Instagram) or Pano all with a simple swipe!

IMG_8476 IMG_8477 IMG_8478

5. A Panorama photo is lots of fun

Again, I must be a little backward because I didn’t even know this was a THING! But it is. A panorama is a great way to take in a wide view and it’s easy to do. Just a simple press down of the shutter once then move it slowly to the end of the desired view. You even have a little line to follow! And look at the end result…plus I just like saying PANO!

IMG_8482 IMG_8481

6. Turn on iCloud on your iPhoto (if you use a mac)

I didn’t do this and so if I wanted to use a photo from my phone for a blog post I would email the photo to myself so I can download it onto my desktop. No more! Because I have switched it on in iPhoto I now have every snap I take on my phone instantly in my iPhoto feed on my lappy!


How was that? Learn something? I know I did! I also learnt some cool apps that are worth sharing with you too.

Do you have a tricky trick you’d like to share with us?


  1. I always forget to use the volume button when taking a photo – I’m going to try to remember that from now on!
    When you’re taking a photo, you can tap the screen where you’d like the camera to focus (for example a vase of flowers). This will adjust the focus and the light. It’s a fun way of playing around with your images.
    Also, if you hold down the white circle button (or the volume button) while taking a photo, it will snap lots and lots of images, not just one. It makes a cool sound too!

  2. O my goodness Beth, you are a legend….I have just updated to the iPhone 5s. I now think I need a Mac Laptop…..where would I be without you?

  3. Great tips – and another one I had no idea about – you don’t need to go to Instagram for filters. With the new update you can also add filters to your regular photos once they are in camera roll if you didn’t do it before taking the photo. Select edit and play. Love it!

  4. You’ve just inspired me to try out the ‘pano’ function! Yes, lots of fun πŸ™‚

  5. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Also Beth with the pano ones if you wiggle it ,you can take some really cool pics!

  6. Archie Lane says

    I have been so super educated today! Thank you…..I am so going to quiz the kids when they get home and either look like a genius or just have another eye roll moment with them!

  7. ha! i didn’t know the one about the volumes being a click button! thanks so much for sharing this amazing knowledge x

  8. What great tips the only one I did not know was that you can use the volume buttons to snap a pic. Thank you for sharing Beth. V x

  9. I had no idea about 1) or 2) but these are VERY good things to know – how many times have I missed a shot swiping to unlock and mucking around with the pin?….thank you! Has someone mentioned the macro function? You just put your finger on the screen on the object you want to zone in on, good for flowers, raindrops, bugs etc πŸ™‚ Mel x

  10. Not sure if you can do this from your 5s, but when I’m in my lock screen, I can swipe up from the bottom right hand corner of the phone to open my camera!
    Even easier than opening the little menu guy and clicking into the phone!

    Great tips!!

  11. Great tips – and some work (with a few changes) for us android kids. Just played with the Pano on my phone camera and it is heaps of fun. I use dropbox to move my pics around from phone to laptop / tablet. There is an auto upload option so as soon as I take a pic it goes into my dropbox. Perfect.

  12. Beth.. This Grandma knew about all of these! But I forgot about the volume click for a pic until 15 yo granddaughter reminded me. I love the mini vid on IG for showing the mummy of the almost 12 month old granddaughter what she’s up to each day she’s with us! D x

  13. I was VERY panorama-happy in New Zealand, I can tell you that right now!

  14. The volume button for snapping is gold! Thanks Beth. xxx

  15. Hi Beth, I just had to share this with you. I did the Colour Run with my daughter the other week. Took lots of pix with my phone carefully protected in zip-lock bag (as suggested in their marketing material). We got COVERED in coloured powder and it was AMAZING… I took lots of pics, only somewhere along the way, through sunglasses and a powdered-covered bag, when I was unable to see the screen, I bumped those nifty little filters. I am officially the only nong in the history of the universe to photograph every single element of the Colour Run AND the Colour Throw at the end in Black and White!!! Sadly, that’s the way I roll! x

  16. Well, thank you Beth. Just followed your little tutorial, the things you learn!

  17. You are so funny Beth. I love how excited you get about sharing stuff. Like the time when you taught me to boil eggs properly (and I was then able to impress Jamie O with my knowledge- especially about the timer on the microwave- peeps were astounded, I tell you.)

    Something else on the 5S, I’m not sure how he does it, but my husband can video in slow motion. It’s hilarious and can make your life all Chariots of Fire by doing it. Try it.

  18. I’m impressed at all of the iPhone camera features – It makes it easier to get great snaps when you’re out and about. Good post!


  1. […] {My mate BabyMac has some tips for you too} […]

Leave a Reply to Beth Cancel reply