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Shoot and Edit Photos with Your iPhone 4 or iPad 2

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The ability to snap photos wherever you happen to be with the Camera app that comes with your iPhone 4 or iPad 2 is a feature that many people truly appreciate. Jason Rich tells you how easy it is to snap photos and share them almost instantly on Facebook, Twitter, or another online service.

By Jason R. Rich

Digital photography has become a popular hobby among people of all ages, but you don't have to be a highly skilled photographer to be able to shoot clear, in-focus, well-lit, and compelling images using the cameras built into your iPhone 4 or iPad 2 in conjunction with the Camera app.

Both the Camera and Photos apps have evolved with the iOS operating system; and with the introduction of iOS 5, both apps introduce powerful new features for easily taking and then viewing, editing, enhancing, printing, and sharing digital photos.

The Camera app is used to take pictures. It transforms your iPhone 4 or iPad 2 into a point-and-shoot digital camera. When running the Camera app, the main screen of your iOS device becomes your viewfinder. What you see on the screen is what you'll capture in your digital photo.

Snapping a single digital photo using the iOS 5 version of the Camera app is simple.

Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Camera app from the Home Screen.
  2. Make sure the Camera app is set to Camera mode. Check the virtual switch displayed in the lower-right corner of the screen, or make sure the shutter button icon displayed at the bottom-center of the screen looks like a camera.
  3. Tap on Options to turn on or off the Grid feature as you see fit, as well as the HDR feature on the iPhone 4.
  4. Choose which of your device's two built-in cameras you want to use by tapping on the camera selection icon positioned in the top-right corner of the screen.
  5. Select what the main subject of your photo will be, such as a person or object, and point your iOS device at your subject. Tap your finger on the screen where your subject appears in the viewfinder.
  6. An auto focus sensor box will appear on the screen at the location you tap. Where this box is positioned will be what the camera focuses in on (as opposed to something in the foreground, background, or next to your intended subject).

  7. If you want to use the Camera app's zoom feature, use a pinch motion on the screen. A zoom slider will appear near the bottom of the screen. Use your finger to move the dot within the slider to the right to zoom in or to the left to zoom out on your subject.
  8. When you have your image framed within the viewfinder, tap on the camera icon (displayed at the bottom-center of the screen) to snap the photo.
  9. You'll see an animation of a virtual shutter closing and then re-opening on the screen, indicating the photo is being taken. At the same time, you'll hear an audio effect.

Within one to five seconds, the photo will be saved on your device within an Album called Camera Roll, which is accessible from the Photos app.

Tips for Shooting Eye-Catching Photos Using Your iOS Device

Even though you're using a Smartphone or tablet to shoot photos, as opposed to a full-featured, Digital SLR or point-and-shoot digital camera from a company such as Nikon or Canon, you can still use basic photo composition and framing techniques to snap professional-quality images.

To generate the best possible, in-focus, well-lit, and nicely framed images when shooting with your iPhone 4 or iPad 2, follow these basic shooting strategies:

  • Pay attention to your light source. As a general rule, the light source (such as the sun) should be behind you (the photographer) and shining onto your subject. When light from your primary light source shines directly into your camera's lens (in this case, your iPhone or iPad), you'll wind up with unwanted glares or an over-exposed image.
  • As you look at the viewfinder screen, pay attention to shadows. Unwanted shadows can be caused by the sun or by an artificial light source. When shadows show up in your images, they can be distracting. Make sure shadows aren't covering your subject(s).
  • When using the iPhone 4's flash, red-eye often becomes a problem. To avoid this, try to shine more light on your subject and not rely on the flash. Or step farther away from your subject physically, but use the zoom to move in closer.
  • Candid photos of people are great for showing emotion, spontaneity, or true life. The key to taking awesome candid photos is to have your camera ready to shoot and to be unobtrusive, so your subject(s) don't become self-conscious when they have a camera aimed at them. Try to anticipate when something interesting, surprising, funny or that will generate a strong emotion will happen, and be ready to snap a photo. Also, don't get too close to your subject. You're better off being several feet away and using the zoom, so you, as the photographer, don't become a distraction.
  • As you get ready to tap the shutter icon and snap a photo, hold your iOS device perfectly still. Even the slightest movement could result in a blurry image, especially in low-light situations.
  • If you're shooting in poor light, take advantage of the iPhone 4's HDR feature by turning it on. This feature requires you use the rear-facing camera on the iPhone.
  • As you're framing your subject(s) in the viewfinder, pay attention to what's in the foreground, background, and to the sides of the subject. These objects can often be used to help frame your subject and add a sense of multi-dimensionality to a photo. Just make sure that the auto focus sensor of the Camera app focuses in on your intended subject, not something else in the photo to insure clarity.
  • As you're shooting, instead of holding the camera head-on, directly facing your subject, try shooting from a different perspective, such as from slightly above, below, or to the side of your subject. This will allow you to create more visually interesting images.
  • Incorporate the Rule of Thirds when you're framing or composing each shot.
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