If you're snapping a photo with a smartphone, chances are you're using an iPhone to do it. In Flickr's Year in Review for 2016, smartphones were responsible for nearly half of all images posted to the photo-sharing social network this year, with the iPhone accounting for 47 percent of the smartphones used to shoot the photos found on Flickr. It's easy to understand the iPhone's popularity among photographers: The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sport apertures of f/1.8 that let in more light for sharper, less blurry photos. And the iOS 10.1 update takes advantage of the dual rear cameras on the iPhone 7 to create a new depth-of-field effect that sharpens the subject in the foreground while softening the focus in the background to achieve the beloved bokeh effect.
With Apple highlighting the work of photographers to showcase iOS 10.1's Portrait Mode (which remains in beta as of now), we wanted to look at some of the other cool camera features built into the latest iPhones. So we went straight to some photo experts to ask them for their tips on how to use the iPhone 7 to take the best shot. The photos featured in this article were taken by the photographers offering their photo tips.
Pei Ketron: "The iPhone 7 plus has a dual-lens system, one for shooting wide at roughly 28mm and another that allows you to shoot zoomed in to roughly 56mm. It's the first iPhone on which this optical zoom is possible. Use the second lens to capture details that might be too far away or to make a scene more abstract by focusing in on the details. Shoot in ample light to get the best results."
Erin Brooks: "Portrait mode is phenomenal and it's getting difficult to spot which of my photos were taken with my phone. When using portrait mode indoors, make sure you have really great light, or the shot will get grainy. For a crisp, indoor shot, have your subject sit right next to, and facing, a window during bright daylight hours. White pillows or blankets can act as a reflector and bounce more light into your subject's face, and when it's darker out, iPads, or other devices with light-up screens, can also be used off-camera to shine more light onto a subject's face."
JerSean Golatt: "Shooting with iPhone 7 Plus's new Portrait Mode is a lot of fun now that you can blur the background! Try shooting standing a couple feet away from your subject, with your subject a couple feet away from something cool in the background -- like a colorful patterned wall, a water fountain, or even a cactus like I did, so it'll make your photo a bit more compelling."
Kevin Lu: "This hot springs shot was made in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. I wanted to include the subject as well as the natural setting, so I figured the most compelling way is to get close to the action — the stream of natural hot spring water. To do that, I got into the pool and ducked behind the flowing stream with my iPhone 7 Plus.
"This was not possible with previous versions of the iPhone unless the device was protected by a waterproof casing. I was a little hesitant at first because I had lost a couple of iPhones in the past to water damage. But to my surprise the iPhone 7 Plus was able to withstand splashing water as well as thick steam from the hot water. I made the photo with iPhone's Camera app by tapping and holding to focus on my subject. Then I held down the shutter button to shoot in burst mode and selected my favorite shot from the Camera Roll. The water resistance makes it a lot easier to use my phone in the rain."
Benj Haisch: "As a full-time photographer, having a wide angle (28mm) alongside a normal length (56mm) has been incredibly beneficial. The added bonus is the Portrait mode along with the second lens/camera on the iPhone 7 Plus. The simulated background blurring is impressively rendered to mimic that of fast-aperture normal focal length. This means I'm able to achieve similar results on my iPhone as I would get on a full 35mm sensor.
"Regardless of the camera I'm using, I try to keep my subjects in clean compositions and soft, subtle light. Often this means putting the sun behind them so that the light hitting this face is even and flattering. I'm also always paying attention to the horizon and making sure to keep the area around my subject's head free from background distraction. Portrait mode is like the cherry on top that helps my subjects stand out in the photograph by isolating them from the background."
Jeff Carlson: "The iPhone 7 has a great low-light advantage in being equipped with an optical image stabilization system in the lens. When you're in a dark environment, the iPhone leaves the camera's shutter open longer to let more light in — the stabilization helps to keep everything in focus during that time. If you can rest the phone on a surface to minimize camera shake, all the better."