How to Use the iPhone 4s Camera

The iPhone 4s camera is the latest incarnation of a constant technological ascension, and as such is the most sophisticated and clearest we have seen in the Apple repertoire.  This is a re-built design with a full eight megapixels and is being labeled as sixty percent more than on the recent iPhone 4.  Along with this the f/2.4 aperture, infrared filter, and the automatic flash options allow for a somewhat advanced photographic process, but is still a strange hybrid since phone cameras are still not at a high photographic standard.  Here is a look at how to work with the unique iPhone 4s camera when you are starting out, how to manage the photos, and how to approach the images themselves.

The first thing that you are going to have to understand is the basic functionality of the iPhone 4s camera.  In the Camera app you are set for taking both still images and video, and to toggle between the two you slide between one and the other in the lower right hand option.  The upper right hand corner image, which looks like a camera with rotational arrow, is what you have to switch between the dual cameras you have on the iPhone 4s.  One is pointed outward, and one is pointed at you for portrait images and FaceTime.

To the left of that button are the Options one, and when you select this you can choose to turn on the Grid or HDR.  These are both unnecessary to new users, but can be experimented with once you get your legs with the device.  HDR, which means High Dynamic Range, blends three different photos together to get the best parts of each.  To the left of that is the Flash options, and it will say On, Off, or Auto, depending on what it has been set to.  At the very bottom and in the center is going to be the Camera button that you select to take the image, and if this is set to video mode then it will be a red dot that you hit to begin recording.  To the left of that is a photographic image displaying the last photo or screenshot taken, and when you select it the image will come up.

All photos taken will go to the Camera Roll in the Photos app.  This will then save it there, and the image displaying the recent photo in the camera is actually a link to this roll.  From here you can select one of the photos that you have taken, hit the button in the lower left hand corner, and get a series of options for how you want to deal with the image right from your phone.  This includes emailing it, sending a picture message, assigning it to a contact in the Contacts List, using it as one of your wallpapers, tweeting it in Twitter, or printing it.  There will be a similar list of options for videos.  You can also use independent apps to upload or manage the photos onto an online environment.  For example, with Facebook you can open up the actual app and then use their Photo section to select and upload the photo you took from your Camera Roll.  This is true of most social networking services that you can integrate with your iPhone, the only difference is that Twitter is specifically hardwired into the iOS 5 and therefore the option is included in the regular camera options and not just a third party app.


When dealing with the actual photographic principles you have to consider the basics of photography, image creation, and composure, as well as the basics of the iPhone 4s camera.  The camera, while effective in comparison to many of its competitors, it is not going to handle low light with any incredible delicacy.  Instead, you are going to want to switch over to using the flash in most situations if you want to get an image.  This is going to often create a hard lighting issue, so the perfect option is to turn towards on site lighting and then go with a flash off position.  You will have the flash on both the front and back cameras, so you can use the flash on your own portrait pictures if needed.  Auto can be used, but this actually reduces your control and it is better to choose specifically whether or not to use the flash and then develop your options right from there.

If you are shooting video you have some additional things to consider, especially since you cannot rely on the flash to enhance your light.  Instead you have to even further consider the light sources you have on site and adjust for them.  When you hit the red button to activate the filming function it will begin flashing red and there will be a timecode in the upper right hand corner indicating the amount of time that has been recorded.  When the video is completed by either hitting the red dot button again or closing out the app entirely the video will hit the camera just as with the still image.  What does need to be considered about the video creation on the iPhone 4s is that it is incredibly space intensive and that every second that you keep the video going it is going to fill up the iPhone even more.


For both the still image settings and the video settings you can switch between the portrait and landscape view, which means you can alternate to keeping the iPhone 4s vertical and turning it on its side.  This allows you to determine what is appropriate for your phone positioning, which is actually an option that most still cameras do not have and adds to diversity.


The iPhone camera has also developed the ability to identify faces, or at least what it determines to be faces, in the camera.  What this does is create a green box around what it detects as a face and then allows your automatic focus options to be built around the face or faces it finds.  This can actually be an effective tool, and really just requires more stability and patience from the photographer.  You will need to wait for the face to be identified, the focusing to be completed, and then stabilization before the photo is taken.  This actually adds quite a bit of time to the photographic process, but can really help with fine focus.  This can be especially important when you are taking images in the dark with the flash where you do not have enough light to do efficient image composure.

Many of the major advancements to the software portion of the camera, and its adjoining photo management functions, is designed so that you can keep the images on the phone and operate with them from there.  This will then further validate the iPhone social networking connections and the ability to print right from the iOS 5.  When you open up the photo in the Camera Roll you can go ahead and hit the Edit button in the upper right hand corner.  This is going to bring up a variety of different photo editing options where you can actually alter the photo right there.  This includes cropping, where you can actually constrain the image to different shapes such as specific measurement patterns or shapes.  You can use an auto-enhance function that is supposed to automatically alter the photo to bring down the elements that are common problems, as well as having a red-eye removal tool.  You can also casually rotate the image if it has been saved awkwardly.  These are incredibly basic tools and will not negate something like Photoshop if that is the direction you are leaning, but it does provide another quick option if you just want to get the image up on Facebook so you can tag your friends.

Though you can operate just fine from your phone exclusively, you will often want to bring the images onto your computer so that you can deal with them from there, such as advanced video editing and integration into other projects.  To do this you will want to immediately turn to your iPhone sync chord that you normally use to update and charge your iPhone 4s.  Once the iPhone is plugged in it will likely begin syncing automatically, which you can go ahead and cancel.  If you are on a Mac, just go ahead and open iPhoto.  Your iPhone will come up from under a Devices heading and all the images in the Camera roll will then be there and available.  Go ahead and find the images you want and highlight them, hitting Import Selected afterward.  You can also just hit Import All if you just want every photo.  Once you do this, your images will be saved on your computer and can be used for other purposes.  After the import is complete it will ask you if you want to keep or delete the photos on your phone, and you can decide if you are done with them or not.  The last stage of this is to see these photos you imported into a new iPhoto event where they can always be found.

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