The Do’s & Don’ts of iPhoneography

Obviously I am not a professional photographer, but I, like anyone else in the 21st century take a lot of photos with my iPhone. There are so many tips & tricks for getting just the right photo, but I’m throwing my proverbial hat into the ring and sharing my own. Not only am I going to share my do’s and don’ts, but I’m going to share the tools I use (which is typically against my code of conduct).

The Tools:

Built-In Camera: I always use the iPhone’s built-in camera. Apps like Instagram and VSCO have cameras available in their apps, but the resolution is often lower than that of the phone’s own camera. Using the app editor’s camera may seem like it’s a one-stop shop, but taking photos on the phone camera allows for editing later. This gives more time living in the moment rather than being tempted to edit and share it straight away.



VSCO – The only filters and editing tools I use are available in the VSCO app. Obviously I’m not going to share the exact methods of my madness, but I do own all the filters available (so it’s one or two of those).

Layout – If there is ever a time to make a collage, I use Layout. It’s user-friendly and gets to the point with minimal options (no one needs a 16 photo collage) and zero fuss.

Instagram – This one is a no brainer. Everyone and their Grandmother use Instagram practically. VSCO has a built-in social sharing site, but it’s for great photographers (thus not ideal for my amateur photos of palm trees).

Do’s & Don’ts:

Don’t subscribe to the idea you need a theme. There are hundreds of bloggers and people in the world that will tell you your Instagram account needs a theme. Only use one filter with the same brightness, hue, and saturation levels. Every such and such photo should be of this item, black and white, etc. I’ve heard them all. If you want a theme, cool. If not that’s cool too. Just do what you feel.

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Do be as real as possible. Yes, big famous Instagram accounts come from bloggers and people with incredible photos, but I’m a regular person. I don’t go on vacation 30 times a year to beautiful exotic places and most of the time my outfits aren’t worthy of an #OOTD. Share what you want, and don’t be intimated by everyone elses highlight reel.

Don’t post more than 3 photos per occasion tops. This goes for birthday parties, concerts, and even vacations. I break this rule a lot, but I try to follow it. Odds are whoever is in my photos or looking at them is at the event. They know what it was like and it saves a lot of hurt feelings for people not included. (Unless someone starts drama with you on the regular for little to no reason at all then post all you want) This goes for reposting Snapchat’s as well.

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Do fake good lighting. Lighting is an issue especially indoors. My apartment has the worst built-in lighting so it makes taking photos in certain areas after sundown horrific. Use a white background (even a piece of paper if you’re trying a lay-flat of clothes etc) and it will naturally brighten it. Mess with the exposure in VSCO (or the brightness in other apps). Positive numbers will darken the photo while negative numbers brighten it. Beware not to mess with it too much or the photo will become grainy.

Do photograph your food but do it well. No one likes ugly, poorly lit food. Don’t take a sad photo of a sugar cookie on a paper plate. If you made it: awesome. Show it off. Just do it on a good plate.

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Don’t listen to dumb people. There are people who have to say something about literally anything and everything. I’ve listened to all the photo sharing rules, but honestly they are a bunch of bull. If you want to post an inspirational quote, go for it. You want to post a funny meme, go for it. It’s portraying you as a person and the most popular accounts these days are filled with repurposed quotes and memes from all over the internet (looking at you Fat Jew). Also concert photos: share them. I’m a huge advocate of sharing those.

Bottom line: share what you want in the most pleasing way. Convey your best self and your best life. Don’t try to subscribe to the thoughts, ideas, and “rules” set by famous accounts or large accounts.

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This is part of an ongoing series being featured in, what I can only assume is the “How to Be Nicole Guidebook,” Rachael is writing.


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