Most couples don't have the funds to hire a professional photographer for their engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette weekend, or rehearsal dinner, but that doesn't mean these aren't moments worth capturing. Even if you do ask a pro to document each of your wedding-related events, they won't be able to capture every second. That's why it's sometimes up to you, your guests, and your smartphones to make lasting memories. Phone photos tend to look one of three ways: blurry and horrendous, just alright, or really sharp. To ensure your pre-wedding party snaps are all fall under the last category, we asked Lesley Smith of Ceremony App, a platform that helps couples connect and share photos with big-day guests, for her tips on taking iPhone photos that you'll want to share and print.
Clean your lens.
Yep, even iPhones need a good cleaning, swears Smith. Just think about all the dust that they attract in your purse or pocket. All you need is a damp microfiber cloth to get the job done. Avoid using chemical cleaners—plain H2O is all you need.
Take a burst.
You know those shots of the bridal party jumping in the air? You can easily capture that with burst mode, Smith says. Burst mode is especially helpful with any group shot (whether you're going for action or still). To enable it, just press/tap and hold the shutter button. Save the best and delete the rest.
Turn up the volume.
Smith has a great tip that most iPhone uses don't realize. The up and down volume buttons on the side of your phone also act as the shutter button. That means you can take a picture without having to touch the screen. What's the benefit? This helps you to keep the camera steady. Pro tip: If you plug in headphones, you can use those controls to take your photo without touching the camera at all.
Use portrait mode.
No, we don't mean a lengthwise picture. Portrait mode (available on iPhones 7 or later and Pixel) focuses on the main subject and slightly blurs the background, Smith says. It's a great way to make sure Great Aunt Edna's hat doesn't ruin the photo. And if you're going for a formal shot, this is the best trick in the book.
Zoom with your legs.
If you want a crisp photo, don't pinch and zoom, the pro advises. Walk closer to the subject to get the perfect shot. The more you use the zoom function, the blurrier it's going to be. In this case, it's totally okay to invade personal space.
Trust the grid.
Any professional photographer will tell you, a slightly off-center shot is more appealing to the eye. Smith says that's where the iPhone grid really comes in handy. By placing the subject on the outer corner of the center rectangle, you'll create a sharp, professional-looking image every time. To turn on the grid, go to Settings>Photos and Camera>Grid, and swipe right on the button.
Going overboard with filters can ruin your photo, but even professionals touch up their best shots. Smith has tried tons of editing apps and says there's one out there for every couple. Play around with a few and figure out which tools you like best. Vignette, portrait, and sharpen are some of her favorite ways to make subtle changes.
Don't wait until the big day to try out these tips. When you have a little downtime, Smith suggests taking some pictures around the house or work on improving your photo game with your fiancé. Practice makes perfect!