4 ways to get the most out of your iPhone 11 or 11 Pro camera

New Iphone 11 Pro Max. Smartphone mock isolated on white background. Back side. Concept for app, web...
Originally Published: 

Let's face it: You probably didn't just upgrade to the iPhone 11 or 11 Pro because it was attractive. Sure, it's speedier, more refined, and comes in several colors. But there's also the massive elephant in the room: that awesome new triple-camera setup. It's the immediate identifier for anyone who whips out one of these new bad boys. But just because you have a shiny new iPhone 11 or 11 Pro complete with a powerful new camera, that doesn't mean quick point-and-shoot snaps are really helping you utilize it in the best way possible. If you're interested in taking the most amazing photos you can with your shiny new device, here's how you can take advantage of all the awesome features it contains.

Get to know your cameras


The iPhone 11 has both a wide camera and an ultrawide-angle camera, where the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have the same options as well as a telephoto camera. As far as quality goes, all three cameras offer 12 megapixels apiece. Generally, the higher the megapixel count, the more detail you'll get out of a photo. While each camera is on the lower end of the megapixel count, you're getting three of them at once here.

Your phone also utilizes new technology known as Deep Fusion, which it will apply by default. Basically, it utilizes the iPhone's A13 Bionic processor and neural engine to take several shots at once, then "looks" through the shots and composites them together to give you the best one possible.

This isn't something you can turn on or off, or even learn how to use. It's automatically happening behind the scenes to lessen noise in photos and offer the sharpest images you can possibly get. In turn, you'll get a better picture without even having to do much of anything. It's pretty cool, right?

Utilize the phone's powerful zoom

Mic/Brittany Vincent

Say you're at a concert or see a cute pup that's pretty far away. You whip your phone out, but Ariana Grande and that little doggie look like ants. No worries – using the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro cameras, you have the option to zoom in pretty far. Your main camera is the wide camera, indicated by the "1x" you see above the shutter button. Selecting .5x and 2x will help you switch between the other cameras, which can zoom in or out depending on your subject.

However, there's an easy way to better fine-tune how much you want to zoom in. Just long-press on the zoom level number and drag left and right with the zoom wheel on the screen. You can go all the way up to 10x by doing this. Of course, if you zoom up to 10x, image quality will suffer, but you have the option with this helpful zoom wheel to really get in there and capture Ariana or that cute pupper...if you want.

Mic/Brittany Vincent

Your phone can also capture photos outside the frame as well, which you can turn on by heading into the Settings app, choosing Camera, and then toggling Photo Capture Outside the Frame. This is especially useful if you end up taking a photo that's cropped a little too far in and need to zoom out after your picture has already been taken. You have to make sure it's toggled on for it to help, but you may find that it comes through in a pinch the next time you're on vacation and miss that one vital thing you were hoping came through in the photo!

Use Night Mode

Mic/Brittany Vincent

Your iPhone 11 or 11 Pro comes with Night Mode, and while you don't need to necessarily do anything with it, it's good to keep an eye on and understand what it means as well as how it works. Night Mode is a very useful feature that essentially relies on your iPhone to tell when there isn't enough light available for a clear shot.

To see if Night Mode is active, look at the icon in the top left of your screen. It looks like a full moon with lines through it, and it'll be yellow if Night Mode is currently on. Beside it, you'll see a number like "1s." That indicates how long it will take for you to capture a photo. You'll have to make sure you don't move during this time, as your photo may blur, so pay attention to that time.

You can turn Night Mode on or off by tapping the moon icon, though if you end up taking photos outside or where there's low light, they may not come out as bright as you intended for them to. You can also adjust the slider for Night Mode to capture additional light in the shot. The longer the phone is held still, the more light you'll get in the shot. Be careful, though, as you may risk overexposure. It's still a very powerful tool that, when used correctly, can net you some amazing photos even when the light isn't cooperating with you.

Utilize portrait mode for better pictures of your friends (and pets)

Mic/Brittany Vincent

On the iPhone X and iPhone XR, Portrait Mode was a bit limited. Its machine learning interface worked well, but the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro have perfected it, giving you great results with the telephoto lens. Your subject is sharp and in focus, with the background blurred out. All you need to do to make sure this happens is swipe over to Portrait mode, take a photo of your subject, and let your phone do the rest.

In the photo above, there were no edits made to the image after shooting in Portrait mode, but the background of the restaurant is blurred nicely, letting us focus on what's important there: the person you're shooting!

While the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro cameras and tricks may seem daunting, they're really only super-powered versions of the same iPhone camera you've likely been using for years. Hopefully these tricks will help you become a better iPhone photographer in no time – and really put that shiny new hardware of yours to the test.