Since the release of the iPhone 7 in September 2016, Apple has made it easier than ever to take a high-quality picture without an expensive camera.
For those of us who aren’t professional photographers, Google’s former senior vice president of engineering may have been right when he said it was “the end of the DSLR,” or digital single-lens reflex camera.
Still, even with an iPhone in hand, you may be making mistakes that are ruining your shots. INSIDER talked to seven winners from the 2017 iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) to find out what these mistakes are, how to use some of the iPhone’s best hidden features, and more.
Here’s how you can start taking better pictures with your iPhone:
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1. You should almost never use flash …
Six out of the seven photographers INSIDER spoke to said they either rarely or never use flash.
… unless as a last resort, when there’s no natural light available.
While the iPhone flash “can provide the light you need in a pinch,” it’s “often too bright” and leaves the background underexposed (i.e., too dark), said Dr. Joshua Sariñana, who won first place in the “Series” category and second place in the “Travel” category in the IPPAWARDS.
“I would only do [flash] if there is practically no light … like in a power outage,” added Dr. Sariñana.
2. Flash can also come in handy if you need to fill in shadows, like when you’re taking a picture of a sunset.
Photographer Jen Pollack Bianco told INSIDER that she uses flash for “fill-flash situations” when she wants “some additional light in the foreground of the photo to keep the contrast from being too dramatic.”
Bianco, who won first place in the IPPAWARDS’ “Travel” category, said the iPhone’s flash is also “particularly useful for sunset shots” or for subjects “backlit by the sun.”
Likewise, Brendan Ó Sé recommends only using flash when taking pictures in “very strong sunlight to fill in shadows.”