4 tips for taking photos with the ultra-wide camera of any iPhone

The second generation iPhone’s ultra wide-angle lens remains the weakest part of the camera system, including the Pro versions.

In the iPhone 12, the photo from it was significantly programmed through Deep Fusion, which saturates the image with details using AI algorithms.

But they continue to complain about it, including our authors. At the same time, I cannot agree to call the module absolutely useless.

It is more difficult to shoot with it than with a fast camera. It takes some knack and a couple of tricks to get nice shots without bright sunlight.

It is thanks to the tricks below that you will get a result that no one else will have. Not like the endless portrait mode photos everyone has.

Below I will show my examples shot on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and I will try to explain the main conditions for high-quality photos on an ultra-wide-angle camera. But first, a list of models with his support and a drop of theory.

Which iPhones have a super-angle camera

Since the fall of 2019, Apple has begun installing at least two lenses in all of its new smartphones, one of which is necessarily the familiar wide-angle, and the second with an even wider viewing angle.

Over the past two years, there are a lot of models:

• iPhone 11
• iPhone 11 Pro
• iPhone 11 Pro Max
• iPhone 12
• iPhone 12 mini
• iPhone 12 Pro
• iPhone 12 Pro Max

All iPhones will have them too. Considering that we do not expect significant changes to this module, the article will be relevant even in a year.

To turn on the mode, open the camera and click on the circle that says 0.5x

Further at the end of each item below there will be advice and a complete list with them at the end.

Why is it difficult with an ultra wide angle lens?


The center becomes the brightest part of ultra-wide cameras. Try to start the mode in the evening and look through the viewfinder: you will see the effect as if you were walking with a flashlight

If we compare cameras with professional counterparts, then smartphones have weak ultra-wide-angle lenses.

They are dark, there is not enough light on the sides and a large black vignette is obtained. They render the texture at the edges worse, make a strong distortion of straight lines.

But it’s hard to blame the manufacturers, they need to fit the capabilities of 15-centimeter lenses into 7 millimeters of the thin body of smartphones. Ultra wide-angle camera lenses are gigantic and without the problems described above are very expensive.

Above is a model for 50 thousand rubles (the aperture still does not make it ultra-budget), below for 220 thousand rubles

For example, Canon at 14 mm with aperture f / 2.8 costs almost 180,000 rubles. In numbers, it’s even worse than the iPhone’s 13mm f / 2.4 camera. Obviously, the characteristics above decide.

At this stage, only physically thickening the blocks will help solve problems with vignetting and curved lines. In the meantime, we can use this to our advantage.

The difficulty in shooting is added by the fact that people are not familiar with this photo format.

When a lot of distortions and objects appear in the frame, you want to either capture everything at once, or move away, but then the desired object will become microscopic. We will work on this problem now.

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Advice 1. Do not try to fit the whole environment into the frame, unnecessary details destroy the magic. Leave only the necessary elements as you do with other lenses.

In the photo above, I could have left a nice urban path, but without it, the feeling of a mysterious pine forest is stronger.

It is easier to do beautifully with a telephoto, but corny

In ultra-wide angle shooting, the elements that can be opened to the full width play an important role. Compositionally, they will definitely bring the focus to the center.

It is easiest for Apple to promote the zoom camera because it has two clear advantages: detail in distant objects and the familiar “professional” look of portrait photos.

Everyone knows pictures from expensive cameras, where only the face is in focus, shot from a long distance.

For photographers, this is one of the simplest shots, for which you hardly need to try. I put on a lens with f / 1.8, or better f / 1.4, pointed the camera, ready. The background is blurred, the face is smiling, thanks for the work.

The ultra wide-angle camera requires a special approach that not everyone is ready for. We have to look for a place without rubbish, move the model correctly, and carefully look for an aesthetic perspective. I suppose it is precisely because telephoto is wanted more strongly that Apple has implemented it in more expensive smartphones.

But super-width is generously put into every new smartphone. So if you want to take some truly unusual art photos, you are much more likely to already have this powerful tool.

Some of the shots from this shot and all from the other (on the billiard table) were too frank, we decided not to add them. If interested, you can rate them on my Instagram

Tip 2. In addition to the person, take one element into the frame that will be unexpectedly distorted.

Wide locations will help, which give “air” and do not clutter up the frame. Silhouettes look cleaner against the backdrop of negative space.

Here we have an elegant gazebo located on a hill. Thanks to this, it turned out to take angles that weed out unnecessary and set the atmosphere.

Pros love ultra-wide angle

Recently I started experimenting with the module, and the following works inspire:

In fashion photography, a wide angle is generally used more often than a portrait one, but now frames are being pushed to the ultra-angle.

The master takes the strange images of contemporary art as a basis, adding abstractness. It becomes fun to play with proportions and distorted silhouettes.

You don’t need to do heavy blooming or hard processing, rent a studio. Taking pictures for Instagram posts can be done simply with the right angles and neat filters.

Tip 3. Apply artificial distortion over the top of the lens.

The photo above was taken through a piece of lime packaging. He added blurred spots, texture artifacts, kinks in lines, and stray light.

This is a unique tool. Therefore, the usual result will not be

The stairs look especially beautiful

The volume that provides 120+ degrees of coverage cannot match the wide angle and portrait lens. But the opposite works.

If you stand in one place, you can easily crop the image from ultrawide to other formats, just the detail will be worse.

But with ultra-angle, the point is not always to shoot something clearly and usually, but to take an angle that has never been taken. To do something new for yourself.

Tip 4. Get closer to the model and swing the camera around her more boldly. Ask to move your arms and legs more.

Shoot from below, shoot from above, shoot in the center, spreading your limbs to the edges of the frame.

This is an experimental area, the more interesting it is to work with.

In the example above, there were many bad photos that comically and caricaturedly distorted the face and body.

But sometimes it happened exactly to the extent that ugliness borders on beauty and gives photography a trail of originality, which is appreciated in art.

All tips in one list

A TV with a white screen, red tulle, a piece of plastic over the lens, long curly hair – and a dynamic picture is ready

So, to improve your ultra-wide-angle camera mastery, stick to the following rules:

1. You want to take everything into the frame, but you don’t need to. Feel free to twist, raise and lower the camera until extra cars, chairs, poles, branches and other debris come out of the area.

2. Ornate elements that complement the photo will unexpectedly blend in with camera distortion.

3. Shoot through translucent, refractive and defocusing objects. The wide-angle camera itself is dark and not very sharp. Push it to the limit and leave part of the frame a mystery.

4. Feel free to bring your arms and legs to the fore, do not be afraid to distort your face with distortion. Out of ten disgusting shots, one will be amazing.

All photos from this article:

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