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Fantastic iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max camera tips and tricks

Although the iPhone XS(opens in new tab) camera hasn’t seen a major overhaul when compared to 2017’s iPhone X, there are still a few key improvements.

If you’re coming from one of Apple’s older models, a little refresher of some of the camera’s key shooting capabilities won’t go amiss, either.

Both the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max have a dual 12 megapixel camera set up, offering a wide-angle and a telephoto lens. Using the iPhone XS is incredibly simple, with a pretty basic native camera app.

1. Adjust for ambient conditions

The iPhone XS’s native camera app doesn’t give you a whole lot of control when it comes to settings, but you can give exposure compensation a little tweak. First you’ll need to tap the point on the screen where you see your subject – you should see a small sun icon appear next to the focus box. Now you can slide your finger up and down the screen to darken or lighten the exposure, depending on the shooting conditions.

2. Activate AF/AE Lock

Setting an AF/AE Lock is useful when the light in a shot is mixed, and you have areas of high contrast. Locking focus and exposure to one area of the scene, while still being able to move the phone around for a different composition can be incredibly useful.

To do it, simply tap and hold on the screen where you want the focus and exposure to be held. You should see a small box appear with “AE/AF Lock” – now even if you recompose your shot, the focus and exposure will be locked to that point.

3. Take advantage of Portrait Mode

Despite its name, the iPhone XS’s Portrait Mode isn’t just something that you should reserve for your human subjects. Use it to create shallow depth of field effects for all manner of things, from pets, to flowers, to bottles of beer.

It works best when the subject is against a relatively unfussy backdrop, so give the phone a fighting chance of producing a convincing blurred background by keeping the background as clean as possible.

4. Experiment with Lighting effects

There are a number of different Lighting effects which are worth trying out. The default option is Natural Light, which works well in well-lit areas, while Studio Light adds a good amount of brightness to the face, making it a good option for slightly darker conditions.

Contour Light is a good option for creating a dramatic effect, also working best when the light is good. Stage Light and Stage Light Mono are a little bit gimmicky, but none-the-less can be quite fun.

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