How To Change Exposure On iPhone: Enhancing Your Photos

Ever felt like a photographer, struggling to capture the perfect shot on your iPhone, but the lighting just won’t cooperate? You’re not alone. Imagine you’re trying to snap that breathtaking sunset, but the picture turns out too dark or overly bright. Frustrating, right? How to change exposure on iPhone? This common issue stems from not having the right exposure settings, turning potentially great photos into mediocre ones.

To change the exposure on your iPhone, open the Camera app and tap to focus on your subject. Then, swipe up or down next to the focus box to increase or decrease the exposure, brightening or darkening the image. This simple adjustment can greatly enhance your photo quality.

But here’s the good news: adjusting exposure on your iPhone is not just possible; it’s also quite simple. Whether you’re an aspiring photographer or just looking to improve your everyday snapshots, mastering the exposure adjustment can transform your photos from dull to dazzling. How to change exposure on iPhone? Let’s dive into how you can take control of your iPhone’s camera settings and capture those picture-perfect moments flawlessly.

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Understanding Exposure In iPhone Photography

Exposure in photography is like the seasoning in cooking – it can make or break your photos. In the simplest terms, exposure determines how light or dark an image appears. It’s controlled by three main factors: the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. On an iPhone, these settings are often managed automatically, but understanding their impact is key to mastering your shots.

Adjusting exposure is crucial because light is the essence of photography. Different lighting conditions require different exposure settings. Think of a bright, sunny day versus a dimly lit room. In bright light, reducing exposure prevents the photo from being washed out. Conversely, in low light, increasing exposure can bring details out of the shadows, revealing the hidden beauty in darker scenes.

In summary, exposure is a powerful tool in your iPhone photography toolkit. Whether you’re dealing with the harsh midday sun or the soft glow of twilight, knowing how to tweak your exposure settings can dramatically improve the quality and mood of your photos, transforming them from simple snapshots into memorable pieces of art. For more on enhancing your iPhone photography skills, you might find how to capture northern lights on iPhone insightful.

Step-by-Step Guide To Adjusting Exposure In The iPhone Camera App

Adjusting the exposure on your iPhone is a game-changer for capturing stunning photos. How to change exposure on iPhone? Here’s a step-by-step guide to master this skill:

  1. Open The Camera App: Unlock the gateway to your creativity by tapping the Camera app.
  2. Select Your Mode: Your iPhone offers various modes like Photo, Portrait, and Night. Choose the mode that aligns with your scene. For instance, use Portrait mode for a blurred background effect, or Night mode for low-light photography.
  3. Focus On Your Subject: Tap on the screen where you want to focus. This action tells your iPhone what element is most important in your shot. A yellow box appears, indicating the focus point.
  4. Adjust The Exposure: Once you’ve set your focus, you’ll notice a sun icon next to the focus box. This is your key to adjusting exposure. Swipe up to increase exposure, making your photo brighter. Swipe down to decrease exposure, darkening the image.
  5. Lock Your Settings: For consistent exposure in your shots, press the focus area until ‘AE/AF Lock’ appears. Hence, allowing you to recompose your shot without losing those settings.
  6. Experiment With The Exposure Slider: Don’t hesitate to play around with the exposure slider. Each scene is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all setting. Trust your eyes—if it looks good to you, it’s probably right. Additionally, for specific tips on adjusting your iPhone to different scenarios, check out how to take boudoir photos of yourself with iPhone.
  7. Capture And Review: Take your photo and review it. If it’s not perfect, don’t worry! Practice makes perfect. Go back, adjust, and try again.
  8. Use HDR Wisely: High Dynamic Range (HDR) can be a powerful ally. It balances the shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes. However, use it judiciously as it can sometimes make photos look over-processed.

Locking Exposure And Focus For Enhanced Control

Locking exposure and focus on your iPhone, known as AE/AF Lock (Auto Exposure/Auto Focus Lock), is a powerful technique for achieving consistent and professional-looking photos, especially in challenging lighting conditions. How to change exposure on iPhone? Here’s how you can use it to your advantage:

  • Activating AE/AF Lock: Open your Camera app and frame your shot. Tap and hold on the screen where you want to focus until the AE/AF Lock banner appears at the top. This action locks both the focus and exposure settings on that part of the scene.
  • Benefits In Varying Lighting: This feature is particularly useful in situations where lighting conditions change rapidly, such as when moving from a shadowed area to a bright one. By locking the exposure and focus, you maintain consistent lighting and sharpness, even if you move your camera or if the lighting in your scene changes.
  • Enhanced Control For Specific Needs: AE/AF Lock gives you creative control over your photography. For instance, if you’re shooting a portrait with a backlit background, locking the exposure on the subject’s face ensures they’re well-lit, even if the background is overexposed. To further refine your portrait photography, you might want to explore how to photograph artwork with iPhone, which provides valuable tips for capturing details and textures. Similarly, in landscape photography, you can lock the focus and exposure on a specific area to capture the desired level of detail and lighting.
  • Adjusting Exposure After Locking: Even after locking, you can fine-tune the exposure by sliding your finger up or down on the screen. This allows for subtle adjustments while keeping the focus point constant.

In summary, mastering AE/AF Lock allows for greater artistic expression and control, ensuring that your images come out just the way you envision, regardless of the lighting challenges you might face.

Preserving Your Custom Exposure Settings

Preserving your custom exposure settings on an iPhone for future use is a bit tricky, as the native Camera app doesn’t automatically save these adjustments. How to change exposure on iPhone? However, understanding this limitation can be beneficial, and there are workarounds to maintain consistency in your photography.

  • Manual Replication: One way to preserve settings is by manually replicating them for each photo. Remember the amount you adjusted the exposure slider and apply the same change each time. This requires a keen eye and a bit of practice but can achieve a consistent look.
  • Third-Party Camera Apps: Consider using third-party camera apps. Apps like ProCamera or Halide, for instance, provide more control over exposure and focus and can save settings for future sessions.
  • Taking Notes: If you frequently use specific settings for certain environments or subjects, jotting down these settings can help. Keep a note on your phone detailing the exposure adjustments for different scenarios, and refer to it when shooting in similar conditions.

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Advanced Exposure Techniques For iPhone Photography

How to change exposure on iPhone? For iPhone photography enthusiasts looking to push beyond basic exposure adjustments, exploring advanced techniques and leveraging third-party apps can open up a world of creative possibilities.

  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Photography: HDR is an in-built iPhone feature that captures three photos at different exposures and combines them into one. This can bring out more detail in the highlights and shadows, making your photos more vibrant and lifelike. Experimenting with HDR can dramatically change the mood and detail of your shots, especially in high-contrast scenarios.
  • Long Exposure: While the iPhone doesn’t natively support long exposure settings, you can mimic this effect using the Live Photo feature. By taking a Live Photo and selecting the ‘Long Exposure’ effect in the Photos app, you can create stunning images of moving water or cityscapes with light trails.
  • Third-Party Apps For Granular Control: For more advanced control, consider third-party camera apps like ProCamera, Halide, or Manual. These apps allow you to manually adjust shutter speed, ISO, and aperture – the key components of exposure. They provide a DSLR-like experience, offering precise control over how your photos are exposed.
  • Bracketing With Third-Party Apps: Some advanced apps offer exposure bracketing, where multiple photos are taken at different exposures. This is ideal for post-processing, allowing photographers to blend images for the perfect exposure in editing software like Adobe Lightroom.
  • Experimenting With Exposure Compensation: Play with exposure compensation in tricky lighting situations. For instance, deliberately underexposing a bright sky can create dramatic silhouettes, adding an artistic touch to your landscape photography. To discover more about using your iPhone’s camera creatively, the article how to make ASMR videos with iPhone might offer some interesting insights.


How do I adjust the exposure on my iPhone camera?

To adjust the exposure, open the Camera app. You'll see a yellow box and a sun icon next to it. Swipe up next to the sun icon to increase exposure (brighten the image) or down to decrease it (darken the image) .

Can I lock the exposure and focus on my iPhone?

Yes, you can lock both exposure and focus. After setting your focus and exposure by tapping and adjusting the sun icon, press and hold on the focus area until you see AE/AF LOCK at the top of your screen. This locks the exposure and focus settings .

Will my iPhone save my exposure settings for future use?

The native Camera app does not automatically save custom exposure settings. However, you can manually replicate these settings for each photo or use third-party camera apps that allow saving custom settings .

How can I ensure stability when adjusting exposure in high and low light?

For stable shots, especially in low light conditions, use a tripod or rest your iPhone against a steady surface to minimize camera shake. This ensures clearer photos when adjusting exposure in challenging lighting .

What's the best way to learn and master exposure adjustments on my iPhone?

Experimenting with different exposure levels is key. Practice adjusting the exposure in various lighting conditions to see how it affects your photos. Over time, you'll develop an intuitive sense of how much to adjust for each scene .


In this exploration of iPhone photography, we’ve uncovered the essence of exposure and its pivotal role in capturing stunning images. From understanding the basics of exposure to mastering advanced techniques, each step offers an opportunity to enhance your photographic prowess.

How to change exposure on iPhone? We’ve delved into the practicalities of adjusting exposure in the iPhone Camera app, highlighting the benefits of locking focus and exposure for consistent results. The discussion extended to preserving custom settings and introduced third-party apps for more granular control, empowering you to push the boundaries of your creative expression.

Embrace the versatility of your iPhone’s camera, experiment with different exposure settings, and watch as your photos transform from ordinary to extraordinary. Your iPhone is more than just a phone; it’s a powerful tool for capturing the world around you. So, go ahead and capture those moments, one perfectly exposed photo at a time.

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