9 Hacks to Enhance Your iPhone Holiday Photography

Over the next few days, you’re sure to want to snap some photographs of family and friends together, but when it comes to getting the perfect shot, Christmas Day can provide some obstacles.It’s often not the lightest, brightest of days, and all those lights might create ambience, but they can often throw your photo’s levels off. Fortunately, the latest iPhones - especially the iPhone 15 Pro - is well equipped to handle your festive photography needs, even if you only know the basics.

However, there are a few extra iPhone tricks that you can employ to make your holiday photographs even better. Photographer and teacher Rodrigo Rivas shares some general tips and simple tricks to learn how to get the most out of your iPhone 15 Pro camera to capture the best pictures shot on iPhone of our friends and family on these special dates.

  1. Work with the light When you’re taking photos of people, positioning them with the light in the right place will help improve your shots.‘Having a light in front of the person being photographed will help to achieve a better result,’ Rodrigo says, ‘but don’t worry: Smart HDR and the ability to meter the exposure on iPhone 15 Pro will help to have a good overall exposure of the shot.‘Don’t forget that your twinkling Christmas lights can look effective in holiday photos too, though—especially when you use Portrait Mode. ‘In portraits, remember to put lights in the background, and you can also use side or front lights,’ Rodrigo adds. ‘Thanks to the Portrait mode and the ability to edit the depth and focus point afterwards, we can get artistic photos that remind us of these dates.’

  2. Take better group photos Struggling to fit everyone in your Christmas Day group photos? ‘Thanks to the multiple lens options available on iPhone 15 Pro Max, you have the possibility of taking portraits with different shots,’ Rodrigo tells us. ‘For example, we can take group portraits or wider Christmas scenes with the Wide camera, using the 24, 28 and 35 mm lengths, to close the shot with the 2x or 5x Telephoto options and get close-ups or shots of distant details.’

  3. Take in the details Often, the beauty is in the detail, so get snapping the smaller things that make your Christmas Day special, too. ‘With the help of the macro mode of our iPhone, you can zoom in on Christmas details to get a different and creative view,’ Rodrigo tells us. ‘Isolate objects and some Christmas food dishes to emphasize their texture and shape. Also, remember that color and light will help us get a better photo: make sure you don’t cast a shadow on the objects and try to keep them in the central part of the frame.’

  4. Think about the colors If you’re living in the moment, you might be taking photographs that are simply reflections of what’s actually happening in your home. However, if you want a slightly more stylized Christmas, or are just playing around with a new iPhone 15 you received as a gift, why not experiment with set-ups for more striking shots.‘With basic notions about color, and the combinations of different tones you can get very striking photos,’ Rodrigo says. ‘For example, by mixing objects with warm and cold tones we can give more contrast to the scene, as well as if we use complementary colors. Also keep in mind that the type of light will alter the saturation and tone of the color.’

  5. Capture the moment In our experience, you either love a Live Photo, or you don’t. But on days like Christmas, it’s a great way to capture the joy of individual moment.‘You can take advantage of Live Photo to capture what happens 1.5 seconds before and 1.5 seconds after you’ve taken a picture, and thus have not only the photo, but also that moment in a short video that you can then share,’ Rodrigo says. ‘In addition, we can then edit our Live Photo generating a loop, a back-and-forth movement, or even give ambient sound to the captured photo… you no longer have to imagine what carol was playing at that special moment!’

  6. Shoot from above We love a good overhead shot of a scene, but if you’ve ever tried on your phone, it can feel a little trick to get it perfectly lined up.‘You can use aerial shots that help to include multiple elements, as well as the delicious plates of food,’ says Rodrigo. ‘Use the grid to compose and remember that with the help of the camera level we can know if our iPhone is placed completely perpendicular to the scene we are going to shoot. Of course we can also take the picture with an inclination of 30-45º, giving a greater depth to our still life.’

  7. Slow it down Mix it up and add some dramatic slow motion video to your Christmas showreel. ‘Slow motion video is always a nice option for capturing moments at Christmas when one of our protagonists makes a move,’ Rodrigo says. ‘From scenes of people playing games, or in the snow, to capturing champagne being poured into a glass.’

  8. Pet portraits ‘Including pets in our Christmas scenes is now even easier with Portrait mode,’ Rodrigo says. ‘Remember to position yourself with your iPhone at their height by lowering the track point and using any of the Telephoto lenses. If you want more creative photos and fun scenes, use the Wide camera and angled viewpoints.’

  9. Set a timer You don’t want one person left out of your group photos, so use the iPhone’s timer and remote functions to take your shots. ‘Thanks to the camera timer, and also thanks to Apple Watch Camera Control, we can leave our iPhone on a tripod or in a stable place to be part of that group portrait,’ Rodrigo says. ‘Also, try to take more than one picture, to ensure the perfect shot. And with all the photos you have taken, and thanks to iPhone Shortcuts you can make a GIF in the simplest way, something very useful to send for example a Christmas greeting on the move.’