You’re in the park watching your kids or grandkids playing, skateboarding, running…and you try to capture the moment by taking a photo.  You get home and look at your photos and all you see is blur!

Or…you’re hiking and crest the hill to see a gorgeous view in front of you.  You frame up the beautiful mountains and bright blue sky and take what you think will be your best photo ever.  You get home and the sky is all blown out, nothing like the azure blue you saw when you took the photo.

Sound familiar?

Read on, my friend, and find out how you can move past these problems to capture the moment you visualized!

Why Use Burst Mode?

  • Sports Action photos:  a whole series of photos one after another quickly where you know if you try to just capture one photo it will most likely be out of focus.
  • Photos of people: walking, hopping, dancing, running, leaping, skate boarding (you get the point!) through a scene
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How To Use Burst Mode

  • Open your iPhone camera and select regular “photo” mode.
  • Frame your photo from where the action is coming and be ready to hold down shutter button when subject gets close enough
  • When you want to start the series, press and hold the shutter button.  If they move past you, move the camera staying on the subject and release when you want.  You will now have anywhere from 30-50 or more photos collected.
  • Your burst photos are stored in a separate folder in the albums section entitled “Bursts”. So either navigate there from within your photos (touching the photo series you want) or just click on the photo icon next to the shutter button if you still have your camera open.
  • You’ll see the entire series running along the bottom of the screen, like a filmstrip. Touch the “select” option from the menu. Sort through your photos (it is like a slider) one at a time to see which ones you want to keep.  Select the ones you want by touching the circle in the bottom right corner of each photo.  When you see a grey dot under a single photo, your camera is telling you that this might be a good one.  You decide which one is the best athletic position!!  Tap “Done” in the menu and it will give you options to choose from. Deleting the ones you don’t want will save room on your iPhone.

The photo with the young man on the trampoline was one of my first tries with the Burst Mode.  It was late in the day and it was hard to find a good background for him to really show up well and that wasn’t too busy.  I like how the photo caught him in the upside down flip position but I wished I had framed it a bit differently to have him show up in the light part of the background.  I caught 50-some photos in the burst and this was the best one!

I found the skateboarding photo online at this website.

Now let’s explore the HDR mode on your iPhone.

What is HDR?

  • stands for High Dynamic Range.  When it comes to your iPhone, when this mode is selected, 3 photos will be taken at 3 different exposures and then will be combined into 1 HDR photo to get a more balanced exposure.
  • There is much to learn about taking HDR photos with a regular DSLR where you use a tool called exposure bracketing to capture different exposures of the same frame.  But that is beyond our discussion today!

 

Why Should I Use the HDR Mode?

  • When you have a challenging exposure situation.  This might be when you are taking a landscape photo with both sky and ground that are very different exposures.
  • I would not recommend using this mode if you think you may have any type of movement in your frame.  The 3 photos that are combined to make the final HDR photo will not combine well if they have movement in them.

Choose HDR and turn it “on” from the “fly out” menu at the top of your camera. Don’t leave this selected all the time as it can run your battery down faster.

You will most likely want to save both the HDR photo and the non-HDR photo of any one capture.  To save the non-HDR photo go to Settings in your iPhone:   Settings>Photos & Camera>Scroll to the bottom.  Make sure the “Keep Normal Photo” slider is on!

You can see what happens in this photo I took in downtown Frederick, MD when I expose for the sky making the building very dark (touch and hold on the sky) vs. when I expose for the darker building areas (touch and hold on the building) blowing out the sky. This is when you want to turn on your HDR.  You will also either want a tripod that can hold an iPhone or be able to rest your hand and phone on something so the camera remains very still. Remember movement is your enemy when taking an HDR photo.

Frame and take your photo.  Analyze both the HDR photo and the normal photo that has been saved.  Compare the sky, in particular, to see if it’s better exposed in the HDR photo or the normal one and choose the exposure that is best overall.  Once you have chosen, delete the one you don’t want so you don’t take up photo space on your phone.

Downtown Canal Walk Frederick, MD
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I took this photo along the Downtown Canal Walk in Frederick, MD.  I set it at HDR.  The regular image is on the left and you can tell the sky is blown out.  You can’t see any of the clouds and details in the sky.  The HDR image is on the right and is a much better exposed image.  I took this photo very early evening and I would also want to do some other basic edits to it by making it a bit darker to reflect what the light was doing at that time of the evening.
Canal walk in Frederick, MD 2 differently exposed images.
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Here is another image taken at the same place further down the canal.  Just as in the first example, you can see that the HDR image on the right is better exposed showing a more interesting sky.  Again, I would post-process it by darkening it all somewhat!  The post-processed HDR photo is the featured photo at the top of this post!

Well, there you have it!  Two more iPhone camera modes under your belt!

I would suggest you go out and try your hand at using these modes.  Don’t just read about it here.  Go to the park, ask your kids or your neighbor’s kids to go out and get active for you, go somewhere that will have people on the go so you can practice using the Burst Mode!  Capture at least 5 different series so you can analyze them, choose your best, and then do any post-processing that is needed.  Try out the HDR mode when you are out in nature and have a great landscape photo with a sky that might present an exposure challenge.  It doesn’t have to just be out in nature…you can capture these anywhere as long as you include a bit of sky that would look better in HDR mode.

Go. Out. And. Shoot.

Just. Do. It.

Then come back here and post your photos in the comments below for us to enjoy!

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