6 Tips for Better iPhone Photos

Whether you are taking vacation/travel pictures, capturing a moment for social media, or taking photos to promote your business, follow these 6 tips for better iPhone photos and make your photos shine!

As a graphic designer, I do most of my work in a Mac environment, so the following tips apply to the iPhone camera system. The images below are from the iPhone 14 Pro, but most of the settings mentioned go back quite a few models on the iPhone and should still be valid on most newer iPhones.


1. Adjust Your General Settings

As a default, newer iPhones are set up to take higher resolution, quality photos right out of the box. But there are a few tricks to help you create better images.

Format: High Efficiency vs Most Compatible: I use Most Compatible. Either one should work fine, but I have found the Most Compatible setting creates sharper images, plus it works cross-platform (Mac and PC) a little easier.

Grid: You may also find it helpful to turn on the Grid setting (a little further down the main menu) to keep your photos clean and straight.

Grid Settings on iphone

Camera Settings

From the Home Screen, go to:

Settings → Camera → Formats → Most Compatible

Settings → Camera → Grid


2. Use the Correct Camera Modes

Photo, Portrait, and Pano

iphone camera modes for photos

Photo: Photo is the standard mode that you see when you open Camera. Use Photo mode to take still photos and Live Photos.

Portrait: You don’t have to be photographing a person to use Portrait mode; it works great for food and product shots as well! This mode applies a depth-of-field effect to your photos. (Drag the Portrait Lighting control to choose a lighting effect)

Pano: Capture a panoramic landscape or other scene. Start by hitting the Shutter button, then slowly move the camera in the direction of the arrow, keeping it on the center line. To finish, tap the Shutter button again.


3. Utilize Live Photo Mode

Live mode icon

A Live Photo captures what happens just before and after you take your photo. You take a Live Photo just like you do a normal one, trying to keep your hand steady for a few seconds after the photo is taken. Turn Live Photo on and off on the main Photo screen in the upper right-hand corner, looking for the icons shown above. There are quite a few fun tricks you can try using the Live Photo mode.


Add Effects to a Live Photo:

Open a Live Photo from the Photos App, tap Live in the top-left corner, then choose one of the following:


Live Photo to Long Exposure Before and After Sample

Open up the Live drop down menu, change setting from Live to Long Exposure, and voilà, you have a professional-looking, frame-worthy photograph!


4. Fine-Tune and Edit Your Photo With Adjustments and Preset Filters

Not every photo you take is going to come out perfect, but the iPhone has a built-in photo editor that does a pretty good job of making the needed adjustments.

Adjustments and preset filters

Open the desired photo from the Photos App and find the “Edit” button near the top right (Sample 1). You will then have a few options to make adjustments. Under the “Filters” (Sample 2), scroll through the various options and find one that suits your needs. Or if you want to further fine-tune your image manually, look to the “Adjust” button (Sample 3). Here, you can find quite a few adjustment options by scrolling to the right. One that I like to use is the “Vibrance” button. Edging that meter to the right a bit will brighten up the most dull or washed-out photos. There is an “Un-Do” button on the top left if you go too far in one direction or another. To see the before/after adjustments, press and hold your finger on the screen for a few seconds to reveal the changes. The updates will be saved once you hit the “Done” button. Don’t worry, there is always a “Revert to Original” option if you reopen the “Edit” field.

There are also quite a few 3rd-party photo editor apps out there. I have had good results with both Snapseed and Lightroom, although both have a bit of a learning curve to find the all the buttons and features.

Snapseed and Lightroom icon

Snapseed – Free

Lightroom – Free Trial


5. Plan the Final Composition of the Photograph

Composition of iphone photo

6. Determine the End Use of the Photo

The iPhone is an excellent source for most photographic applications. The resolution and clarity of the photos will be perfect for websites, social media posts, wall photos, and most commercial printing (brochures, flyers, postcards, posters, etc.). The one thing that may become an issue is if you are using iPhone photography for large format images (environmental graphics, trade show booths, popup banners), where the resolution starts to become problematic. With commercial printing, the goal is to always send photographs at 300 dpi or better. Large format projects can go as low as 100-150 dpi depending on how far away the viewer is from the graphic. A standard iPhone photo sent at its “Actual Size” can go as large as 32″ x 24″ and still be 125 dpi, so it’s still possible depending on how large the final image will be. If you have questions whether your photograph will work for certain projects, reach out to your printer and they can give you the tips and help you need.

Bonus Tip: When emailing photos for online or commercial printing purposes, always choose the “Actual Size” option for best results, even if you have to email the photos one or two at a time.

Scale photos in emails

Compose email → Click on < Icon on the right to add attachments → Select photo icon → Select photo(s) you want to send → Pick “Actual Size” for the resolution.

People often think they need to have an expensive camera and tons of equipment to take great photos. When I take landscape photos, I bring my Canon Rebel T7i, and my iPhone, but I use the iPhone for a majority of my photography. However, the iPhone zoom feature really brings down the quality of the final photo, so if I need to zoom in on something more than 2x or 3x, I default to the DSLR Canon camera. And there are certain Pano shots and close-up photography I just can’t get with the Canon, so it’s good to have options. So get out there, have fun, and take LOTS of pictures! (Most people comment on how great my photos turn out, but little do they know that the five or six photos I share were dwindled down from 100 ☺)


Visit my photography portfolio at: https://toddduane.myportfolio.com/photography-1

or visit me on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/tzone007/

Free Fall-Themed Desktop/Mobile Wallpapers

Fall has arrived in Wisconsin – my favorite time of the year! Cool, crisp mornings, sunny sweatshirt weather in the afternoons and evenings, and great sleeping weather at night.

All of my favorite things are happening: campfires, football, soups and chilis, Halloween and Thanksgiving (and pumpkin spice season if that is your thing), but most of all, the explosion of colors!

Now’s the perfect time to add some fall colors to your desktop or mobile device, so we created 3 free wallpapers for you to download below.

Happy Fall!

Fall Desktop and Mobile Wallpapers



2560×1440 | 1920×1080 | 1280×1024 | 1024×768 |640×480 | Mobile


Pumpkin Patch

2560×1440 | 1920×1080 | 1280×1024 | 1024×768 |640×480 | Mobile


Fallen Leaves

2560×1440 | 1920×1080 | 1280×1024 | 1024×768 |640×480 | Mobile

A Walk in the Woods. How to Reduce Work-Related Stress.

With more and more of us back in the office instead of working remotely, everyday work-related stress is beginning to creep back up to the pre-COVID-19 levels. Not to mention the economic changes and increased financial concerns that translate to pressure at work!

According to The American Institute of Stress:


The Cure for Stress at Work?

A Walk in the Woods, no not the Bill Bryson book or the Robert Redford movie, an actual walk through the woods. For me this has always been the best way to clear my mind. A simple one-hour walk in nature after a stressful day is always a calming, stress-reducing way to improve your mood. Featured in this Time Magazine article, the Japanese call it Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Bathing), opening your mind to all 5 senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. That last one might sound strange, but I have a few secret trails that lead me to mulberries and a wild raspberry patch 😁)

Reduce stress with WI nature photography.










As a graphic designer, a walk in the woods provides an added benefit – inspiration! I find it around every bend, and every twist and turn in the path. From the brightly colored flowers to the cool water cascading across the rocks, inspiration is all around. Listening to the breeze rustle the leaves in the trees, the sound of a stream splashing by, I turn my head up to follow the colorful birds and other critters chasing and playing through the treetops. The smell of evergreens, the crisp, cooling autumn air erases away the stress and takes me to another, more serene headspace. After a peaceful, leisurely walk, I return home rejuvenated and feel the weight on my shoulders has been lifted, and according to sleep.org., this makes for a better, deeper, more restful night’s sleep. So, turn off your phone, put on some comfortable shoes, and hit the trails!

A happy side effect of my love of nature is the scenic Wisconsin photography seen here, all of which I took within one hour of the Madison area. In most cases I just find a comfortable, secluded spot and watch everything happening around me, and the photos just present themselves.

Reduce Stress with pictures of WI State Park Photography










Some great Madison-area hiking trails:

UW Arboretum

Picnic Point Marsh Loop

Cherokee Marsh Loop

Edgewood College Nature Trail

Capital Springs State Recreation Area


Todd Duane, a Madison native, is a Madison College graduate with a degree in Graphic Design. Todd started at Econoprint/Powderkeg in 2001 as a part-time Graphic Designer and part-time Proofreader in the design department. Now an award-winning Senior Creative Designer, Todd’s knowledge and attention to detail has earned the respect of many high-profile clients. In his free time, Todd enjoys photography, hiking, reading, movies, and discovering new disc golf courses throughout the state and beyond. Visit his design portfolio at tzone.myportfolio.com or follow him on Instagram as he travels the wilderness seeking new and exciting places! www.instagram.com/tzone007/

Are your photos good enough resolution (dpi) for printing?

What is dpi, and why does it matter in the print world?

DPI (dots per inch) is used to describe the resolution number of dots per inch in a printed piece, the higher the number, the more info (dots) are stuffed into a 1-inch area, creating a more vibrant and visually pleasing printed photo. Conversely, fewer dots per inch results in a more blocky/choppy printed photo. See samples.






The goal is to use images with 300 dpi for all printed pieces. There can be exceptions, including photos used in large format displays, pop-up banners, and tradeshow booths. In these cases, the imagery is viewed from more than an arm’s length away, and the pixilation (choppiness) isn’t as noticeable.

So, how can you tell the dpi of your photos? There are a few tricks you can do on your home or office PC/Mac to check the dpi of each photo you plan to use in a printed piece.

On Windows/PC









On Mac

On Mac










So, now that you know the pixel size of your photo, use this formula to determine the size of your photo at the desired 300 dpi size:

Pixels  ÷  300  =  the inches your photo will print at 300 dpi:

Example 3219 ÷ 300 = 10.73” & 4024 ÷ 300 = 13.41”
photo can print up to 10.73” wide x 13.41” tall and still look great!

This isn’t an unbreakable rule, as some photos will look good enough at only 200 dpi, but it gives you a guideline how the final print quality of a photo will look in your next brochure, flyer or poster.

Get Better Results from Your Brochure Content and Layout

You are ready to WOW your clients with a sparkly new brochure, and you are primed to take the industry by storm. Now you just need to show all your potential clients why they should choose you over your competitors. Easier said than done. Spend all the money in the world on fancy papers and gold-foiled emblems, but the content is what gets results and sells your services.


Where to Start

Keep it short and to the point.


Create Engaging Body Copy

Target your content to your specific audience. Mistakes are often made by trying to paint with too broad of a brush. You only have a limited time to catch their interest, so you need to create content that is direct and on point.

Write from a reader’s point of view, not a business owner. Think of questions that your current clients ask you on a regular basis, and answer them in your text. Also, when listing bullet points, think of them more as customer benefits instead of listing a bunch of services that may not be clear to the end user.


Utilize Photos/Colors/Infographics

A good balance of words and images is preferred and keeps the reader from skipping large blocks of type.

Great photography is not only beautiful and engaging, but it can tell your story, make a great impression, or push a potential client in your direction or to a competitor.

Infographics are another great way to create impact by breaking up long blocks of text and statistical numbers with something colorful, beautiful, and engaging. According to Forbes Magazine, “visual information—when presented clearly—trumped textual information by tenfold, and the study revealed that 90 percent of all information we remember was based on visual impact.” Provide your designer with statistics, sales numbers, production timelines, etc. and let them create something beautiful and eye-catching.



Think about utilizing whitespace (negative space). There is no better way to draw attention to something than the minimalist approach of using whitespace. It’s better than bolding, adding a drop shadow, or the ever-popular starburst! Your eyes are naturally drawn to the singled out area of the page, and it’s easier on the eyes when whitespace is used in body copy vs. forcing large amounts of text into tight areas. The following examples show text at the same size, but Sample 1 has a nice, readable laid-back feel, while Sample 2 has more of a hurried, frantic style.

Map Out Your Content

We will use the good old, tried and true, trifold brochure as an example, but the same principles apply to most layouts.

Panel 1 (cover of brochure when folded) The cover should have impact, and be an attention grabber. It should never be laden with text and information. The most effective designs will simply include a company logo, some imagery, possibly a tagline, and if so inclined, minimal contact info (website and phone).

Panel 2 (the first page seen when opening the brochure) Panel 2 is maybe the second most important panel of the brochure. It usually includes a summary of your business, a snapshot if you will of what you have to offer to the client.

Panels 3–5 (inside panels) This is where the meat and potatoes of your information usually goes. Oftentimes photos, graphics, or varying backgrounds are used to divide the space and keep it interesting.

Panel 6 (back of brochure when folded) Panel 6 is most often used for contact information and a call to action. End your message with a purpose (schedule an appointment, sign up for, act quickly to take advantage of…). A call to action could also work well at the bottom of panel 5, a natural ending point to the information on the inside.


Brochures can be an important part of your marketing strategy. Think of them as a portable sales rep, something to convey your message, or a representation of your company after an introductory meeting with a client.

Your information in the right hands can be a powerful tool for your success!