How to shoot stunning black-and-white photos on iPhone

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This wasn't taken on an iPhone, but it could have been.
This wasn't taken on an iPhone, but it could have been.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Black-and-white photos aren’t just regular photos with the color taken out. Or rather, they are exactly that, but they are also more than that. A B&W portrait can seem to say more about the subject than a colorful version, for instance. B&W is also ideal for showing more graphic images. Take a color photo of scaffolding and it looks super-dull. Take the same photo in B&W, jack up the contrast, and it becomes a stark grid — way more interesting to look at.

There’s much more to taking a B&W photo than just removing the color. For instance, did you know that a color filter will have a startling effect on a B&W photo? Let’s take a look at some of the tricks to capturing and editing stunning black-and-white images.

Everything you need to know about white balance for your iPhone camera

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This is an almost impossible lighting situation for most automatic cameras.
This is an almost impossible lighting situation for most automatic cameras.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

White balance is one of the most important settings on any camera. It can make the difference between vibrant, accurate colors, and a muddy, flat mess. It is also the setting least likely to be tweaked manually by casual photographers. There’s not even a good way to adjust white balance in the iPhone’s own Photos app.

But don’t despair. Today we’ll learn everything you need to now about how white balance works, and what to do with it.

How to use the iPhone camera’s built-in manual controls

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Manual control can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Manual control can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

For most photos, the iPhone camera proves perfectly adequate. You just hold up your phone, point it, and shoot. The exposure and focus are almost always correct, or at least correct enough. But on occasion, you need to take control.

For instance, maybe that beautiful dark blue sky keeps getting washed out because the iPhone insists on correctly exposing the face of the human in the foreground, when you’d prefer to see the person in silhouette. (Or vice versa.) Or perhaps the iPhone insists on focusing on that tree in the foreground, instead of the person half-hidden behind it?

Both of these can be fixed using the manual controls built right into the iPhone’s own Camera app. They’re pretty well-hidden, so you might never have even noticed them. But rest assured, they are there — and they are very easy to use!

How to remove location data from photos you share

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Remove location data maps on bench

Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

When you share a photo via email, iMessage or most other apps, you also send the location of that image. No big deal, right? You’re only sending pictures to people you know anyway. But what about when you sell something on a site like Craigslist or eBay? If you don’t manually remove location data from your pictures, anyone can see where you took your photo, which is probably your home.

Right away, anyone can see where you live, and what you have at home. You still might not care, but if you do, here’s how to remove all that information before you send a photograph. (You’ll also learn about an interesting quirk in iMessage.)

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A decent tripod and a few great apps can help you capture stunning light trails, motion blur, and low light photos.
A decent tripod and a few great apps can help you capture stunning light trails, motion blur, and low-light photos.
Photo: Ally Kazmucha/The App Factor