Cotton Coulson is a contributing photographer to National Geographic Traveler and nationalgeographic.com. He is based in Denmark. I suppose it should come as no surprise that shooting photos for National Geographic requires carrying around an assortment of heavy DSLR cameras. Hired to produce some of the best photos in the world, Geographic photographers remain competitive, in part, by using the best equipment available. In my case, I waited for the third and fourth generations of the iPhone to be released before I even started thinking about using it as a photographic tool. I always felt that if I took the creative effort to produce a beautiful photo, the quality should be good enough to sell to the top photo agencies, like Geographic’s Image Collection. Today, we’re getting much closer to having camera phones that allow us to achieve this benchmark. In this gallery, I provide tips on how to improve your iPhone photography, accompanied by examples from my own travels. Always Have Your iPhone With You “The best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time,” goes the adage. Since the iPhone is a device that serves multiple purposes, it’s always there with you to capture the photo-worthy moments in your life—especially the unexpected ones. Every time you leave home, it’s easy to remember your phone. This isn’t always the case with a regular camera. Even though the quality of the lens glass on camera phones is still somewhat limited, having a camera with you at all times enables you to take and then share your photos on social media sites and with close friends and family. The images you capture with your camera phone can be very intimate and moving. This in itself is something marvelous. Because my iPhone is always by my side, it was easy for me to take this close-up of Sisse Brimberg, my wife, washing her hair in our hotel room in Brussels, Belgium. It amazes me how close you can get with this camera. --Cotton Coulson Get more photo tips »

Woman Washing Hair, Brussels

Cotton Coulson is a contributing photographer to National Geographic Traveler and nationalgeographic.com. He is based in Denmark. I suppose it should come as no surprise that shooting photos for National Geographic requires carrying around an assortment of heavy DSLR cameras. Hired to produce some of the best photos in the world, Geographic photographers remain competitive, in part, by using the best equipment available. In my case, I waited for the third and fourth generations of the iPhone to be released before I even started thinking about using it as a photographic tool. I always felt that if I took the creative effort to produce a beautiful photo, the quality should be good enough to sell to the top photo agencies, like Geographic’s Image Collection. Today, we’re getting much closer to having camera phones that allow us to achieve this benchmark. In this gallery, I provide tips on how to improve your iPhone photography, accompanied by examples from my own travels. Always Have Your iPhone With You “The best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time,” goes the adage. Since the iPhone is a device that serves multiple purposes, it’s always there with you to capture the photo-worthy moments in your life—especially the unexpected ones. Every time you leave home, it’s easy to remember your phone. This isn’t always the case with a regular camera. Even though the quality of the lens glass on camera phones is still somewhat limited, having a camera with you at all times enables you to take and then share your photos on social media sites and with close friends and family. The images you capture with your camera phone can be very intimate and moving. This in itself is something marvelous. Because my iPhone is always by my side, it was easy for me to take this close-up of Sisse Brimberg, my wife, washing her hair in our hotel room in Brussels, Belgium. It amazes me how close you can get with this camera. --Cotton Coulson Get more photo tips »
Photograph by Cotton Coulson

Tips for Better iPhone Photography

Get expert tips and advice for taking pictures with your iPhone with this how-to photo gallery, from National Geographic.

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