How to take better interior photos with your iPhone camera

I gave up my career as a professional photographer in 2009. Besides being burnt out from the business itself, I had both arthritis and two bulging discs in my neck. Twenty five years of hauling around heavy cameras, lenses, lighting, and all the supporting equipment had finally taken it’s toll. What never changed though was my love of photography. After a break from the daily grind I found my passion stirring once again after I purchased my first iPhone. I was very surprised at the quality of photos I could get with just a little editing. Now I take photos with my iphone almost daily and continue to see my everyday world as if looking through a lens.

One of the biggest challenges taking photos with the iPhone is getting the exposure right. Outside is usually no problem but inside it can be challenging and one that designers encounter all the time. The scenario usually involves trying to photograph an interior with windows in the shot or maybe just a window treatment but the bright outside light coming through the window causes the rest of the room to be too dark. Here is a typical example taken of a corner of my family room.


The camera’s light sensor will always pick the lightest area to determine exposure. However, there is a simple trick to override the sensor. Place and hold your finger on one of the darker parts of the image. After a few seconds a yellow box with a sun icon will appear.

familyroom 2

Hold your finger on a darker part of the image and a sun icon appears

Simply touch the sun and slide your finger either up or down to lighten or darken the photo. This will over ride the camera’s sensor.

Here is the same corner after I moved the sun icon up toward the top of the yellow bar.

family room3

The image is not perfect but the exposure is a lot better than before. What I would do next is then use an app to fix the converging lines and tweak the lighting even more. That’s more advanced and I will save that for another post.

Here is another example using the drapery. The first photo is how the iPhone camera wants to expose the shot.


This is the image after bringing up the sun icon by placing my finger on the drapery part of the image and sliding the sun icon up toward the top of the yellow bar.

drapery2Big difference right? So I hope this was helpful and I will continue to share more iPhone camera tips on this blog in the coming weeks.

Tell me your biggest iPhone photography challenge and I will answer your question in an upcoming post.

38 Responses to How to take better interior photos with your iPhone camera
  1. Hannah Reply

    Great hint! But more importantly, what a cute corner!

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thank you Hannah on both accounts!

  2. Carla Aston Reply

    Thank you, Linda! So helpful. Great info for all designers who struggle with shooting interiors.

  3. Debbie Reply

    I always forget I can slide up and down. Don’t know if you’ve discovered A Color Story app yet- it’s definitely upped my edit game.

  4. Jil Sonia Interiors Reply

    Thanks Linda, I don’t have an iPhone, but I’m betting my blackberry has something similar to look for!

    Also, I saw some famous designer had the same elephant table that she just loves, I’ll have to remember who!

  5. Sherri Reply

    Awesome hint, thanks!!

  6. Lynne Whiteside Reply

    Fantastic am trying immediately πŸ’Œ

  7. Meredith Reply

    Terrific information…I had to try it immediately and it worked like a charm! Thanks! Looking forward to more…

  8. Terri Reply

    Awesome hint! Had no idea.

  9. Carol Reply

    Thank you Linda! Greatest tip I’ve ever had! Wow amazing difference!

  10. Linda Pakravan Reply

    This is a great feature! And your family room looks cozy and charming!

  11. Stacey Larocque Reply

    Hi Linda – I’ve been stressing over my 2000 pics I have trapped in my old iPhone 4!
    I’m a home stager with the all important before and afters that can’t be recreated. I’m dreading the task of sorting but more important I’m worried that the resolution or size or whatever the term may be (I’m not very techy) will be a problem when I’m wanting to use these iPhone pics for future marketing.
    Will they only be good enough quality for the Internet but never to print? Or any way to alter?
    Thanks for your insight.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Stacey, the iPhone camera should be fine for printing and marketing. You might want to do some editing but there should be no problem with quality.

  12. Monique Milne Reply

    Love the chair and the drapes Lindy! What a fantastic post thank you so much for sharing it. I can’t wait for more!

  13. Mary Jo gallagher Reply

    Thank you so much for this very helpful information. I had a drapery to photograph and the glare made the photo look awful. Now I can adjust and like the results!!!

  14. Liz Reply

    That’s a fantastic tip! I just tried this on my android and it worked great. Thanks so much!

  15. Jan Therrien Reply

    Thank you for the good advice! I’ll have to try that.

  16. […] Side note* You can see the light is very bright coming in the large windows soΒ I did correct the ex...
  17. nancy Reply

    if i could kiss you through this computer i would! THIS is what i’ve been struggling with and I was about to spend $$$$ to buy a DSLR camera because I could never get the lighting to work. Thank you thank you thank you! adding to you to my blog roll.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Thank you Nancy!!!! So happy I solved your problem and honored to be added to your blog roll!

  18. Leslie 😊 Reply

    πŸŽ‰Linda!!!!!! Thank you for this info. I use my iPhone for IG. I know others have serious cameras and when they use their iPhone they apologize for their grainy picture. Sometimes I’m self-conscious about my pictures, but that’s what I have to work with. I do have an app that helps edit my pictures, but your info is really going to help me. πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ˜Š

  19. Pamela Copeman Reply

    Terrific tips Linda, thank you xo P

  20. […] because I didn’t have a tripod (and in this case I definitely needed one). I did use the iphon...
  21. […] realized one was upside down, decided a lower angle would be best, adjusted for the back lighting (b...
  22. Veronica Domurat Reply

    Thanks for the tip!! And I love everything about that corner in your family room. Growing up my parents had a similar parrot but in yellow I believe. Thanks again. Always nice to read you.

  23. […] Sometimes we just need to get the best shots possible on our own. If you have been following my iPho...
  24. Debbie Viola Reply

    Thank you so much for the tip. As an artist, I often find it difficult to take great photos of my work after it has been installed .

  25. […] Simply place your finger on the screen until a yellow box appears with a little sun icon to the righ...
  26. […] myself to viewing these terrible images. Too bad they didn’t read any of my blog posts on how ...
  27. Susan Reply

    Thanks so much for this help, Linda! My sister suggested that your I phone tips might be helpful, and they certainly are. This tip will be especially useful when I take pictures for my blog. – Susan

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Great! Glad to hear that Susan. Also, I have written over a dozen posts on iPhone photography so if you want to read more simply type in “iPhone” in my blog search box and they will all come up.

  28. sherry Reply

    Hi there, I’m selling real estate (my own) and not using prof’l photographer. I need WIDE ANGLE photos. Any tips on wide angle devices such as “Ubittek iPhone Camera attachment? I’ts on order from Amazon so I haven’t yet tried. Thank you.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Hi Sherry, most of the inexpensive wide angle attachments for the iPhone are not very good. The wide angle I use is a Ztylus. I have also heard Moment is a good one as well. Good luck!

  29. Jasper Tan Reply

    Hi Linda,
    any tips on how take a really nice photo of a small room’s interior?
    I find it a challenge to get most of the room inside the frame

  30. Breinine Taylor Reply

    Thank you, that was a very helpful tip.

  31. Venetta Reply

    Great tip. I never knew I could slide it up and down. Thank you for sharing.

    • Linda Holt Reply

      Most iPhone owners don’t know about that trick! It makes such a difference in the quality of photos though.

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