When you don't have the newest iPhone, it can sometimes feel like all of your tech tools are outdated. For example, Portrait Mode has become so ubiquitous that it almost seems like a shortcoming if you don't have it. For that reason, it's pretty understandable to hope there's a way to improve your iPhone camera quality without, well, buying a new iPhone. When it comes down to it, there's good news and bad news.
The bad news is that there's no way to fully account for the superior camera quality of the latest iPhones unless you have them — there are certain aspects of the iPhone's camera evolution that just can't be matched. For example, the introduction of a dual-camera sensor as well as a 2x optical zoom on the iPhone 7 led to huge improvements in the overall quality of photos, Wired reports. Meanwhile, the iPhone 8 built upon those features by improving color and saturation of photos, along with more powerful pixels, according to Trusted Reviews. What's more, the new iPhone is expected to be the first model to have a triple-camera lens system, per CNET. As for the megapixels in each iPhone model, they've increased dramatically over time; the iPhone XS has 12 megapixels, while the iPhone 6 has eight megapixels, per Apple.
So if you have an older iPhone model, it's inevitable that your photos might not end up looking as fancy as your friends' photos, at first glance. But the good news is that there are a few helpful settings options available to help you bridge that gap, not to mention a multitude of amazing photo apps.
If you have the iPhone 4 model or newer, then you have the option of choosing the HDR setting at the top of your screen when the camera app is open. HDR stands for "High Def Resolution"; that's camera-speak for combining multiple exposures to capture more color in scenes. It's especially helpful for photos of landscapes, according to iPhone Photography School, but you can use it for any photo.
If you're trying to capture an action shot, and you have the iPhone 5S or newer, then you have the option of using burst mode. Per iPhone Photography School, all you have to do is hold down the shutter button (AKA the big white circle you press to take the picture). That will lead to a "burst" of photos, which is a collection of many pictures taken rapidly. This tool can help you to capture a tricky action shot, like a photo of someone jumping into the air.
There are also a number of incredible iPhone apps that will help you take great photos while you wait for your next phone upgrade. Even better, many of them are free to download. VSCO is a super popular photo app that has a free version. Not only does it provide excellent editing options for photographs, but it also allows you to adjust your focus and exposure manually, among other fancy tricks.
Snapseed is another popular photo app, with over 29 tools and filters for you to play with. Like VSCO, Snapseed is free to download.
If you're interested in trying out a few new apps to become the best photographer in your group of friends or family, you can check out this list of photo editing apps that will help you on your journey.