Though lip syncing, arm dancing, and wholesome pet content might have a monopoly on the TikTok discover page algorithm (I'm not complaining), there's also a trove of photography hacks. Here, I've put together a list of iPhone camera effects from TikTok to save you a trip to the black hole of never-ending entertaining content, so that you can recreate them offline. The growing sub trend of impressive photography tricks done with nothing more than iPhones, household items, and a level of ingenuity that only Gen Z can reach, will entice you to try them.
While I can attest that these hacks work, I'll warn you that almost all of them require making some kind of mess, or doing something with your iPhone that Apple probably would not recommend. So test these hacks at your own risk, or just enjoy watching other people try them, which might be even more satisfying, TBH.
From cinematic lens effects, to geometric selfie hacks, DIY glow in the dark lights, and book page zoom lenses, TikTok users are flexing their artful cleverness in the evolving social media photography community. Here are some of the most impressive #iphonephotohacks that have been posted on TikTok but can be used anywhere:
1. Clown Effect
The theory behind this creepy and yet totally awesome trend is that if you have access to multicolored lights and multicolored makeup, you can create a makeup look that becomes invisible when exposed to that same color light. In this case, if you use red clown makeup, and then flash a red light on it, it won't stand out. But if you flash a blue or green white light in it, the makeup will pop. It's simple, yet spooky!
2. Puddle Reflections
When paired with dramatic music, this surprise reflection photography trend on TikTok is epically cinematic. If there aren't any puddles around, simply pour a tiny puddle of water on a flat surface, get on the ground next to it, turn your phone upside down and film the subject through reflection. You can have someone stand over the puddle, or you can pour the puddle in front of something stationary that you want to reflect.
3. Black Light Effect
By laying blue and purple colored pieces of tape over your iPhone's flash (two layers of blue Sharpie and one layer of purple Sharpie are recommended), you can create a black light-like feature that will make neon colors pop. Just note that it's not a real UV blacklight, so it's not going to show what a biological mess your bathroom is, it's just going to make your bathroom look kind of purple.
4. Fisheye Lens
If your iPhone is water-resistant, you might want to try out this hack that creates a faux fisheye lens with only a drop of water. To get the effect, start recording a video, place your camera on a flat surface with the forward facing lens exposed, and place one drop of water on the iPhone lens. Move in and align your eye with the lens for a detailed and three dimensionally warped shot.
5. Drone Effect
If you trust your hand and eye coordination, start recording a slow motion video and carefully toss your phone in the air. Though it will only be up there for a split second, it will catch enough frames that when you watch the slowed down clip, it will look like a cinematic drone shot.
6. Glitter Stars Effect
This video hack makes a mess, so lots of creators actually do it in the bath tub. To create a cosmic and trippy visual, drop glitter over your lens while filming with a flash and in slow motion. Note that it will be hard to clean the glitter out of your phone so you might want avoid fine glitter and opt for larger specs that are easier to remove.
7. Stars Effect
Get ready to have a blast making a mess in your bathroom. For this trick, all you need to do is splash some water on your bathroom mirror, turn the lights out, and take a flash photo. The combination of reflective water, the reflective surface and the reflective light will create a very neat visual effect that looks like stars. You can get your hand in the shot too, to make it look like you've got the cosmos in your hand.
8. Posing Hacks
Bonnie Rodriguez is the posing hack master on TikTok. She teaches users how to create triangles with their bodies (by bending a knee, folding an arm, and adjusting shoulders) to create more interesting poses that fill the space in an artful way. Her hacks are as simple as a slight adjustment and make a huge difference.
9. Intense Sunset Effect
This hack turns a subtle sunset into a saturated, vibrant, and otherworldly night sky image. All you have to do is take a picture of a sunset and then do a little bit of post production editing. Though some TikTok users have the Lightroom photo editing app, you can also use the Photo app that comes with your iPhone. Just increase the saturation and the contrast, until the colors in the sky intensify and everything else the image darkens.
10. Book Effect
This Pinterest-worthy photo hack is so simple, you'll be shocked that you never thought to try it before. All you have to do is face the subject you want to photograph with a book. Round two pages of the book toward each other to create a long lens, and then place your phone at one end so that you are photographing the subject through the rolled pages.