Step 01

Think Bright

We're big fans of the “bright button.” Also known as exposure, this is the secret to making your images stand out on the screen (and in print). Because after brightening your photo, it comes to life. Be careful not to overdo it, as you risk overexposing and losing information. Note that brightening is the foundation to base all other edits off of — and sometimes, bumping up the exposure is all you'll need.

Edited photo of the fall mountain scene pictured in the prior gif

How to achieve on your native iPhone camera app: Hit the “adjust” button in your camera roll. Tap the light icon, and depending on the original darkness of the photo, drag the toggle up around 3/4 of the way.

Step 02

Create Contrast

Contrast brings depth into your photograph, and it illuminates the details. At its core, contrast darkens your shadows and highlights the rest. It can be a powerful tool, so apply it little-by-little until you get the desired outcome.

gif of iPhone screen changing contrast on photo of palm tree and cityscape
Edited photo of palm tree and cityscape pictured in the previous gif

How to achieve on your native iPhone camera app: Follow the same steps above to get into editing mode. Under the color section, you will find the “contrast” option. Play with the sliding scale just enough to make your photo pop (we suggest a little more than halfway).

Step 03

Act Natural

This is where the creativity comes in. Whether it be applying a filter, focusing on one color, or desaturating another — have fun with it. Think back to what you saw when you took the photo: how the sun reflected off the building, how blue the ocean was. Use this as your trial-and-error period to find the right match for what best represents the photo. In this step, you can go back to your tools (saturation, highlighting, etc.) while aiming for a natural look. All these subtleties will add up to a photo that will take you back to that exact moment.

gif of iPhone screen editing photo of city street by altering light and color
Edited photo of city street from prior gif

How to achieve on your native iPhone camera app: Once in editing mode, experiment with the tools to slightly alter the look. Depending on the photo, go back to the shadows or saturation. Tap on the photo to see the original (you can benchmark your edit from there until you find the perfect balance).

Step 04

Crop It

Cropping changes everything: it draws the eye into the image, it emphasizes the details of a scene, and it cuts out the distractions. Want to remove the busyness from an image? Create space? Highlight one part? Crop it. It's a sure way to add an artistic element to your image, and it creates focus immediately. To learn how to achieve this while taking the photo, visit our Rule of Thirds Guide.

gif of iPhone screen cropping photo of bridge shrouded in fog according to rule of thirds
Edited photo of bridge shrouded in fog from previous gif

How to achieve on your native iPhone camera app: In edit mode, hit the square button on the left-hand side, then drag the edges to crop just as you want it. Pro tip: try a few variations (cropped in tightly, cropping out different objects, etc.) to see what you like best.

Ready for Print

The good news is that at this point, you should be all ready for print. The photo is bright, the details are clear — and it's just how you want it. Make sure it's in the sRGB color profile (which all phone photos are automatically), and voilà! It will soon be in tangible form on your doorstep. Find a new home for your photos here.

Photo prints scattered on tabletop