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How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Cameras on the iPhone 15 Pro Max

The new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max have the most impressive cameras ever made by Apple to date. Here's how you can make the most of them to make your photos and videos look amazing.

Thanks to iOS updates and hardware improvements, Apple's standard Camera app gets more powerful every year. Here's your complete guide to the camera app.

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How to Master the Camera App on the iPhone 15 Pro —Physical Buttons

Unbeknownst to many, the volume up and down buttons can be used on the iPhone to take photos – similar to the physical shutter button on a camera.

Press the volume up or down buttons to instantly take a photo without having to press the on-screen shutter button, some users find this easier and cause less movement of the phone when taking pictures.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Volume Buttons for Camera Shutter

Holding down any button will start recording video. The on-screen shutter button will turn into a red circle, and a red timer will appear at the top of the screen, indicating that video is being captured.

How to master the camera app on iPhone 15 Pro: turn up the volume to take burst photos

Open Settings and select Camera, you can enable the option to use the volume up button for burst shooting.

In this situation, you still hold down the Volume Down button to start the video, but Volume Up will capture a series of burst photos until you release the button.

How to master the camera app on iPhone 15 Pro – action button

Both pro phones feature a new programmable action button. In Settings, you can choose several different functions for this button, including turning on the flashlight or launching a voice memo.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Action Button Settings Menu

Since we're talking about cameras, one of the preset options for the Action Button is to open the default Camera app. It even has options to switch to different modes including photo, selfie, video, portrait, and portrait selfie.

For further settings, open a third-party camera application. Select “Shortcut” as an option and then “open app”.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Action Button to Launch Halide

You can choose any third-party app, but we like Halide for its support for new features , such as zero-latency shutter and upcoming HDR support.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – On-Screen Controls

The Camera app displays a lot of controls on the display, some of which are wrong are obvious. One of them is hidden inside the shutter button itself.

Everyone knows that you can take a photo by pressing the shutter button, but some may not know about QuickTake. With QuickTake, you can start shooting burst photos or video without switching shooting modes.

Quick video capture

When you press and hold the shutter button, video recording will begin. When you release the shutter button , video capture will stop.

While recording QuickTake video, you can slide the shutter button to the right and it will lock into video mode so you don't have to hold the button down.

Apple even adds this cool animation where the red square representing the video turns into a red circle when you drag it. By the way, you can click on this circle to take a photo while recording a video.

Fast continuous shooting

Similarly, holding the shutter button and quickly dragging it to the left will begin continuous shooting. As soon as you release the shutter, continuous shooting will stop.

Zoom levels on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature the same dual rear and ultra-wide cameras. The main camera has 1x zoom, and the ultra-wide-angle camera has 0.5x zoom.

They differ: the iPhone 15 Pro Max has 5x optical zoom on the telephoto lens, and the iPhone 15 Pro has 3x optical zoom.

Managing them works very similarly. You can press any of the four on-screen buttons to switch between zoom levels of 0.5X, 1X, 2X and 3X/5X.

How to master the camera app on iPhone 15 Pro – main camera focal lengths

The main camera has an additional trick: by pressing the 1X button, you can adjust the main camera also zoom in to 1.2X or 1.5X. These focal lengths are 24mm, 28mm and 35mm.

By going into the camera settings again, you can choose one of these as the default for that main camera.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro: Swipe to Adjust Zoom

Tap and hold any of the zoom levels to swipe across the screen left or right to open the detail adjustment wheel. This gives you much more control over how much you zoom in, compared to trying to pinch or zoom out of the screen.

This is a great way to adjust your swing with one hand. The wheel will automatically retract when you release the screen or are able to swipe it.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Additional Controls and Settings

While taking photos or video, you can swipe left and right to move between different camera modes. For photo modes, you can switch between photo, portrait and panorama, and for video, cinematic and slow motion.

You can tap in any location on the screen to set the focus for the photo, and holding will lock the exposure. Tapping on the subject and moving your finger up and down allows you to quickly adjust the exposure level.

Once you've covered the basics, we can move on to more advanced controls. There are several of these controls at the top of the camera app interface.

Camera app settings at the top

The ones that appear at the top of the app are the most commonly used ones, such as the flash, night mode, and shared library icons on the left and Live Photos switch on the right.

Clicking on the center cursor will open the settings panel at the bottom of the application, located just above the shutter button. Some tools may be duplicates from above, but they may offer more control.

First, we have the flash icon again. At the top you only have on and off, and in this tray you have on, off or auto to choose from.

Next is the night mode switch, but unlike the one at the top, here you can also select the shutter duration. It will automatically adjust the length depending on how dark the room is and how steady you are holding the phone.

Camera app toolbar

If you move around a bit, you'll get a maximum of a three-second shutter, but if your phone is on a tripod, it can stay open for up to 30 seconds

Live Photos: You can also choose to enable, auto or disable the feature. We like Life Photos because they capture before and after footage and can even animate your photos after the shoot.

Next in line are photographic styles, represented by folded squares. There are five styles to choose from — standard, rich, bright, warm and cool.

You can customize each of them by adjusting the tone and warmth. Each style has a reset button that allows you to return to the default settings.

Aspect ratio (4:3, 1:1 and 16:9 options), exposure compensation, timer, filters and shared library round out other settings.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Additional Shooting Modes

In addition to the standard modes, there are additional modes for both photography and video that you can enable. Above we briefly discussed the night mode that turns on automatically, but there are a couple of others worth discussing.

Using Macro mode, the ultra-wide-angle lens lets you take close-up shots. Like night mode, it automatically turns on when the camera detects an object near the phone.

Macro mode

You'll know it's in macro mode when a small flower icon appears in the bottom left corner of the interface. There's an option in the Camera app settings to make macro mode optional, and you can turn it off by tapping the flower icon.

This brings us to portrait mode. You don't always have to switch to portrait mode on new iPhones to take a portrait photo.

It sounds confusing, but when the Camera app detects a person, dog, or cat on the screen, it records depth data for the portrait photo. You'll know this by the stylized f in the bottom corner, where you can adjust the amount of blur.

How to master the camera app on iPhone 15 Pro – Live and Portrait modes

When you take a standard Live Photo, depth data is also saved, you you can choose between two types when viewing a photo.

It's the “best of both worlds” because every photo of your pet or child can be a live photo of them moving, or you can switch it to portrait mode for a stylized look.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Portrait Setting

Portrait mode still exists in the Camera app, which is useful if you're trying to photograph a cocktail, an object, or another animal.

Action mode is designed for video and stabilizes incredibly shaky footage. You can enable it by clicking the launch icon in video mode.

Video on iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

You can choose either slow motion, which records video at up to 240 frames per second, or cinematic mode when recording video.

Cinematic – portrait mode for video — More or less. It tracks the subject, keeping it in focus and blurring the background.

Video mode

Focus can move between points on the screen and even be adjusted after the fact. For the iPhone 15 series, it has been updated and can now shoot at 24, 35 or 30 fps.

For professionals or those who want more control, video can be shot in ProRes format with HDR, SDR or log color options. Videos can be recorded directly to an external SSD when connected via USB-C.

How to Master the Camera App on iPhone 15 Pro – Other Settings

If that's not enough, here are some more detailed settings to keep in mind when setting up the Camera app “.

Camera app for iPhone

You can turn on RAW for photos. RAW captures more detail in highlights and shadows that users can bring out when editing photos.

Apple combines RAW photo settings into the “Pro Default” settings and allows users to choose between large 48 MP JPEG photos called JPEG Max, 12 MP ProRAW photos, or ProRAW Max with 48 MP resolution.

Regular photos taken with the main lens can now be captured in the new 24 MP mode, compared to previously which was always a compressed 12 MP.

HDR can be turned on or off in the video. While HDR and Dolby Vision look great, editing them can get complicated if you move them into something like Final Cut Pro.

With iOS 17, there's also a next-level tool for the camera app that will display a small line on the screen so you can maintain your horizon while taking a photo or video.

Get Shooting

This covers almost everything in Apple's increasingly powerful standard Camera app for mobile devices. iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Take your new knowledge and take some truly amazing photos and videos.

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