by Brooke McCallion, Designer at Cobble Hill

iPhones are slowly replacing point-and-shoot cameras. The camera quality is only getting better and apps are now substitutes for expensive photo editing software.

But with all of that said, navigating apps and editing photos can be a challenge. There are many different tools and filters and each person has their own science. Here are my tips on how to take and make a great iPhone photo.

Take your photo in VSCO

VSCO isn’t just for editing. Their camera is unique because it lets you play with the focus and exposure.


Open up VSCO and go to the camera. Use two fingers to tap the screen and the exposure and focus circles will appear. Move them around to change the exposure and focus to your liking.



After you’ve taken a photo you like, go to your library and double-click to select it. VSCO has a lot of amazing filters. Some are free, but you can also buy filters for just a dollar or two.

When I want to my photo bright and white, I use the N1 filter.


You can control how much filter you want on your photo. 12 is the highest, but I think 6 looks nice on this photo.


You can also use the tools in VSCO, such as brightness, contract, sharpen, etc. But I apply all of those features in another app called Snapseed. So, save the photo to your camera roll.


Enhance Your Photo in Snapseed

Snapseed is an amazing free app made by Google. I describe it to people as Photoshop for your phone. If you want to basically enhance a photo or go as far as stamp out sections, Snapseed can do it all.

First, open up the VSCO photo you saved to your camera roll in Snapseed. In the bottom right, you will see an icon that is a circle with a pencil. Click on it and these options will appear.


Tap “Tune Image” to first apply brightness, contrast, and more.

Swipe up and down to select one of these options. Then swipe left and right to increase or decrease the feature. For example, I usually start with Brightness and swipe it right to make the photo a little brighter.

Once you finish tuning your image, click the check mark in the bottom right of the screen. Pull up the all editing options again and click “Selective”.


This is my favorite feature on Snapseed. You can select parts of the photo based on the color and enhance them. Tap the “+” at the bottom and place the icon on a certain part of the photo.


Hold down and the zoom option will appear, showing you which color you’re selecting. Once you grabbed the color, use two fingers and drag them outward (like you’re zooming in). You will see a red appear and that is the selection area that will be affected. You can always use two fingers and drag them inward (like you’re zooming out) to make the red selection area smaller.

Scroll up and down to see the three options: Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation. Then swipe right and left to increase and decrease the enhancement.


I love this feature and sometimes only use this to edit photos. It makes certain areas of the photo “pop”! Once you’re finished, click the checkmark on the bottom right of the screen to save.

Once you’re back on the home screen, you can tap on the photo to see the original image and how far it’s come with some simple enhancements!

If you think you went too far with the enhancements, you can always go back to each step and start again. This feature is similar to the “History” tool in Photoshop.

On the home screen, you will see a square icon with a number in it. The number indicates how many edits you’ve made. Click the icon and this screen will show.


For example, if you didn’t like your selective adjustments, you would tap “Tune Image” below it to get back to what the photo used to look like at that stage. Or if you want to just start over, click “Original” then tap “Close” on the top left.

When you’re happy with your photo, click “Save” on the top right of the home screen. You can either save over the image on your Camera Roll or save a copy.


You’ve now taken, edited, and saved a beautiful photo! Upload it to Instagram, share it with friends, or frame it. Maybe you’ll get lucky and Apple will feature your photo on a billboard!