With the vibrant festival of Holi here, it’s no surprise that many people will be eager to use their smartphones to capture their fun moments. And rightly so, as this festival brings forth an abundance of colors and joy that deserves to be preserved in time. Among the popular smartphone choices, iPhones are known for their reliable camera systems that deliver high-quality shots consistently—the color rendition, stunning portrait mode, and consistent results across all three lenses make for pleasing photos and videos.
Personally, I have captured the festival of Holi on my iPhones for several years now, and the results have been nothing short of stunning. In this article, I will share some tips I use, alongside Apple photographers, to help you achieve artistic results when capturing the festival on your iPhone.
Use the Portrait and Cinematic Mode
Over the years, the iPhone’s Portrait mode has evolved into a reliable feature that rivals the capabilities of a DSLR/mirrorless camera. With realistic bokeh and subtle highlight roll-off, it’s no surprise that many users opt for this mode when clicking portraits during festive occasions like Holi. Apeksha Maker, an Apple photographer, describes Portrait mode as a tool that adds depth of field to your image by blurring the background and creating a separation, making the subject stand out. The depth can be adjusted in post-processing as well—giving users more flexibility and control over their shots.
And, now, with the introduction of Cinematic Mode in the iPhone 13 series and beyond, users can experiment with shooting videos that feature subject isolation and focus-pulling for a more professional look. However, I would recommend avoiding going overboard with the depth of field and instead opt for an F-stop of F/5.6 or higher to achieve a balanced and natural-looking result.
Shoot in RAW
All Pro iPhones since the iPhone 12 series offer Apple ProRaw, and simply put, while shooting something as colorful as Holi—using the ProRaw feature will come in handy to color correct or perhaps, create a ‘look,’ later during editing.
Gursimran Basra, another Apple photographer, expressed his amazement while shooting on his iPhone 14 Pro and using the ProRaw mode. He said, “Raw photographs gave me the flexibility to retouch the photographs based on my taste and vision. One can explore endless opportunities of retouching a photograph by playing around with a frame since raw captures all the details involved in a frame.”
Underexpose to get an Artsy-looking Shot
Although Holi is known for its vibrant colors, intentionally underexposing your frame can create a dramatic and artistic look. When underexposed, colors such as pink and red appear more vivid, and slightly crushing the shadows can add an element of intrigue reminiscent of something like a movie poster.
To achieve this effect, simply tap on your subject and drag the icon denoted by the sun downwards. You can also lock the exposure by tapping and holding the focus box.
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