How To Photograph Your Eye With An iPhone: 15 Tips And Tricks

How To Photograph Your Eye With An iPhone: 15 Tips And Tricks

Close up image of an eye
The eyes is one of the most interesting and challenging

Long ago, before smartphones came to life, taking amazing photos is a super labor-intensive and expensive process. Thankfully, taking great shots nowadays is way easier given how powerful smartphone cameras are, especially with the iPhone. 

Yes, your iPhone’s camera is powerful enough to take astonishing images that you can brag anywhere. But you have to figure out first how to use your camera before you can take such breathtaking images. Most probably, you already know how to take an image using your iPhone but what if you want to take an image of one of the most interesting photography subjects ever—the eyes. 

Do you exactly know how to do it? If not, no worries! We got your back. This article will give you the ultimate tips and tricks that you can use when taking images of the eyes using your iPhone. 

1. Use a macro lens.

lens wide for cell phone camera and clip isolated on white background.
Using a macro lens makes it easier to take close up shots.

The superior magnification of the macro lens makes it way easier for you to take a close up shot of the eyes. Ideally, you should be using around 100mm or higher in order to get a batter shot. You could also get a macro attachment to make things even better.

Using a macro lens in photographing the eyes is an advantage since a regular lens makes it difficult for you to get close enough to the eyes for it to fill the entire frame. Besides, you might reflect on your subject or you might block the light if you are not using a macro lens when taking a close up image of the eyes with your iPhone. 

2. Have your subject look at a fixed point.

Close up image of an eye
Focus and stability are very important aspects of eye photography.

When the eyes are directly fixed into something or into your iPhone’s camera, capturing a detailed photo of the iris and the pupil will be so much easier on your part. Remember, the iris is the most interesting part of the eye with given how colorful it is. And, it is easier also to autofocus on the iris because of its color contrasts. To make the subject focus easily on the camera, use a tripod for iPhone that will hold the camera at an eye level.

3. Create a catch light.

close up of hazel eye with round light
Catchlight refers to the white light or shadow that appears when taking a close-up image of the eyes.

Catchlight refers to the small white spot that shows up in the eyes when you take a close shot of it. It is the reflection of where your light is coming from. To create a catch light, you have to set up a stable, continuous source of light using an umbrella, a softbox, a selfie ring light, or just the natural light streaming from a door or a window. When creating a catch light make sure that your iPhone camera is not casting a shadow in your shot. You should also make sure that your light source is continuous to avoid the pupils from constricting or dilating. 

There are different types of catchlights which are as follows:

  • Natural Light – More often than not, this type of light is the best choice when photographing the eyes. This is because natural light provides the right mix of shadows and specular highlights to capture the details of your eyes. But it is not recommended that you directly expose your eyes to the sunlight as it can cause damage to your eyes. 
  • Artificial Lights – Artificial lights could either be continuous or strobes. When it comes to artificial lights, the best option is the continuous one such as a softbox for iPhone. This can provide a constant light source and it’s not dangerous to the eyes as well. 
  • Flash or Strobe – Technically, a flash or strobe is not recommended since it can cause you to blink often but such a light source is very powerful in illuminating the eyes. If you decide to use such light, just make sure that you use the low power for you not to make your eyes blind. 

4. Set your iPhone camera’s focus and exposure.

Most probably, you already know that tapping somewhere on your iPhone’s screen will automatically focus your camera on that certain subject spot where you tapped. But aside from focusing your camera, tapping the screen also sets the exposure which refers to the brightness or darkness of the image you are trying to capture. So, if you are trying to capture a particular part of the eye, tapping on that part will make it brighter. If you want to get a certain effect, you have to get the right exposure first before clicking. 

5. Use gridlines to balance your shot.

Professional Photo And Video Camera Premium Mobile App With Advanced Settings UI Concept Mock Up On Realistic Frameless Smartphone Screen Isolated on White Background.
The Rule of Thirds is used to achieve balance in an image.

One of the easiest ways that you can do to get an amazing shot is to turn on the gridline feature of your iPhone’s camera. When turned on, 9 squares (3 by 3) will appear on your screen. In photography, there is such a thing called “Rule of Thirds.” This means that the subject of an image should be divided into three parts, both horizontally and vertically, to fill in the 9 squares on your screen.

Based on this theory, when a point of interest is placed along the lines or intersections, a more balanced image will come out. To turn on this feature, go to “Settings,” tap “Photos & Camera,” and switch “Grid” on.

6. Try different perspectives. 

Closeup shot of woman eye with day makeup.
Try capturing an eye image from a different perspective.

Given the number of people who have tried making the eyes as their subject, how will you make yours stand out? Well, trying to capture the eye from a different or unique perspective could be the trick. Try to attack it at a very unexpected angle.

For example, instead of taking the shot from a bird’s eye view or just the typical straightforward shot, why not take try to create an illusion of depth or height of the eyes?

Try setting your iPhone’s camera directly upward or slightly downward when taking an image of the eyes to give your output a tweak. You can use a tripod that comes with different lenses, so you can capture from any angle easily.

7. Let your eyes rest first to lessen the redness. 

Red eye before and after the use of eye drop
The eyes should be well-rested before a shoot.

Not unless you are really trying to portray an eye that is red, capturing your eyes when it is too red is not really ideal. The white part of your eyes, known as the sclera, is very sensitive that when it gets too tired or too stressed, it turns red which in return, gives you an unlikely outcome.

So, if you are including the sclera in your shots, make sure that your eyes have enough rest before the shoot. Getting enough rest for the eyes does not necessarily mean that you should sleep of what. The simple gesture of avoiding activities that may cause stress to your eyes like not using your phone or computer for a few hours is already more than enough.

If you already have given your eyes enough sleep, but there are still small red veins in the sclera, try using over-the-counter eye drops to lessen the redness moderately as using it too much can cause irritation to the eyes. 

8. Keep your eyes still to avoid losing focus. 

human being futuristic vision, vision and control and protection of persons, control and security in the accesses.
The eyes should be focused to make things easier.

A single small movement of your eyes can lose your iPhone camera’s focus. This makes it very important to keep your camera and your eyes still when shooting. But how will you keep the eye or your subject from not moving while shooting? Well, it is nearly impossible to keep your eyes open and still for a long time but you can lie or sit down at that when shooting to at least avoid doing any unnecessary movement. Get the possible position you are comfortable with and make sure that your neck is getting enough support to restrain you from moving. 

When it comes to your iPhone camera, ideally, you should use a tripod or a gimbal in order to keep it stable. Once you have ensured that everything is settled, keep your lens focused and of course, do not forget the distance of the camera to your eyes. 

Another tip that you can do is to use the remote trigger option in your iPhone’s camera setting to avoid you from touching your phone that can cause motion blur once you will press the shutter. 

9. Reduce camera shake. 

Clear forest in glasses on the background of blurred forest
Everything should be stable when photographing the eyes.

Let us admit it, a lot of things have changed but sometimes, an iPhone’s camera or any other camera still struggles in places that are not well lighted. That is why at times, it takes longer exposures when taking a picture of something.

So, if you can’t hold your phone right and tight when taking a picture, chances are, your end product will be smeared. If your phone is an iPhone 6 or higher version, it has this so-called optical image stabilization to help lessen this problem.

To reduce camera shake, you can maximize some old but gold ways to do it such as resting your elbows on a low wall, pushing the side of your body against a vertical surface, or holding your iPhone with both hands with your elbows tucked into your body. 

Another option that you can try is to use the two-second self-timer or use a remote shutter button. Doing so lessens the shakiness of the camera since you don’t actually have to hold the phone while shooting. You can just put it in a tripod or position it somewhere stable. 

10. Use the Burst mode

One of the techniques which are used by a lot of photographers is taking a lot of pictures and pick which one of them looks best. You could also do the same trick using your iPhone when trying to capture an image of your eyes. Remember, timing is the key, and getting that timing is not that easy that all and doing multiple shots could be a lot of help to get the timing right. 

This technique might eat up a lot of space on your phone but once you have chosen that ‘perfect image’, you can just simply delete the rest of the images. 

11. Take shots in HDR and keep the original too.

Close up view of beautiful brown female eyes.
HDR is the combination of three exposures in one image.

Using HDR or High Dynamic Range can help you get the best shot since this feature combines three different exposure of your subject in one image which enables you to see the details even in a very light or very dark area. 

It is also a great help if you save the original photo as well so that you can compare and see the difference between the images and decide which one you think is the best shot. This will give you the option as to whether you will go for the regular shot or the HDR shot. 

12. Try using different filters.

There is nothing wrong with applying pictures when taking an image of your eyes. Filters are designed to enhance or give an image a certain look so why not maximize it, right? Just make sure that you do not overdo it and you use the right filter which fits with your eyes so that it won’t look awkward. 

If possible, choose the best filter which is suited to your eyes and stick with it. Playing with different filters is good but sometimes, trying a lot of filters makes it hard for you to choose which one is the best, thus you might just end up using the wrong one. 

13. Add the appropriate accessories. 

photography accessories on work table
There are a lot of accessories that you can use to make things easier for you.

There is a lot of hardware that you can buy to bring your iPhone photography to the next level. The number of choices can be dizzying and can leave you confused that is why choosing the best accessory which can help you capture the best eye image is important. When choosing, you should consider all aspects and not just stick with one or two aspects. 

Furthermore, do not just settle with what you feel is “okay”. Remember, you have a lot of options to choose from so never ever settle for less if you do not want to compromise the quality of your image.

14. Use a hardware shutter. 

Sometimes, using your iPhone hardware shutter most especially when you are holding your phone at an awkward position is way better since it lessens the shakiness of the camera in as much as it makes it easier for you to capture your eyes. This is because clicking on the on-screen button sometimes makes the camera lose its focus thus, you have to re-focus it again. This makes the process harder and longer. 

15. Edit your images. 

Beautiful macro shot of female eye with classic eyeliner makeup.
Editing makes the outcome even better.

Your eye shots might already look stunning but doing a few tweaks on it could make it even make it more captivating. Some of the basic things that you can edit in your image include the color contrasts, exposure, white balance, highlights, shadows, vibration, saturation, and so much more. 

Just make sure that the adjustments you make are moderate and your image still looks natural. The last thing that you most probably want is for your image to look so unnatural. Keep things at a minimal level and do the edit to make your image look better and not to make it worse. 


Taking images of your eyes is very easy as long as you know how it goes around. The key secret here all lies in the stability of your camera and on the light. So, make sure that these two are right when doing eye photography to get stunning results. Go ahead, and take a shot with your eyes. Experience what it feels like to capture the windows to the soul.