How to Take Amazing Nature Pics with Your iPhone

Tahoe View

Horizon shots best captured in panoramic view

We all do it—whip out a phone or tablet at the top of a mountain so we can look back later and remember our hike. On social media, cousin Bob always posts incredible nature pics taken with his iPhone, and we wonder how he does it. Here are a few tricks for taking more engaging, lively pictures with your device:

Observe your surroundings. Instead of photographing the obvious suspects, like the picturesque view from a mountain top, really take some time to look around. Get close to the ground and look for bugs, frogs, leaves or anything interesting you find, then practice taking pictures of your subject.

Try a variety of angles. You take pictures standing up straight, typically, but what does the photo look like when you squat, lay on a rock, or climb a boulder and look down?

stock trees

Unique angles applied in the forest

Adjust settings on your phone. Browse your camera settings and take note of the different options. The iPhone 6 Plus includes Burst Mode and Panorama. Try snapping pics around your house or yard, so you’ll know how to use it on your next hike. To frame your shots, turn on Grid Mode and play around on your phone until you’re a self-taught expert.

Utilize the focus function. The tap-to-focus feature makes it easy to select a subject. Other camera apps have autofocus, but allow you to switch the object selected. Focus often makes the difference between a decent and awesome picture.

Practice. Try an exploratory photo session near the trail. Sit on a rock and stare into the wilderness for a while. Pick your subject and experiment with the different angles and camera settings—some in landscape mode and some in portrait mode. Most importantly—don’t get discouraged by less-than-perfect shots, just celebrate the mesmerizing ones. Need some inspiration? Check out the nature pics on the Gaia GPS Instagram.

You can take pictures right inside Gaia GPS without leaving the app, both on iOS and on Android, with a limited number of settings. Add photos taken elsewhere to your tracks or waypoints on gaiagps.com, or inside the app on iOS .

zach's interesting tahoe perspective

Tap-to-focus used to capture the intricate branches of this tree

P.S. Don’t let nature pics distract too much from your surroundings—prioritize your safety over your art.