How to color correct photos on your iPhone

You don’t need a fancy filter or extra apps to get beautiful photos on your phone. You just need a little know how with the Photos app that comes right on the iPhone. We all learn differently, so today I’m sharing a video and step-by-step written instructions.

I took this photo on my iPhone 7 of Clara girl before she was off to her first princess party. I like my photos light, bright and airy so I snapped it in front of a plain white wall. The less distraction in the background, usually the better. So pay attention the the background and always shoot in natural light. I hardly ever bother take pictures at night anymore because I’m not a professional and always end up disappointed!

So here’s how this phone photo when from dark and dingy to white and bright. Again, I only used my Photos app that comes on the phone.


Step by step

How to color correct photos on your iPhone - before

We’re going to work from this spot, where you see the circle and arrow. These are the steps:

How to crop and straighten photos on your phone

1. Crop and straighten

First, I straightened the photo so the baseboard was parallel with the guides. Then I decided to crop out the edges of the wall and doorframe to have a clean background.

Brighten up photos on your phone - brilliance

2. Brilliance

Next, I adjust the brilliance. Brilliance brightens up the middle tones without blowing out the whites or loosing the shadows.

Crop is easy enough to find, but the next tools are a little buried. You can find it by tapping the clock-looking icon >> Light >> then the lines with the bulleted list icon on the right. Like this:

How to brighten and color correct photos on your iphone with no extra app or filter

Color correct photos on you phone - brightness

3. Brightness

I brighten the photo until it looks too white and bright and then scale it back a tad to a more normal range. It’s hard to go overboard on brightness. Don’t worry about losing a little black, we’ll bring it back with contrast.

Edit your photos on your phone- contrast

4. Contrast

Next, I bump up the contrast. I want definite whites and definite blacks.

Tone photos on your phone - cast

5. Cast

Cast is under the Color selection. This photo wasn’t terribly yellow to start with, but I still brought the cast a little more toward the blue cast. (Of course the calibration changes with every monitor I see it on and it’s making me nuts!) This is a big tool people miss. Having a true white makes a huge difference. No yellow tinges here please.

Lighten and brighten dingy photos right there on you iPhone

6. Light

And finally, to get an extra pop, I go back to the Light feature and move the scale slightly to the right.

I prefer my photos to look natural rather than heavily filtered, and haven’t found a filter or automated process that works for every photo. So this is what I do with my favorites. Once you get used to the way the app works, you’ll color correct photos in no time to look light, bright and natural.

What do you think? Is this something you would try? What are your color-correcting tips?

How to color correct and brighten photo on your phone without an app or filter copy

10 thoughts on “How to color correct photos on your iPhone

  1. Great tips! I use the Lightroom app. I like it because I can keep the original and all the changes are easy to undo. I also like that it has numbers for all the adjustments, and I can copy the settings and paste them to another photo (great for when I have several shots taken in the same conditions). It’s nice to know how to use the built-in Photos app tools too, though! :)

  2. Thank you for this information, I don’t load my credit card on my iPhone so I don’t have access to any apps so this is so perfect for me!

    Thank goodness for the internet, and you!

  3. Never have replied to a blog like this, but your work here is simply perfect for so many of us who are beginning. Thanks for sharing!

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