How to take better photos with an iPhone 12 or 12 mini — 2022

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini often tend to be underestimated in favor of the 'Pro' versions or the iPhone 13, which a priori have better camera specifications. But to what extent? These two devices that share camera technology are capable of real mischief, something that we will try to show you in this article so that you can get the most out of these phones.

Is it the same on all iPhone 12?

We warned at the beginning that this guide is basically for iPhone 12 and 12mini , which do have identical features in their dual rear and front cameras. It is true that in the 'Pro' and 'Pro Max' models we find certain similarities, but when it comes to the final result there are key differences thanks to the LiDAR sensor and the telephoto lens. That is why the photographs that we will show in the following sections do not correspond to what could be obtained with one of these more advanced pieces of equipment.

It should be noted that the great difference these have with the 'Pro' models lies in the absence of a telephoto lens. This type of camera allows you to have a higher optical zoom that, unlike digital zoom, is not done via software and the quality of the photos is much higher. They allow you to take pictures of elements that are somewhat further away without having to get closer, although in any case, in the end, similar results can be obtained by getting a little ahead of the object or person and capturing the correct frame with the wide angle.

Technical specifications available

iPhone 12

camera specificationsiPhone 12 and 12mini
Frontal camera-12 Mpx
-Retina Flash
-HD3 smart 3
-Portrait mode with Depth Control and Portrait Lighting
-Recording in 4K at 24, 30 or 60 frames per second
-HDR recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 frames per second
Cinema-quality video stabilization at 4K, 1080p or 720p
-Video recording in 1080p at 30 or 60 frames per second
-Slow motion in 1080p at 120 frames per second
-Extended dynamic range for video at 30 frames per second
-Night mode
-Deep Fusion
-QuickTake Video
rear cameras-Wide angle: 12 Mpx and f/1.6 aperture
-Ultra wide angle: 12 Mpx and aperture f / 2.4
-Flash TrueTone
-Optical image stabilization
-Optical zoom out x2
-Digital zoom up to x5
-Portrait Mode with Depth Control and Portrait Lighting
-HDR inteligen 3
-Night mode
-Deep Fusion
-Recording in 4K at 24, 30 or 60 frames per second
-Recording in 1080` at 30 or 60 frames per second
-HDR recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 frames per second
-Slow motion in 1080p at 120 or 240 frames per second
-Time-Lapse with Night Mode and stabilization
-Optical Image Stabilization
-Optical zoom out x2
-Digital zoom up to x3
-Audio zoom
-Stereo recording

Given this table, we could comment on the following sections as highlights when taking photos:

    ultra wide angle:Having this lens capable of capturing images with a much larger angle than usual gives greater versatility to the devices, giving rise to the user's imagination to take very different photographs than those that can be taken simply with the wide angle. Portrait mode:the already mythical photographs with effect bokeh They allow you to show very interesting results with a person or main object with a blurred background that, later, it is possible to edit the level of blur to offer a result that visually lives up to what is achieved with professional cameras. Night mode:this function makes the exposure time longer and, in conjunction with the software, really striking results are achieved in low light conditions to the point that sometimes no one can imagine that the conditions were dark when viewing the final score. Deep Fusion:We do not want to anticipate what we will comment on in a future section, but this functionality is what makes the photographic quality multiply in these devices.

Deep Fusion and computational treatment

Despite having previously seen the table of technical characteristics of the cameras of these iPhones, the truth is that in the end they may end up being data that does not speak for itself. Actually, the photographic result that can be obtained is considerably improved at the software level by the so-called Deep Fusion, which is the computational processing system that these phones have and that is improved compared to the one that was released with the iPhone 11.

A14 Bionic

This processing is done in the background in a matter of milliseconds. You will not have to activate anything. The A14 Bionic processor is the main one in charge of carrying out this silent task and it is possible that when you open a newly taken photograph you will see that for a second it changes from looking somewhat blurry to looking better and it is precisely because this improvement system has acted. At a technical level, it has complex operations, but what you should know is that the 12 Megapixels of the main lenses are, in the end, mere witnesses of what the software is capable of doing.

iPhone 12 photo modes

If you open the camera of your device you will find the different modalities enabled for it. We analyze each one of them and the parameters that can be adjusted within all of them. As you can see, there are many and varied ways that iPhone 12 users have available to be able to shoot photos. Without a doubt, this is one of the strengths of the iPhone, the great versatility it offers at the photographic and video level.


This camera mode allows you to capture a multitude of photographs in a long time to end up offering a fast-motion video. As soon as you press the button, you can move the iPhone focusing on different situations that will later be compressed in time. It is striking how even a video that has taken several minutes to capture can be left in a few seconds. It should be noted that the zoom x0.5 (ultra wide angle) or x1 (wide angle) can be used with the rear cameras, while it is also enabled with the single sensor on the front.

Time Lapse iPhone 12

It is one of the oldest modes within all the options that the user can find within the iPhone Camera app. The results offered by the device are really good, and also very striking since the speed at which everything captured moves and is displayed is very interesting. That if, when doing it you have to keep in mind that the stability of the device is essential for the result to be more or less professional, for this reason we recommend the use of a tripod or, failing that, if it is a Time-Lapse on the move, even the use of a gymbal that stabilizes the movements of the iPhone.

Slow motion

If the previous one made videos in fast motion, this one is the opposite. It is capable of significantly extending the length of a video by capturing up to 240 frames per second in 1,080p HD quality in the case of x0.5 and x1 of the rear cameras and 120 frames per second in 1,080p quality with the front.

Slow motion iPhone 12

For all users who want make very cinematic videos With your iPhone, the possibility of applying slow motion is something fundamental, since it adds an extra quality to all audiovisual creations. As we have mentioned before, this slow motion can be done directly with this recording mode, with the advantage that later on the device you have the opportunity to modify the part in which slow motion is applied. However, you can also record with the normal recording mode, and as long as you do it with the appropriate settings for it, later in the editing program you use, you can apply a slow motion.


If you're going to throw all the meat on the grill in photography with your iPhone, this is the main mode you should know. It allows you to take photos with all kinds of zoom range from the x0.5 of the ultra wide angle to the x5 that is achieved with the digital zoom of the wide-angle camera x1.

Photos iPhone 12

Portrait mode

This is one of the most popular modes. The well-known bokeh effect is possible here, obtaining an almost perfect focus of the main object or person with the background out of focus. There are several modalities within this, such as the possibility of choosing the level of depth of field, but it is also possible to have portraits with really interesting artistic effects:

  • Natural light
  • studio light
  • outline light
  • stage light
  • mono stage light
  • mono high key light

Both the mode itself and the effects are available with both the rear and front cameras.

iPhone 12 Portrait Mode


Last but not least, this functionality allows you to take pictures of a much larger scene in a landscape format. You will only have to follow the instructions on the screen to move the iPhone from left to right.

Panoramic photo iPhone 12

Available settings while taking photos

Although the photos can be edited later from the iOS gallery itself or with a specialized app, the truth is that certain editing settings can be obtained before taking the photo.

focus and brightness

You can play all you want with the focus and brightness of the photos you take with the iPhone. You just have to press with your finger on the part where you want to take the focus and you will see that a yellow box . Precisely on the right side of this box, a vertical line will appear with a sun-shaped icon, and you can slide it up or down to play with the exposure and brightness of the photo depending on what you need at that moment.

Focus iPhone 12

Live Photo

If you are a fan of the Harry Potter saga, it is more than likely that you know the famous living photos that are in Hogwarts. Well, this modality allows you to give life to your photographs. If it is activated, you will make the photographs come alive for a few seconds and when you go to see them they will appear animated, and then you can leave them as a still photograph with long exposure, in loop playback as if it were a GIF or with a rebound effect very much in the style Instagram boomerang.

Live Photo iPhone 12

Image Format

You have at your disposal different image formats in 1:11, 4:3 or 16:9. You can change it depending on the type of photography you need. This is a fundamental point and to which many users do not pay attention. Focusing on all those who take a photograph in order to publish it later on social networks, especially Instagram, the format is essential so that the image you are going to take draws attention later on this social network. You cannot use the same if you are going to upload a story to Instagram, a post or if you are going to use it for a Twitter profile image. Each social network and each type of publication has its appropriate format, and to stand out it is very important to take it into account.

night mode

If you take pictures at night or in places with low light, you can get pictures with great light thanks to this mode. It automatically appears on the interface when low light is captured and can automatically vary the exposure time depending on conditions. Normally this ranges from 2 to 10 seconds and up to 30 seconds if you have the iPhone on a tripod.

iPhone 12 night mode


Both in the front and rear cameras you can take photos with flash, with the difference that in the rear ones this element physically exists and in the front one the white light emitted by the screen is used. You can have it always activated, deactivated or activated automatically in low light conditions. Having built-in night mode, this may not be so necessary.

Flash photos iPhone 12

Blur / Depth Control

In Portrait Mode it is possible to obtain a greater or lesser blur as we told you before. To do this, it is necessary to click on the icon with an f that appears in the upper right part of this mode. Once this is done, the bar appears below that allows you to add a greater or lesser depth, although in later edition it is also possible to edit it.

Depth portraits iPhone 12


This functionality is accessible via a button with + and - icons and, as you may have already guessed, it allows you to precisely regulate the exposure level. All this through a sidebar. This is available on both the rear and front cameras.

Exposure photos iPhone 12


Something very useful many times when taking a photo, either with the selfie camera or the main ones, is being able to have time to get ready until the button is pressed. The iOS camera timer allows you to set a time of 3 or 10 seconds for it.

iPhone 12 photo timer


Color filters are great for adding a different touch to your photos. With any of the cameras you can already set a previous filter of the following:

  • Original
  • Vivid
  • lived warm
  • lived cold
  • Dramatic
  • dramatic warm
  • dramatic cold
  • Mono
  • Silver
  • Noir

iPhone 12 photo filters

More options from settings

Settings Camera iPhone iOS

If you go to Settings > Camera you can find a multitude of settings for your photos and videos. These either serve to improve some aspects of the camera interface or to activate certain functions that cannot be accessed from the app itself. Below we break down what we can find in each of these settings.


It refers to the photo and video format in which the results obtained through the native camera app will be saved, finding the following two options:

    High efficiency:This modality uses a HEIF/HEVC format called high efficiency, both for photos and videos. This helps reduce the size of the files. The most compatible:photos will always be saved in.jpeg'display:inline-block; width:100%;'> manufacturing cost iPhone 12 cover

    Apart from this, we find other options available in this settings panel:

      Show PAL formats:option that refers to a video format used on television in some territories such as Europe, Africa, Asia and South America, with the United States and Canada being countries where it is not so common. If it is activated we will find that two new quality options and frames per second are opened as we have seen previously. HDR video:allows you to record videos of up to 30 frames per second, compatible with Dolby Vision and a dynamic range of up to 10 bits. Lock camera:this option causes the camera not to switch automatically if video recording is in progress.

    Record in slow motion

    Entering this settings panel, what we find are two unique possibilities for recording in slow motion with the rear camera, since with the front camera you will always have 120 frames per second in 1080p quality.

      1080p at 120 frames per second:recording videos in slow motion in this mode has a weight of approximately 170 MB for each minute of recording. 1080p at 240 frames per second:the approximate size of a minute of recording in this format would be around 480 MB.

    Other options available

    The previous settings have their own panels entering each one, while later we find other settings that are simply an activation/deactivation tab that allow other functionalities such as those described below:

      Record stereo sound:With the option deactivated, the audio will be captured in 'mono' format, while with it activated, a higher quality will be found when capturing two different audio channels, very noticeable especially when watching the video with headphones. Keep settings:By default, the camera always opens in photo format with the default settings, but with the following options included in this settings panel, many of the changes that we made the last time we used the camera can be preserved:
      • camera mode
      • creative settings
      • Exposure adjustment
      • Live Photo
      Volume up button for burst:The aforementioned button can be used to take several photographs in the burst format already explained in a previous point. To do this, we will have to keep that button pressed until we want to end the burst, then having the same options to keep one or several photos. Scan QR codes:You don't need an external app to be able to scan this type of code, since activating this option will allow you to read them from the camera itself, finding an upper banner that will take us to the app or website to which the code links. Preserve mirror effect:in the front camera we find that we see ourselves as if it were a mirror, while in the final result that is not the case, but it is inverted to make it look more natural. If this option is activated, that mirror mode will be maintained in the final photo. Grid:activating this we can find a grid in the interface that is usually helpful to better frame the photos and videos. View the out-of-frame area:the camera interface would be somewhat enlarged by being able to see the area behind the top and bottom of the settings. If you disable, that part will be black. Scene detection:This active mode allows the artificial intelligence of the device to better capture the type of scene being portrayed and automatically adjust the colors, brightness, exposure, etc. Prioritize speed over quality when taking photos:if you take several photos in a row, the iPhone would capture the best possible scene. Lens correction:if there is a certain distortion between the rear lenses of the device, this activated functionality will correct it and no foreign elements will be seen in the results. Smart HDR:This active modality makes it possible to capture several in a single photograph that, together, can form a final result of better quality.

    And what does the iPhone 12 camera not have?

    Obviously, the most important thing about the cameras of these devices is their real characteristics, like the ones we have been highlighting throughout this post. Now, it is also interesting to know what features it does not have and more in light of the arrival of more recent devices. If you are thinking of buying an iPhone 12 to take photos and videos with it and you have heard about the camera functions of equipment such as the iPhone 13, you should not be misled.

    ProRAW mode

    This is a photo format introduced in the iPhone 12 generation, yes, but only for 'Pro' models. If you have or are going to buy an iPhone 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max, you will be able to access this format without any problem. However, with the iPhone 12 and 12 mini you will not have it available. This is an image format created by Apple that involves a type of standard RAW image processing that improves image quality and offers better options for editing aspects such as color or white balance.

    ProRes Format

    If there is ProRAW for photos, this ProRes is intended for video. In this case, there is no iPhone 12 model that supports it, being exclusive to the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. It is a video format that, as Apple itself explains, allows for multi-stream editing performance in real time with the ability to obtain a professional image from the Camera application of the aforementioned devices.

    Cinema mode

    This is Portrait Mode in video and although there are applications that allow it to be emulated with greater or lesser success on these iPhone 12s, the truth is that natively it is not a function that they can boast of. This modality allows videos with background blur to be taken from the Camera app itself, being able to change the focus in real time automatically or manually, as well as in a later edition in which it is also possible to change the level of blur. .

    Sensor motion stabilization

    Of this generation, only the iPhone 12 Pro Max has it. Having a stabilizer that is fixed by movement of the sensor implies, among other things, obtaining much sharper and noise-free images without the need to use a tripod. Although it is true that the stabilizer of the iPhone 12 and 12 mini for photo and video is excellent, analyzing the results in detail, it can be seen that they are below the devices that have this functionality.