The best camera is the one you have at the moment it’s needed. For many of us, that means phone photography. This truth is frustrating because the basic camera app doesn’t leave us many options other than frame and click.

It really is possible to achieve great pictures with your phone. But, to increase your chances of making the image you want, you will want to look for a better app to allow yourself more options.

When I want more control, I open the ProShot app on my iPhone. I’ve used this app through four or five generations of phones to make stronger images than what I could have produced using the general camera app. That said, if time is of the essence to catch a fleeting moment, I will more likely open the Apple camera app to frame/click as quick as possible.

Better Phone Photography: Capturing Motion

So not to overwhelm, this article will cover how to set your phone app to capture motion on your phone in the easiest way possible. Use these tips to prep your phone camera before boarding rides like the Tea Cups or Dumbo at Disney World to add more interest and bring the focus to your loved ones.

The screenshots are from the ProShot App, but you should be able to find similar settings on any advanced camera app after searching “Pro Camera” in your phone’s app store.

If you would like more phone photography tips, check out my other articles. This one in particular covers a variety of basic, small changes that can have a big impact on your phone photography skills.

how to set manual mode on ProShot App

Manual Mode

Once you open the ProShot App you will want to click the letter icon in the bottom right of the screen. It will most likely be the letter “A” for automatic. Switch this to “M” for manual mode.

choose an aperture on ProShot app


Now we will set each option from left-to-right. The first icon on the far left is to set your aperture. With ProShot the options will vary based on the phone model you have. Additionally, changing the aperture also changes your focal length a bit. For rides where you are in tight quarters, I suggest going with a smaller aperture (larger number) which will also get you a wider focal length.

white balance setting for ProShot app

White Balance

Next from the left is White Balance. On rides, your white balance can vary a lot based on where you are. If you are capturing moments in a changing situation, I would keep this setting on Auto. If your scene will remain pretty consistent, go with a setting that best fits your primary light source.

setting ISO on proShot app


Another setting that might be best kept on “Auto” would be ISO. Use this if light changes will happen pretty quickly like it does on most rides. If you’re going to choose a number, you will want to choose the lowest possible number you can get away with and still produce a quality image. Remember, the higher the number for ISO the more digital noise will be in the image.

Most cameras will produce nice images up to ISO 800, but your phone might have a harder go at it. Since you are already planning to slow your shutter to capture motion, you might consider slowing it further to keep your ISO at the lowest possible setting.

If you are shooting on a sunny day and trying to slow your shutter to capture motion, you will have to go with a really low ISO to make sure your image isn’t overexposed.

setting shutter speed in ProShot app

Shutter Speed

Finally, we get to set our shutter. That fraction you see is a fraction of a second, so the larger the bottom number, the quicker the shutter will fire.

When on our favorite spinning ride, my kids tend to move around a lot within the ride. I tend to stick with a shutter speed between 1/25 and 1/50 so I get motion behind them, but they are still relatively sharp.

Once you get that first shot with time to spare, you can play and slow the shutter more to increase the effect. While flash is usually frowned upon on rides, it is an option to help you freeze your subjects. To turn the flash on, make sure the lightning icon isn’t crossed out at the top of your screen.

Go Make Pictures!

I hope this quick tutorial has given you enough information to set you up for success without overwhelming you with too many details.

While photography is a fantastic hobby that has never been easier to start, learning the craft does take a bit more effort. There are wonderful, more thorough, tutorials and classes available all over the internet. A great place to start is with websites like PetaPixel and CreativeLive. You can learn more about the components to nailing exposure and using those to create the look you want in manual mode.

If you want to stick with pretty entry-level stuff and are specifically looking for tips to use when you’re out having fun at places like Walt Disney World, check out a guest blog post I wrote for Orlando Mom Collective.