How many times have you seen something so beautiful in a person, a sunset, landscape, even an intimate moment that you wanted to capture and save that moment forever? Plenty of us have. So we do what we normally do, whip out our iPhone and start taking pictures. Sometimes the pictures don’t turn out how we want them to; they can be really dark and you might not be able to see what you wanted to capture.

Most people don’t want to shell out a lot of money for photo editing apps, but have you tried playing around with the adjustments readily available on your iPhone? The settings available work wonders with brightening dark photos.

How to Edit iPhone Photos Like a Pro

How to Edit iPhone Photos Like a Pro

HDR

Have you ever snapped a photo on your iPhone, went to edit it, and while editing you easily noticed that it isn’t as high-quality as you thought it would be? That’s going to happen when you take pictures on any phone due to the camera in a smart phone not providing as much detail as a camera a photographer uses. But there is a way to increase the quality of your images on your iPhone, all you need to do is when you have your camera open, near the top middle on the left it says “HDR”. Tap that once and when you snap a picture you’ll actually take 2 at the same time, 1 regular resolution photo and 1 HDR photo. The nice thing about having both photos is you can compare the two and see the difference, plus you can always delete the regular resolution photo. The only downside to having HDR photos on your iPhone is they will take up more space than regular resolution photos do.

Exposure

You can change the exposure of your photo in the “Light” section when you go to edit, but an unknown secret to many is you can adjust the exposure for the image before you even take it! To do this, when your camera is open and you tap the screen to focus, you’ll see a sun pop up on the grid, tap the sun and slide it up or down (once you start sliding a line will appear) to adjust the exposure.

Highlights and Shadows

By adjusting your highlights and shadows in your picture, you can bring more brightness to your pictures and more depth; if you prefer to dive in more with editing your images, shadows and highlights are a great alternative to the contrast feature. If you slide the scale on the bottom so the red line is all the way to the left in highlights, you’ll notice that the colors in the image get darker and richer (richer doesn’t always mean better in this case), and if you slide the scale the opposite way your whites get whiter, and your other colors lighten up. When you play with your shadows and slide your scale so the red line is to the very left, you’ll notice that this gives more depth to your picture since the shadows are being accentuated.

Saturation

Adjusting the saturation of a photo can change how much color is present in your image, plus how intense that color is. The lower the saturation, the less color and less intense it will be; the higher the saturation, the more color and intense it will be. Once you adjust the brightness on your picture, take it to the next step and apply a saturation level to your photo. By applying saturation you can make your picture pop even more.

When you’re editing your images on your iPhone, don’t hesitate to combine different effects, use whatever effects that make your image appear brighter and better. Having a great image doesn’t always mean using filters, but having a great image means that there is clarity and a balance of colors in your image.

Once you finish editing your pictures, you know they’ll look great on your iPhone, but you may be skeptical about printing them out and displaying them in your house, for fear of how the image will appear in print versus a digital screen. But, those days are over; now you can view your digitally edited photos on a digital picture frame so you can see them with the same or even better clarity than your iPhone.

Now that you know some secrets to brighten the pictures on your iPhone, it’s time to get to work editing those images so you can show off your skills to your friends and family.

Try it yourself and share your feedback with us in comment, on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.