How to Shoot an Overhead Picture with Your iPhone Camera

Capture the perfect bird's eye view of any subject you can lean over with this iPhone camera tip.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

Some of my favorite features of the iPhone are the Camera and the Photos app, though I haven't fully utilized all of their features. I'd like to learn more photography tips so I can fully utilize my smartphone to take great pictures! Here's a tip I've learned that I want to pass on to you: how to take an overhead shot on your iPhone. Let's get started! 

Related: How to Use the Self-Timer on Your iPhone's Camera

Why You'll Love This Tip

  • Take great food shots and more with bird's-eye-view photos.
  • Perfectly line up your overhead shots with a built-in grid feature.

How to Take the Perfect Overhead Shot with Your iPhone Camera

Overhead photography is excellent for taking shots of items where you want to show maximum detail. Food photography, of course, but also snapshots of drawings or even another photo where you'd like to preserve the perspective of the original artist. To learn more about your iPhone camera and other native apps, check out our Tip of the Day newsletter.

Believe it or not, your first step to taking great overhead pics is not opening the Camera app; that comes later. First, you'll need to enable the Grid in your Camera settings, which will help you line up your overhead shots and visualize how your image is balanced.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap on Camera.

    Tap Camera
  3. Toggle on Grid.

    Turn Grid on
    Pro Tip: Now you can start thinking about the lighting for your shot. One important tip is to avoid overhead lighting as it will cast the shadow of your hand and camera into your shot.
  4. Open the Camera app.

    Open Camera
  5. Get your subject into view and lined up how you want in your grid.

    out of alignment crosses
  6. Slightly move and tilt your iPhone until the two plus symbols on your display line up and turn yellow. This indicates that your iPhone is level.

    make sure crosses align
  7. It's useful to keep your elbows by your sides, and your feet braced apart for stability. Also, slowly releasing your breath before you take your photo helps prevent wiggling. Tap the Shutter button to snap your picture when you're ready. 

    Tap Shutter button

Don't be afraid to take many photos, so you have lots to choose from; you can always delete the ones that didn't work out well!

Image of cut-rim bowl used by permission. Artist credit: Zoe Keeland

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Author Details

Leanne Hays's picture

Author Details

Leanne Hays

Leanne Hays is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, and has written hundreds of in-depth how-to and troubleshooting articles. She's a former Associate Editor for iPhone Life magazine, and has written for the Iowa Source, as well as web content for education marketing. Leanne has an associate's degree in education, with a focus on curriculum development, as well as a bachelor's degree in science. She has over nine years of experience with SEO, social media management, and web development and writing. Despite years of web work, Leanne is by no means an early adapter; she's only owned a smartphone for five years, which makes her highly sympathetic to the learning curve of new iPhone owners. She enjoys making reader's lives easier and putting her education experience to work by walking them through the most practical ways to use Apple devices, step-by-step.

In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.