How To Take A Square Photo With An iPhone

Apple's aspect ratio control in the iPhone's camera app makes it easy to snap pictures in 1:1 ratio (square), so there's no need to crop.

The iPhone can take a photo that is already in a square shape, a very useful feature that Apple included in its camera app. Some social media and e-commerce apps prefer, in some cases might require, pictures to be cropped into a perfectly square shape. While this can be done afterward, it takes extra time and is a hassle when trying to process more than a couple of photos.

Apple added a large number of controls to the iPhone's camera. While some of these options are quite obvious, like switching between taking photos and recording videos, others are somewhat hidden, requiring a swipe gesture to find. Even then, the use of some controls might not be clear if it's hidden behind an unfamiliar icon or indicator that doesn't reveal the purpose.

An iPhone can snap and preview pictures in a square format, making it easy to compose the shot without any need for guessing whether a portion of the scene will be cut off, a common problem when cropping an image afterward. The control to take square photos can be found by swiping upward from the center of the screen while in the iPhone's camera app. A bar will appear at the bottom of the preview and above the shutter button showing a variety of controls. 

The one that shows '4:3' is the aspect ratio control. Tapping this indicator will open a menu to select from 'Square,' '4:3,' and '16:9.' Tapping 'Square' will change the preview shape to match and the indicator on the control will change to '1:1.' The first number in an aspect ratio represents the width and the second is height, although Apple doesn't update the order when shooting in portrait orientation. Technically, a 4:3 photo that's taken when the iPhone is held vertically is 3:4, since it's taller than it is wide.


Other iPhone Camera Controls

The iPhone has several interesting options in this same bar of camera controls, depending on which iPhone model is in use. With an iPhone 13, from left to right, there are options to control the flash, Night mode, Live Photo, Photographic Style, Aspect ratio, Exposure, Timer, Filters, and RAW. Each has great value but might not be used often depending on the user's needs. Spending a little time learning what each of these controls do can help to improve photography skills.

Besides the Aspect ratio control, the most useful is Exposure, which allows the user to adjust the photo to be a little brighter or darker. That means a sequence of photos can be taken with the same adjustment in case the photographer disagrees with the iPhone's preset brightness for a scene. 

This setting, like Aspect ratio and other camera controls, stays in place until changed manually or when the camera app is closed and reopened. By using the iPhone's Aspect ratio setting and other camera controls, there's less processing needed for photos before sending to social media or uploading for work, saving a huge amount of time and effort.