You try to take a selfie, but the light is terrible: It's hot, too bright and all of the details are blown out. You tap the screen endlessly to try and get the iPhone to auto-adjust. Eventually, you run around to find better light or resign to fix it in editing.
Everything is about to change for you, because making the manual adjustments needed to avoid dealing with this again are just a tap away. Let's walk through it.
How to manually adjust your brightness while taking an iPhone photo
Tapping the screen once will choose a target area and automatically set the exposure based on the lighting and sharpness in that target zone.
The icon that comes up when you tap the screen should look like this:
Now that this icon has appeared, you can simply swipe up or down any place on the screen to adjust the brightness of the photo, bringing up dark zones in your pictures, or pulling down flares to bring out highlights:
It works great on portraits. Here's Mic's copy chief, Esther Bergdahl, demonstrating how to adjust the brightness in a low-light indoor setting like an office:
But what if you've found the perfect exposure, and simply want to hold it in place so that it doesn't change as you move the camera? Simply press and hold to auto-lock the exposure and focus so that it doesn't change as you're setting up your shot:
There it is. You can now find your proper exposure, adjust it to your liking, and lock it in. Now you won't be messing around in VSCO Cam endlessly trying to fix those things after the fact. After all, once a detail is blown out, you can never get it back.