- Make sure your iPhone is on HDR. High Definition.
- Don't bother with night time photos. It might be better with the iPhone 5, but my 4S makes the image look washed out.
- Taking photos outside on sunny days always come out best.
- Tap to focus. And make sure it is focused on the right thing and not something in the distance.
- Don't always take your photos at the same angle or distance. Mix it up. Get on the floor with your pet.
- Take A LOT of photos. Pets tend to move and look away. Don't give up. It takes patience and often a lot of photos to get a perfect shot. You also need a steady hand or a tripod.
- After you take the picture, zoom in with your fingers to see if it's blurry close up. If it is, dump it and take more photos. I try to make my iPhone focus on the dog or cat's hair or eyes, once that's in focus, everything else will look great.
- Use the Crop tool!! Cropping can be really fun and creative. You'll be surprised how an ordinary picture looks like a professional shot when it's given a tight crop. I see a lot of photos where there's just too much extra space. The iPhone has a grid you can turn on when you crop. Experiment on a duplicate photo -- try cropping one image several different ways and judge how you react to its composition. Do you like one better than others? Get really close up or see how it looks with excessive space with the subject all the way to the right, top, left, or bottom. More often than not you will opt for keeping the subject centered. After you've decided on your composition, chop off all unnecessary space.
- Learn about the Golden Ratio or the golden spiral. There's Google if you're curious. ; D It's an easy way to help compose your shots. Basically the Golden Ratio is a graceful spiral and if your composition matches the spiral in some way, it will be pleasing to the eye. For examples: http://jakegarn.com/the-rule-of-thirds/. "Pleasing to the eye" here means that the eye isn't jumping all over the page, but one thing in the photo leads to something else, spiraling outward -- making it a relaxing experience rather than a challenging one.
- Get the light in their eyes. No, I'm not talking about the glowing eyes that dogs and cats get when you take a flash photo at night. I'm referring to highlights on the dog or cats' eyes. They're important. Photos without highlights in the eyes look dull and uninteresting, while photos that capture a strong highlight on the eye looks instantly more alive and interesting. If you take a moment casually look at all the photos that you come across and think of your reaction to them, I think you'll agree that those photos that capture the highlight are much better than those that don't.
EDIT: I forgot to add: To get that highlight in their eyes, you have to move around until you see the sharpest, strongest highlight in their eyes. Make sure you're not blocking it. And lastly make sure the iPhone focuses on it. You can always get a sharper picture with patience and a steady hand. : D
In regards to the duller picture below, I should have put the iPhone on the ground more to Johnny's left, and then tilted the iPhone camera to look up at him. It would also have minimized the overhang of his eyelids that make him look dower here and of course "Ant-view" angle would have given him a powerful look. : D