29 May 2017 | 5 MIN READ

iPhone Photography Tricks: How to Create Impressive Surreal Photos

Smartphone photography

Surreal photos seem to bend the reality and make us look twice. And that’s the most awesome part of them. They are both cool and weird at the same time. Usually, a nice photo catches quite a lot of attention. But way more attention-grabbing are surreal photos with all those unusual and mind-blowing shapes and colors they come with. So, what does it take to create really impressive, psychedelic surreal art with an iPhone? Is it hard or easy? Or maybe it’s all about a few iPhone photography tricks one needs to master in order to get to the top.

Well, in reality, surreal photography is more about what to “create” rather than what to “shoot.” Deciding a good angle to shoot a photo is, of course, a right decision, but it’s hardly ever enough to get you a surreal piece of art. So, what to do to create that visual jerk that combines two completely different pieces together and is not only beautiful but quite shocking as well? Let’s go deeper into this to get the answers.

In order to create really impressive surreal photos, you might need the following:

A dazzling concept

You can shoot only one photo or you can create a series of photos based on a single idea. Just make sure you have a really wonderful idea in place and you know what you want to achieve. A clear idea will always make it easier to get outstanding pictures.

A few iPhone photography tricks

Well, yes, actually you do not need costly professional cameras to create really impressive surreal photos. Your iPhone can come in handy. And mastering a few tricks can help create superb images.

A photo editing app

So far as you are using an iPhone instead of a DSLR, you might need an iOS app to edit your photos. No need to use any photo editing software. Usually, an app costs less and is easier to handle than professional editing software. And if you master the app well, your iPhone photos will look no less catchy than those edited with a professional tool.

Let us now see what techniques to use to get you the desired effects.

Camera perspective

You want to distort reality to create impressive surreal photos? Then make sure you use the easiest technique in the book; changing perspectives. Using your camera perspective can help create the optical illusion you want. It’s as simple as moving the objects away from the camera so as they seem either too big or too small as compared to their actual sizes.

Optical illusion through a mirror

A perfect optical illusion can be achieved by using mirrors (street mirrors or those in your bathroom) or water (to mirror the objects being photographed). Usually, rain puddles are a great thing to use to achieve the mirror effect. Sometimes, especially in autumn, really bizarre photos can be captured on a rainy day.

Optical illusion through a mirror

Contrasting colors

Gray or black & white images often have a surreal touch. And if you add a bit of a color to a selected part or object, it can become a real masterpiece of surreal iPhone photography. You just need to make sure the highlighted part really stands out from the rest.

Contrasting colors

Photo manipulation

This is by far one of the most common iPhone photography tricks to create surreal art. The whole idea is in joining two pictures in one. Usually, photo manipulation involves merging the background of one image with the central subject of the other. The result appears as a single image which usually incorporates beauty, passion, and artistic freedom. Below is an image created with the help of Pixomatic.

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And here is how @dilfvladimir turned the world upside down with #Pixomatic. Can you make a better one? 😉Share your edits with us by using #Pixomatic.

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Want really spooky, ghostly images? Use blurring! To create a surreal atmosphere, you need to blur everything in the photo except for the subject. Keep the latter in perfect focus. Also, if you manage to blur motion, it can result in a dreamlike effect. It is usually a matter of seconds to blur a photo with the help of an iOS photo editing app. You just need to decide which parts to blur and which ones to leave untouched.



Solarization (or solarisation) or the so-called Sabattier effect is a technique in photography where the image is either wholly or partially reversed in tone. You see dark areas as bright and bright areas as dark due to solarization. While you might think that special equipment or photo editing software is needed to create solarized surreal photos, I can assure you that a few iPhone photography tricks will be enough.

In order to achieve the high level of contrast needed for the solarization effect, you can turn on the light in a dark room for a very short moment to shoot the subject. If you manage to shoot at that very short-lived moment, you will get the needed shadows. For the final touch, feel free to experiment with gray effects in your iOS photo editing app (Pixomatic offers a wide range of awesome gray effects).


Final notes on our iPhone photography tricks

You might think that art is all about spontaneity and improvisation. I dare not disagree with this. However, when it comes to surreal photography, you need to decide what you want to say. In other words, you need a plan, a concept, or even a story to tell. It’s like trying to convince someone in something with an eye-popping and mind-boggling photo. In reality, creating surreal art is a great way of self-expression and self-realization to most of us. Since it offers a full artistic freedom and does not imprison your imagination in any way. Vibrant and chilling colors, supernatural contradictions, ghostly creatures, and logical paradoxes are what make surrealistic art. You as an iPhone photographer do not need much to squeeze surreal juices from an iPhone photo. What you need is simply an iPhone and a quality iOS photo editing app.

Feel free to experiment as much as you want and happy shooting!

Also…do not forget to share your most awesome creations with us. We are eager to see them!