How to Shoot a Great Portrait with Your iPhone

Selfie on The iPhone
How to Shoot a Great Portrait with Your iPhone

An iPhone is a capable device for a daily snapshot. It is not as versatile as a dedicated digital camera but you can still take stunning portraits. There are great techniques for top-notch people shots using the camera that you always have with you, your phone.

Reflectors for Fill Light

Woman with Car Reflector

The iPhone has LED flash and is decent for indoor photography. But it's not strong enough if you need a fill flash in bright daylight conditions. If you're outdoors you can add extra light to your pictures by using a reflector.

Photographers usually use collapsible disc reflectors. Chances are that you don't have the successor in your backpack but you might have a car windshield shade available.

If you're doing a self-portrait, hold the reflector on the opposite side of the sun and bounce the light on your face. Any friend can help you do this and hold it instead. Windshield shades have both a shiny and white side. In a bright condition, the white surface should work. On a partly cloudy day you might want to use a shiny side to give you more light on your subject. Read 16 iPhone Photography Applications & Accessories to Improve Your Photos.

Put the camera on a stand

You will have many posing options if you have a camera on a stand. There are many portable options available including the Lollipod.

I stand helps reduce distortion by positioning the camera parallel to the plane of the subject. You may want the drama of a high or low camera angle and other times not. The key is to control your composition. The stand gives you that option.

You can use the front facing Face Time camera to help you compose your self-portraits. It allows you to see the framing on your LCD. You can take some test shots and judge lighting and color. Once you have everything aligned you can turn the iPhone around and use a higher resolution back camera for the final image.

You can also trip the shutter using a set of earbuds that come with your iPhone. You just plug them into the headphone jack, and when you're ready to shoot you compress the volume plus button on the earbuds and it will take the picture for you. Your earbuds are a remote release. It is an alternative to use a self-timer option that comes with the many camera apps, such as ProCamera.


Self Portraits with a Mirror

Many times we see them on social networks with self-portraits that are shot with a mirror. The advantage of this technique is that is fast and easy to do. You can even improve the results by taking advantage of rooms that have natural lighting instead of the off-color bathroom lights that most people use.

Make sure like any other composition you pay attention to the background. You don't want too much clutter.

Get close for pet shots

Ginger Kitten

Portraits are not for humans only. Pets make excellent subjects also.

You can take advantage of the close focusing capability of the iPhone, so get low on the ground and capture that furry friend of yours in exquisite detail.

You can try different camera angles and use natural light.

Add more light if needed

Self Portraits with Pocket Spotlight

If you find that your iPhone/is underpowered for indoor photos you can take the pocketable auxiliary light such as the Pocket Spotlight by Photojojo. These can be put in your backpack or purse and can provide the extra light for portrait work.

Add finishing touches

Once you captured a pose you might want to make a detour through iPhoto for iOS before you share it with the world. On the tools icon in the lower left corner to reveal Crop, Exposure, Color, Brushes and Effects.

The Repair Brush for example (Tools>Brushes>Repair) can quickly remove anyone's blemishes. With two fingers, zoom in and position the image of the blemish is visible. Then tap on it with your fingertip to remove.

Other helpful Brushes include in, for fine lines and wrinkles and Sharpen for the eyes. After he finished, you can share the portrait with the world directly from iPhoto or save it back to your camera roll for publishing later. Read also 8 Tips For Capturing Beautiful iPhone Wedding Photography.

Your iPhone is certainly not a DSLR with zoom lenses for every portrait shot. But when you apply these techniques you can get great shots of yourself, friends and family.

"There are no rules of good photography, there are just good pictures."

Ansel Adams