Secrets of Portrait Mode in Phone Cameras & how to make best use of them for shooting outstanding Photographs



Most of the Smartphones have different modes to click photographs and probably Portrait mode is most popular one. This mode is provided in phones to help anyone clicking people portraits well. It does few basic things for you and that automatically creates difference in comparison to same photograph clicked in normal camera phone. This blog-post talk will talk about creative uses of Portrait mode, along with understanding this mode well. 



First thing first, so let's understand how does Portrait Mode works and how to use Portrait mode in your Phone camera :      Portrait Mode is a good way to achieve nice Depth of Field in your photographs. It helps you keep sharp focus on main subject and blur other parts of the frame. The blur is gradual and hence looks nice.     A blurred background is great for emphasising your portrait subject. It really makes your subject stand out. It’s especially useful when there’s a busy, messy, or distracting background. The blur brings the viewer’s attention back to the main subject.


First thing first, so let's understand how does Portrait Mode works and how to use Portrait mode in your Phone camera : 

 Portrait Mode is a good way to achieve nice Depth of Field in your photographs. It helps you keep sharp focus on main subject and blur other parts of the frame. The blur is gradual and hence looks nice. 

A blurred background is great for emphasising your portrait subject. It really makes your subject stand out. It’s especially useful when there’s a busy, messy, or distracting background. The blur brings the viewer’s attention back to the main subject.


Basic Steps to use Portrait Mode in your Phone Camera :    1. Launch Camera app in your phone.  2. Go to Portrait Mode in your camera app.  3. Point your camera towards the subject. You will see that some parts in the preview are looking blurry.   4. Change distance between Camera and main subject. You will see the change in amount of blur in the background. Stop at a pace where you find right amount of blur and click your photograph.


Basic Steps to use Portrait Mode in your Phone Camera :

1. Launch Camera app in your phone.
2. Go to Portrait Mode in your camera app.
3. Point your camera towards the subject. You will see that some parts in the preview are looking blurry. 
4. Change distance between Camera and main subject. You will see the change in amount of blur in the background. Stop at a pace where you find right amount of blur and click your photograph. 


Most of the Smartphones have different modes to click photographs and probably Portrait mode is most popular one. This mode is provided in phones to help anyone clicking people portraits well. It does few basic things for you and that automatically creates difference in comparison to same photograph clicked in normal camera phone. This blog-post talk will talk about creative uses of Portrait mode, along with understanding this mode well.

Your subject has to be between two and eight feet from the camera. If your subject is too close or too far away, you’ll be prompted to move closer or further away. 


Usually Portrait Mode works better in Phones which have more than 1 camera. The Phone camera with one lens try to fake it and may not turn out that well.  

In iPhones, following models have Portrait mode - iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XR, XS, XS Max, X, 8 Plus, and 7 Plus.


How that we have learned basics of Portrait Mode and how to use it, I want to highlight that same mode can be used for non-people photographs as well. And you can see many of the photographs clicked in this Blogpost are not people portraits yet powerful subjects/photographs.


How that we have learned basics of Portrait Mode and how to use it, I want to highlight that same mode can be used for non-people photographs as well. And you can see many of the photographs clicked in this Blogpost are not people portraits yet powerful subjects/photographs.  


Let's talk about some quick Tips to make best of Portrait mode and create some stunning photographs :    1. An interesting subject is important for a great photograph.    2.  Appropriate background is equally important. Try to have some colour contrast and some character which makes subject more important.    3. Best light is always helpful in creating awesome photographs, so make sure you have enough light and some interesting light-shadow play.    4. Make sure you pay attention to some of the popular Composition rules of photography.     5. Make sure you check clicked photograph and retake the photograph if blur you see is not desirable.     6. Keeping hands sturdy is very important in Portrait mode. A small shake can shift the focus and you may end up with a useless photgraph.    7. Pay attention to perspective so that background areas don't contradict with importance of the subject. E.g. - any dark spot touching boundaries of a subject which is also dark. That takes away the whole feel of the photograph. So light contrast and colour contrast is important to maintain between subject & background.


Let's talk about some quick Tips to make best of Portrait mode and create some stunning photographs :

1. An interesting subject is important for a great photograph.

2.  Appropriate background is equally important. Try to have some colour contrast and some character which makes subject more important.


3. Best light is always helpful in creating awesome photographs, so make sure you have enough light and some interesting light-shadow play.

4. Make sure you pay attention to some of the popular Composition rules of photography


5. Make sure you check clicked photograph and retake the photograph if blur you see is not desirable. 

6. Keeping hands sturdy is very important in Portrait mode. A small shake can shift the focus and you may end up with a useless photgraph.


7. Pay attention to perspective so that background areas don't contradict with importance of the subject. E.g. - any dark spot touching boundaries of a subject which is also dark. That takes away the whole feel of the photograph. So light contrast and colour contrast is important to maintain between subject & background. 

8. Last but not the least, make best use of editing tools like Snapseed or Lightroom to edit & make your photographs more interesting. 


For iPhone Users, here is a detailed guide to use Portrait mode and learn it's nuances. There are some interesting tips for specific iPhone models.


For iPhone Users, here is a detailed guide to use Portrait mode and learn it's nuances. There are some interesting tips for specific iPhone models. 

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