How to shoot high-quality portraits on a smartphone: a few simple tips

Portrait photography is a good way to capture someone instantly, and it doesn't matter what the occasion is. The point is to focus on the person and capture their emotions, regardless of the time and place of the action. Modern smartphones are equipped with excellent cameras and are able to make very good portraits. They may not be able to really compete with the lenses of SLR and digital cameras, but if you act correctly, the gap in image quality will be minimal. What is needed for this? Our tips are in the material below.

Learn the portrait mode of your smartphone If you are the owner of a modern smartphone, there is a high probability that it has a portrait mode. Previously, this mode overused the excessive processing of images, and portraits looked too artificial. Often, the software could not completely separate the object from the background - because of this, the strands of hair in the frame were blurred.

In recent years, the portrait mode has changed for the better. Now it allows you to take very good pictures. Most often, this mode uses standard cameras in combination with telephoto lenses to create a depth effect. The problem is that these two lenses use different apertures, which means they receive different amounts of light. Basically, the portrait mode itself tells you when and how best to take a picture. For example, you may need to be at a certain distance from the subject at the time of shooting.

To get started, try taking a few pictures in this mode and see if it will give you the result you are set for. Give preference to places with good lighting, otherwise there may be too much noise in the background of the picture.

Pay attention to the light

Speaking of exposure, it becomes clear that how the subject is illuminated is crucial for a good portrait. It is very important to understand what the phone's camera sensor needs to get the extra light. Please note: using a flash is not the best option. The light from it is too bright, especially at small distances, typical for portrait photography, respectively, it can blur the skin tone and create terrible shadows.

Try to use any available natural or artificial light. You may be surprised, but cloudy days are more suitable for taking portraits than bright sunny ones, because the sunlight can be too bright and sharp in the midday hours. If you are shooting at dawn or dusk, you can use the angle at which the sun rises or sets to illuminate the subject in the way you want. But on cloudy days, you don't have to worry about this, because the lighting of the object will be even without that.

The same applies to indoor shooting. The light that penetrates through the cloud layer gets inside through the window and is perfect for highlighting the mood of the moment. Try to direct the light on the object from one side, and make the other darker. This can also be achieved with artificial lighting. For example, you have a colored light - a neon sign or something like that. Position the subject close enough to it so that the light fills the entire face or part of it. This way you will get results that will look dynamic and artistic at the same time.

Get closer The closer you are to the object, the more you focus on the person, and the more blurred the background becomes. This is a common rule in photography, but in the case of a phone, it is easier to avoid using portrait mode if you are not ready for this effect. How close you should approach depends on what kind of frame you want to take.

Unlike SLR and digital cameras, in a phone you can't control the depth of field by changing the aperture, so the best thing to do is to use the distance to create a bokeh effect. The more natural the bokeh, the better. This effect is even more pronounced if the distance between the object and the background is large. For example, shoot someone close-up with the perspective behind them – then the spatial contrast will be more pronounced.

This also works with items. If you're shooting something, try placing it to the left or right of the frame – this way you can get a progressive bokeh effect that cascades throughout the rest of the frame. You can also experiment with angles and perspectives to add depth and scale to the image.

Reduce exposure As mentioned earlier, sunlight can be a problem for portraits. One way to mitigate sharp and bright shots is to reduce exposure when shooting in such conditions.

In bright light, the phone's camera will try to compensate for the presence of excessive light by prioritizing the exposure on the subject at the expense of the brightest areas in the rest of the image. The problem is that even if you try to extract the parts from these parts, you won't be able to. The reverse process is possible. With subsequent editing, it is easier to extract more details from the shadows, especially if you isolate the object and extract only the details. You can do this with the Adobe Photoshop mobile app, although there are plenty of others that are quite decent.

Take a lot of shots It's no secret that the perfect shots you see on social networks are just one of the many ways to do it supposedly "right". Portraits are an extremely subjective type of photography, if only because they are largely personal. For this reason, be prepared to take at least a few shots when shooting a portrait to get better lighting, composition, and, of course, emotions.

Of course, for portrait photography, as for any other, you need practice. Don't worry if your pictures aren't perfect at first – they can't always be successful. Over time, you will understand how to best serve and place the object, when and where to use the light available to you. And when you have enough experience, your portraits will get better and better.