BOUGHT an iPhone in the last two years? There’s a good chance it has an amazing feature called Portrait Mode.
This special camera feature lets you take incredible “studio quality” shots of people, animals or objects – and is an easy way to attract Instagram likes.
What is Portrait Mode?
Portrait Mode is an iPhone camera feature that keeps your subject in sharp focus – but blurs the background.
This is called the “bokeh” effect, and was previously only possible using proper cameras.
If you’ve got an iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, or iPhone XS Max, you can create awesome close-up Portrait Mode shots.
And if you’ve got an iPhone XR, you’ll be able to take wide-angle Portrait Mode snaps that capture loads of detail.
How to use Portrait Mode
Using Portrait Mode couldn’t be easier.
First, launch the Camera app on your iPhone. Then drag your finger from right to left once, which should switch you from Photo to Portrait.
On most new iPhones, you’ll simply point the phone at an object and it will take a stunning Portrait snap.
However, you may need to move farther away to get Portrait Mode to work properly – it’ll warn you on-screen if you’re too close.
And sometimes Portrait Mode will fail to work correctly in very poor light, so don’t try snapping any selfies in the dark.
The iPhone XR works slightly differently, but Portrait Mode is accessed in the exact same way.
With the iPhone XS, the two rear cameras work together to sense depth, making it easy to blur the background.
But the iPhone XR only has one rear wide-angle camera, so it has to use clever software to work out where the background is.
That means the iPhone XR is (for now) only able to snap human faces in Portrait Mode – rather than your dog, or an attractive vase.
But the benefit is that you get really cool wide-angle shots. So committed snappers (with very large bank accounts) might want to invest in both an iPhone XR and iPhone XS, for maximum Portrait Mode potential.
Portrait Mode tips and tricks – how to take great shots
For the iPhone XS, you’ll want a well-lit environment with a very still subject.
Try not to get too close – you want to frame the subject, and not chop off their ears, chin or hair.
It’s worth taking several snaps too, and from a few different angles, just in case Portrait Mode doesn’t capture the edges of your subject correctly.
For the iPhone XR, you’ll capture a much wider view, so it’s worth thinking about the background.
Even though it’s blurred, you’ll still be able to make out some features.
So consider seeking out colours that contrast your subject, or backgrounds with lots of light – for a cool sparkling effect.
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With iOS 12 (the latest software update), you can also adjust the levels of blur. This setting will appear as you’re taking the photo, but you can also adjust the depth of field post-capture too.
It’s also possible to add Portrait Lighting before or after you take the photo. You can create cool studio lighting effects, and convert the image to black and white.
What’s your best iPhone photography tip? Let us know in the comments!