5 Important Portrait Photography Tips To Create Amazing, One-Of-A-Kind Pictures

If you bring together your smartphone camera and the important parts of portrait photography, you can create amazing pictures that capture’s a person’s mood, personality and expression. Do you want to take amazing photos that get people talking? If so, then there are five important things you have to remember to ensure your smartphone camera works like you want it to work.


The most difficult part of portrait photography is ensuring your subject feels comfortable. You want them to act naturally and be who they are. You may know the person well enough, but when it comes to a camera, they may not feel comfortable. With more and more people using smartphones to take pictures, people are getting used to getting their pictures taken.

This generally leads to a more comfortable atmosphere, but there are still some hurdles to overcome.

How can you get a person comfortable with a portrait picture? You have to get them to trust you – that you’ll ensure that they look their very best. This is where your personality comes in handy. The more confident you are, the most relaxed the subject is going to be in front of the camera.  You want to be approachable and personable to decrease your subject’s anxiety about getting their picture taken.

You need to talk to them and express patience about their concerns. If you’re confident and focused – know what you want – you can get a good picture out of the subject.  You want to share a personal connection with them.

The key is to make the entire experience less awkward, allowing you to capture a more authentic moment. Before you begin taking their pictures, you should talk with the subject and learn about them. And, once you begin taking pictures, you should still talk to them. If you’re conversational with them, they’re more open and less focused on what you’re doing, which is taken pictures of them. This helps them to feel relaxed and will lead to pictures that actually portray who they are.


Where will you take these pictures? Consider learning about your subject and be creative.  For instance, if you’re going to take a picture of an actor, consider taking their picture where they feel most at home – on the stage. If your subject loves to play the piano, consider taking their picture next to a piano or while they’re sitting at the piano.

You don’t need to have a theme to have a great picture of your subject. Instead, place them in a beautiful setting so that the background enhances their beauty or brings the viewer’s eye to the subject. Be mindful of your environment. Place the subject in the frame where you want them to be – get rid of distractions that could take away from the subject. Be mindful of small details – trees, wires, light posts, etc.

The idea is to get people to look at the subject.

Tap the screen of your smartphone on their face – it’s better if you focus on the brightest part to highlight their skin tone. Ensure your subject stands out by using the depth of field, focus, lighting and positioning.

Get a visualization of what your subject will look like. If you know where the light’s going to come from, you can know where to place your subject. Do this, and the entire experience will be better for everybody.


An important factor in portrait photography is the lighting.  Lighting can help or hinder your mobile portrait photography efforts. Therefore, you need to know what you should be looking for and where the light should be in the picture.

Whatever kind of day it is, you want to focus on the natural light. Try not to use the flash your smartphone offers since it can distort a picture.

Now, when it comes to lighting, you may be wondering where you need to be in respect to it. Should the light be behind you, hitting your subject? Should the light be behind the subject? What about lighting to the left or right? The answer is relatively simple – just try every single one of them.

Many photographers tend to go with directional lighting for their portraits since it can add a hint of contrast and drama. Lighting situations are also ideal on sunny and overcast days. Why sunny days? It’s more difficult to get directional light, so it’s easier to attain the bright highlights and sharp shadows. With overcast days, there is a lot of soft light, using it to your benefit to attain amazing pictures.

Backlighting, which is lighting behind your subject, can lead to exposure, but it does produce an interesting effect. You can also adjust the exposure on-screen manually so you attain the look you’re after.

Of course, the lighting is going to be different for each picture. Each one offers their own advantages, but these advantages will be dependent on what you want from the photography. Remember, photography is an art, and you’re the artist. Therefore, you need to use unique ideas that will create images you’d be proud to share.  Give it a sense of your creativity.

Make sure you focus on what mood you’re trying to convey. Always be mindful of the lighting – know where it’s coming from, how it’ll affect your subject and how the lighting affects the highlights, shadows and more.

Taking Pictures

Now, it’s time to take your pictures, and you can have some fun doing it. You know the subject is ready for the portrait session, you know where your photos will be taken, how the lighting is going to be and how you would like the picture to turn out. It’s time to take the pictures.

  • Distance – How far from your subject should you stand? According to some photographers, an arm’s length is the best, but the key is to find the subject’s comfort level. Some folks don’t want a camera right in their face which means you need to stay away from them so they’ll loosen up. You want them to feel and act naturally in front of the camera.
  • At or Slightly Below or Above Eye Level – You want to get eye level with your subject and then move a bit up or down to see what angle is best. You want a picture that puts them in the best possible light. If you go with a below eye level look, it may or may not work for some subjects. However, it can be extremely powerful and produce an intense
  • Landscape vs. Portrait Mode – You may think the rule is that portraits be taken in portrait mode, but that’s just not true. Instead, you can do a landscape orientation to create a more cinematic composition. The best thing to do is try both ways and find what works for your current circumstance.
  • Put Focus On Your Subject’s Face – How many times have you heard eyes are the windows to the soul? Make sure to focus on the subject’s eyes to create an amazing portrait photograph that will capture their essence. When people are looking at pictures, they tend to be drawn to their subject’s face. Therefore, you need to highlight their eyes and face to give it some sharpness and stands out from the rest of the picture.


Once you’ve taken the picture, it’s time to edit it. Like any picture, be sure you take good photos and then edit them to make them that much better.

You want to keep the original picture’s integrity – not to alter it too much. The best thing to do is be as minimal as you can. Add some sharpening to it and then do a little color correction if need be. If you have to adjust the contrast, you can do that too.

And yes, there are apps for editing that you can use. For instance, there’s Enlight, which allows you to be as conservative as you want to as nuts as you’d like to go. If you dare to venture further, you can use the iPhone art to produce a posterized look that allows you to add graphics and text.

You can also use the Mixer tool to blend photos together to create a superimposed effect. You can produce fun caricatures from the pictures, turning them into cartoons using the Painting tools or Doodle Sketch.

There are so many possibilities at your disposal… you just have to play with them. The only thing that limits you is your imagination. The key is to have fun during the editing process. Play with the various photo apps and find one that suits you best. From there, you can come up with something you like and matters.

How do you sharpen your image? You’ll need to do the following:

  • Image, Adjust, Tools tab, Details and raise Sharpening and Structure or Structure in Analog, Tools tab, Structure.

How do you adjust the colors and contrast? You’ll need to do the following.

  • Visit Image, Adjust, Tools tab
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