great portrait photos with smartphone

Great outdoor portrait photos with smartphone

How can you shoot beautiful portraits with your phone? Given different light conditions, shooting outdoors can be challenging. Here are some ideas which will turn your photos into stunning portraits.


Outdoor conditions vary – you may have strong back-light,  a nice cloudy day or your composition may have dark background. Whatever the situation, exposing for skin tone generally works for portraits. Also, try to put your subject’s whole body in uniform light. If you have shadows under eyes or other parts of body, do not hesitate to use flash to reduce the effect of harsh light.


This one is the easiest to remember. Eyes express subject’s personality to the viewer. So always keep the eyes of your subject in focus.  Also while shooting, maintaining a distance of arm’s length is good rule for smart phones. Get too close, and your subject’s features get exaggerated. If you still want closer shots, it is better to crop the photo later in the software.


Background: Make sure that area behind the head is clear. There should not be any distinct object intersecting the head. Avoid horizontal lines, like horizon, passing through the neck. You can correct these by changing camera angle or moving the subject.
Mistakes: While framing, do not crop subject at joints like neck, elbows, knees, etc.
Tips: Try shooting from a higher vantage point – by placing phone slightly higher than subject’s head –  to create pleasing portraits. Do not forget to use vertical frame for portraits, its called portrait orientation for a reason! And you can also use rule the of thirds to make your photo interesting, just watch the video below to learn more.


Make your subject comfortable by talking to her/him. Ask them to move their eyes on and off the camera with each shot. By keeping the subject’s chin up, you can reduce shadows around the eyes. And remember to ask them to smile for photos!

Watch application of some of these ideas in the video below:

Finally, practice is important. You may not remember everything with each shot, but by observing each photo and identifying your mistakes on computer screen, you will get better with each photo session.

You can learn more with our well laid out collection of smart phone photography videos.

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