For the better part of my 30-year career, I have been shooting portraits and lifestyle photography. It’s a key part of who I am as an artist and human being. I’ve always loved to connect with people face to face… in fractions of a second. So it should come as no surprise at all that once I discovered iPhone Photography, I heartily embraced mobile portraiture.
1. Soft Light Is More Flattering Than Hard Light
For a good amount of my mobile portraiture, I look for open shade. I then lock my white balance to a ‘warmer’ tone. If I have to shoot in direct light (which can be quite harsh) I try to diffuse, bounce or reflect the light to make it less glaring and more pleasing.
2. Expose For the Skin Tones
I almost always use a camera replacement app that allows me to independently control both exposure and focus. My go-to app for shooting mobile portraiture is Camera+. I set my Camera+ exposure control right on the brightest part of the face (skin tone) and lock the exposure. Then, I just shoot away!
3. Simplify Your Background
There is nothing more distracting than a busy background or backdrop that competes with the subject itself. I like finding neutral color backgrounds. Then, if possible, gently move my subject in front of that simple background.
4. Get the Eyes in Focus
Without a doubt, the eyes are the central element to mobile portraiture. Make absolutely sure you get the eyes in focus (or at least the eye that is closest to the camera lens). The eyes are the windows to the soul and spirit of the subject you are shooting.
5. Use Discriminating Filters
For most of my mobile portrait work, I prefer the discriminating color presets of an app called PicTapGo – beautiful, creamy, natural, authentic, believable – with full stocking and slider controls. Less bling, more bang.
6. Connect With Subject… First
Before you jump in and start snapping away, first try to make a quick connection with your subject (if it isn’t someone you already know). Trust me… the better you get at this, the better your mobile portraits will be.
1. Don’t Get Too Close
Stay about an arms length away from your subject. Don’t get too close. The tiny lens in your iPhone is roughly the equivalent of shooting with a 22mm wide-angle lens. Wide angle lenses distort facial features within a 24” (60cm) range. Keep your distance.
2. Don’t Crop At the Joints
As a general rule in mobile portraiture, you don’t want to crop at the joints – neck, waist, knees, and ankles. That makes an awkward photo. To create a more natural crop, better to be slightly above or below the joint lines.
3. Don’t Use Your Digital Zoom
If you want to get close and fill the frame with someone’s face, then it’s better to crop in editing than shooting. Almost all photo apps have some sort of cropping tool. And the native resolution of an iPhone image is large enough to crop into.
4. Don’t Give Up
Compelling and inspiring mobile portraiture is not easy. Not in the least. As a matter of fact, even after 30 years of shooting, I’m still learning and growing! Practice
on your family and friends first. Then make your way to strangers. The more you shoot, the easier it will become.
source: iPhone Photography School