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How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Every year when Apple launches a new iPhone, it proudly boasts of just how powerful an ISP it ships with. Yet, the company never added its single-camera Portrait mode solution as seen on the iPhone XR to its older yet powerful devices like the iPhone 8, iPhone 7. A new jailbreak tweak named PortraitXI from developer Foxfortmobile aims to do just that.

PortraitXI is compatible with all jailbroken iPhones running iOS 11 – iOS 12.2 featuring an A9 chip with at least 2GB RAM. This means that all iPhones starting from the iPhone 6s and higher are supported by this jailbreak tweak.

Unlike the Portrait effect on the iPhone XR which only works on humans, the depth effect of PortraitXI works on objects and pets as well. The developer does warn that the depth effect works best on humans. One can also tweak the portrait lighting effect after taking a portrait photo.

PortraitXI is also useful for users who own an iPhone with a dual-camera setup. This is because while Apple forces one to use the telephoto sensor to take Portrait photos, PortraitXI allows users to take portrait photos from the primary wide-angle shooter. The resulting photos might not have the same focal length as a typical portrait photo but the overall image quality would be noticeably better.

Another advantage of PortraitXI is that it supports Portrait mode for the front selfie camera as well. While the likes of the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 8 Plus feature Portrait mode, the feature is only present for the rear camera.

The only catch with PortraitXI is that it does not offer a live preview of the depth effect as you would get on iPhones that natively support the feature.

You can find some sample portrait images taken from PortraitXI in this Imgur album.

PortraitXI is a paid jailbreak tweak ($4.99) that is available on the Packix repo.

@HarryGuinness
Updated Jul 16, 2020, 5:58 pm EST | 4 min read

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

The iPhone 7 Plus’ new dual-camera setup is great, but there’s one feature that stands out more than any other: Portrait mode. Using both cameras, the iPhone 7 Plus is able to work out where things are in relation to each other and, without Photoshop, make a smartphone photo look like it was taken with a DSLR. Let’s look at how it works and how to use it.

Update: This article was originally written when Portrait Mode was first introduced on the iPhone 7 Plus. It’s since been included on other iPhones, including all iPhone 11 models as well as the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone X.

How the iPhone Emulates Shallow Depth of Field and the Portrait Look

In photography, an image with a shallow depth of field is one where the subject is in focus but everything else is blurry and out of focus. It creates a really pleasing look that’s especially flattering for portraits.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Normally, this effect is created using a wide aperture; the wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field. Due to the limits of smartphone camera sensors, however, even with a wide aperture lens, it’s impossible to get a very shallow depth of field. The small sensor size and need for all the components to fit inside a phone just won’t allow it.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

The iPhone 7 Plus’s Portrait mode, seen in the image above, fakes the effect. Instead of using a wide aperture lens, it uses two cameras to create a depth map of the scene and selectively blurs certain areas it knows are further away. When it gets it right, it emulates the look of a portrait shot with a DSLR really well.

To understand how this works, put your index about eighteen inches in front of your face and stare at it. First close your left eye. Then open your left eye and close your right eye. When you do, you should see your finger move in relation to the background. This is the parallax effect in action.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Your eyes each view the finger from a slightly different perspective. Your brain processes the two inputs into one so we rarely notice the effect in everyday life, but this binocular vision is what gives us our ability to perceive depth. The only reason you’re able to pick a glass up from the table without spilling it is that, because your eyes each see it from a different point, your brain is able to triangulate its position relative to you.

With two cameras, the iPhone 7 Plus also has a form of binocular vision. By analyzing how different the image looks between the two cameras, it’s able to create a depth map and work out where different objects are in the scene.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Hold your finger in front of your face again, this time a little closer. Notice how it moves more against the background than before? Now hold it as far away as you can. See how it moves less?

To the iPhone, objects that are close to the phone will shift more between the two images, while things that are far away, like the background, will barely move.

With the depth map built, all that’s left to be done is for the phone to work out what areas you want sharp and what should be blurred to create the portrait look. Through a combination of machine learning and the elements in the scene, the iPhone makes a best guess at what the subject of the shot is and keeps it in focus, everything else gets blurred to some degree. Most of the time, it gets it pretty right.

How to Use Portrait Mode

Open the Camera app on your iPhone. To get to Portrait mode, swipe once to the left or tap where it says Portrait above the shutter button.

How to use the iphone’s portrait modeHow to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Using Portrait mode is largely automatic. Frame your subject in the viewfinder. If you want to adjust exposure or specify a subject, tap on them.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

When the effect is locked in you’ll see a preview. The Depth Effect box at the bottom of the screen will also go yellow.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Your subject needs to be between about 0.5m and 2.5m of the camera. If they’re too close or too far, you’ll get a warning and the effect won’t work.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

When you’re ready, tap the shutter button to take a shot. You should get something that looks a little like the photo below.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

As well as the photo with the Depth Effect, you’ll also have a regular photo without it applied in case things don’t work out.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

It’s worth noting that while it’s being billed as Portrait mode, you can do a lot more with it. I love using it to take photos of small, nearby objects like this bumblebee.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

The depth effects works really well here.

How Good is the Depth Effect?

Apple is quite clear that Portrait Mode is still in beta, and occasionally it shows. When there are soft edges between the subject and the background, it works great. However, when there are hard edges or transparent areas, like in the image below, the wrong areas can get blurred.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Similarly, the effect will never look identical to a photo taken with a DSLR and a wide aperture lens. It only approximates it. If you zoom in and check all the edges, you will probably be able to find some weird artifacts.

Overall though, Portrait mode is a great addition to the iPhone. It might not always look perfect, but the Depth Effect is a great way to isolate subjects in your images. It won’t work for every photo, but it can make your portraits and close up shots stand out.

We’ve already talked about what portrait mode is – and that it can be done using software and/or hardware features of your smartphone’s camera. On the iPhone, Apple’s portrait mode uses cameras from compatible models to create this depth effect.

Therefore, you can create a photo that maintains the sharpness of the subject (object, animal, personal, etc.) against a blurred background or bokeh effect. On iOS, the user can also add lighting effects and even take a selfie using portrait mode.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

To get all the best camera features, first make sure you have the latest version of iOS. After that, the model of iPhone you have or want to buy.

iPhones with Native Portrait Mode

From iPhone 7 Plus:

  • iPhone 11;
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7 Plus

Does this mean that older iPhones cannot take photos with the bokeh effect? Not exactly. Unfortunately, models prior to the iPhone 7 Plus do not have portrait mode natively. But camera apps with background blur can help.

iPhones with Selfie Portrait Mode

To take a selfie in portrait mode, an iPhone X or newer is required.

How to take portrait photos on iPhone

  1. Open the Camera app on the iPhone;
  2. Slide to portrait mode;
  3. The app can suggest some tips on the screen;
  4. With everything ready, the lighting effect, like Natural Light, will turn yellow;
  5. Tap the shutter button and click!

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

What are the app tips?

Before taking the picture

The iOS Camera app tells you when you are too close or too far from the subject of the photo or if the environment is too dark to use Natural Light mode.

In addition, you can also use the True Tone flash, set a Timer and apply filters.

After taking the photo

After taking the photo, you can still use the image editing features built into iOS to make changes, such as cropping the photo or using “Auto Enhance”.

Notes on iPhone models

Owners of iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, will use Portrait mode on the telephoto lens. You can tap the “2x” button if you want to zoom out and use the ultra-wide-angle camera.

Owners of iPhones XR, when using the rear camera, need to detect a person’s face (not objects) in the viewfinder so that a photo can be taken in portrait mode.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

How to take a selfie in iPhone portrait mode

You can take selfies using Portrait mode with an iPhone X or higher.

  1. Open the Camera app on the iPhone;
  2. Slide to portrait mode;
  3. Touch the front camera button (↩️);
  4. Hold the iPhone in front of your face;
  5. Take a selfie with one of the device’s volume buttons.

Even in the selfie, you can use the portrait lighting effects. On the iPhone XR, the rear camera system accepts only Natural, Studio and Contour Light.

Bonus tips!

You can adjust the Depth Control and Lighting after taking the photo.

How to adjust the blur level and intensity of the Lighting effects:

  1. Touch a photo taken in Portrait mode;
  2. Touch “Edit” and then the “Depth Control” button;
  3. Or the “Portrait Lighting” button to adjust this option;
  4. A slider will be displayed under the photo for these cases. Drag it to the left or right. A gray dot marks the original value of the item in the photo;
  5. Touch “OK”.

Apple first introduced Portrait Mode to iPhone users back in 2016. It’s now been four years since its creation, and with each new annual Apple update, the iPhone camera gets stronger & more capable. We often get asked how to use portrait mode on iPhones since it does take a certain technique to get the camera to recognize the subject and activate Portrait Mode. If you’re an avid iPhone camera user, you’ll be familiar with the common message that pops up when you are too close to a subject, which advises you to move back to capture your subject and get the Depth of Field effect.

How to use the iphone’s portrait modeWe wanted to create a mini-masterclass for you to understand which conditions are best suited for Portrait Mode images on iPhones and include tips on how to get better shots. No matter how tempting, I am going to advise you not to photograph something as basic and boring as the image on the left. I’ll walk you through exactly how we achieved the image on the right and how to use Portrait Mode on iPhone so you won’t struggle with it ever again! Watch the full tutorial below, and if you enjoy this type of content, make sure you check out our newest release: Creative Photography 101!

Video: How to Use Portrait Mode on iPhone

1. Find a Background, Less Busier the Better!

In order to create the Portrait Mode look (shallow depth of field), the iPhone camera uses depth mapping to figure out what is in the foreground of the image. Data from the wide-angle and telephoto lenses are used to compute a depth map, which then artificially blurs objects depending on how far they are from the in-focus subject.

2. Create Distance Between You and the Subject

How to use the iphone’s portrait modeEarlier, I mentioned that the iPhone prompts you to ‘Move Further Away’ when it can’t detect a clear subject. This likely means your camera is too close to the subject for the technology to map the depth. This will take some trial and error, but start making small adjustments by taking one step at a time away from your subject until you see the background blur.

3. Choose a Flattering Perspective

Unlike the standard lens that comes with iPhones (

28mm equivalent), the Telephoto lens is a much more zoomed-in focal length (

52mm). This means that when you switch from the standard lens to Portrait Mode you’re going to see a more zoomed-in image on your phone. In this example, you’ll see that we can still see some of the concrete sidewalk in the frame, and it takes away from the green landscape around our subject. To avoid that, I rotated the lens and brought it closer to the ground to conceal the concrete. Play around with your framing to ensure you’re still in a position to blur out the background.

4. Pose & Photograph Your Portrait!

How to use the iphone’s portrait modeThere’s nothing left but to shoot! If you move from your original position or have your subject move, the phone may take a couple of moments to adjust to the new position and give you the same message as we saw in Step 2; however, it should be pretty quick to detect subtle movements. The final image was edited in Lightroom Mobile using Visual Flow Presets using the Crush Pack!

If you enjoyed this tutorial on how to use Portrait Mode with iPhones, check out Creative Photography 101, our newest course dedicated to teaching you how to shoot and edit pro photos with just your phone. All photos in this course were taken on my iPhone 11 Pro Max to emphasize that it isn’t about the gear, it’s about the magic you can create with any camera!

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

The unique selling point (USP) of iPhone 7 Plus is the dual-camera system. Ever since it was launched amid much fanfare, both fans and experts have adored its ability to capture stunning shots. During the “iPhone event”, Apple showcased iPhone 7 Plus’ exclusive feature-“Portrait Mode”, which excels in capturing photos with the DSLR-like depth of field and blur/bokeh effects. It instantly became the envy of other iPhone and iPad users—including iPhone 7!

“Portrait Mode” is available in iOS 10.1. I have tested this all new feature on iPhone 7 Plus and found it really impressive. What if you want to use “Portrait Mode” on your iPhone 7 or older iPhone including iPhone 5s, iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 6s/6s Plus, iPhone SE? Don’t be disappointed at all as there is a way to capture photos in “Portrait Mode” on your iPhone 7, iPhone 5s or later.

How to Use Portrait Mode on iPhone 7, 6s/6s Plus, 6/6Plus, SE and iPhone 5s

Meet “FabFocus” a superb camera app primed to let you use Portrait Mode on your iPhone 7/iPhone 5s or above. Moreover, it’s superb in terms of letting you add the DSLR-like bokeh or blur effects to your shots.

It’s also compatible with iPad Air or above, iPad mini 2 or above, iPad Pro. You can download it for $3.99 from App Store.

Step #1. Once you have downloaded FabFocus on your compatible iPhone, launch it. You would need to allow it to access your Camera and Photos.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Step #2. Next, capture a nice photo as usual by tapping on the shutter button at the bottom center.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

If you wish to capture selfie, tap on the front-camera icon at the top left corner, give a cool pose and then tap on the shutter button.

Step #3. Now, you need to tap on the Start button at the bottom center to have the background blur effect.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

In case, you have captured the pic of any object or if more than one faces are in the image, this app will let you know that it didn’t find any face and allow you to add blur effect manually.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Edit Your Photos

Step #1. After you have captured any photo, tap on the Edit button at the bottom.

Step #2. Next, you need to use the brush to select the specific area which you want to highlight. To do so, simply drag the brush over the portion of face or object.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

There is also an option to let you paint the specific portion which you wish to highlight. Tap on the paint button at the bottom and then drag the brush over the portion to select.

Just in case, you want to erase any part, use the button to highlight it, tap on the eraser button at the bottom, then tap on tick mark.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

You have the option to increase/decrease the size of the brush. Simply drag the button at the top towards right or left to adjust the brush size.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Step #3. Tap on the upward looking arrow at the bottom left corner to access the additional editing options.

You can change the shape of the blur effect. As for instance, choose heart shape, circle, triangle to be the shape of the bokeh effect. Adjust the intensity of the blur effect. Select the option at the bottom.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Tap on the downward arrow to return to the normal editing screen.

Step #4. Once you are satisfied with your editing, tap on the tick mark at the bottom right corner to confirm the change.

If you want to save to camera roll or share your pic on Facebook or email it to your friend, tap on the Share button at the bottom right corner and then select the medium in the share sheet.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Add Blur Effect to Your Existing Photos

You can also add blur effect to your existing photos.

Step #1. Simply open the FabFocus app.

Step #2. Tap on the albums button at the bottom. Then, select the photos you want to add blur effect.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Step #3. Now, follow the steps mentioned above to manually add the blur effect to your image.

Advance Settings

Use the Advance settings to use this camera app perfectly.

Step #1. Open FabFocus app → tap on the “X” at the top right corner.

Step #2. Tap on the settings button at the top right corner. Now, select the bokeh shape and adjust the blur intensity.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Step #3. Tap on the advanced button to access more options.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

Now, you have several options like enable play sound, autosave shared images to camera roll, reduce blur for small faces and more.

Video:

The Verdict

FabFocus is indeed a delight for those who wish to put their hands on the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode on their unsupported iPhones. Agreed, this camera app may not be on par with the expertise of the phablet’s Portrait Mode but it has the qualities to be an excellent alternative.

What do you think of FabFocus? Do share your views in the comments below.

Apple’s newest iPhones, the iPhone 12 mini, ‌iPhone 12‌, ‌iPhone 12 Pro, and ‌‌iPhone 12 Pro‌‌ Max, are equipped with a photography feature called Night Mode, which is designed to take crisp, clear photos even when lighting conditions are poor, such as at night.

‌Night Mode‌‌ originally debuted in the iPhone 11 series, but its use was limited to the rear-facing wide-angle camera. With ‌‌iPhone 12‌‌, however, Apple has extended ‌‌Night Mode‌‌ functionality to all the lenses, and if you have an ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and iPhone 12 Pro Max, you can take advantage of the LiDAR Scanner’s advanced photography smarts to unlock ‌Night Mode‌ Portraits, too.

How to use the iphone’s portrait mode
Apple’s Portrait Mode has become a popular way of taking impressive shots using a depth-of-field effect known as bokeh, allowing iPhone users to shoot a photo that keeps the subject sharp with a blurred background. With the addition of ‌Night Mode‌, ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ can automatically brighten Portrait shots while preserving the night time feeling, balancing the light and dark elements of an image.

Here’s how to take a Portrait shot using ‌‌Night Mode‌ on ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ and ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌‌.

  1. Launch the Camera app on your ‌iPhone 12 Pro‌ or ‌iPhone 12 Pro Max‌.
  2. Select Portrait below the viewfinder.
  3. If the flash icon is yellow in the top-left corner of the screen, tap it to turn it off.
  4. Look for the ‌Night Mode‌ icon at the top of the viewfinder – it looks like a crescent moon. If the ambient light is low, ‌‌Night Mode‌‌ will automatically engage and the icon will be yellow. If it’s not engaged but you think your portrait would still benefit from ‌‌Night Mode‌‌, simply tap the button. If you don’t see the ‌Night Mode‌ icon at all, there’s too much light and you won’t be able to use it.
    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

  • If you manually engaged ‌Night Mode‌, you can adjust the exposure time with the slider just above the shutter button. If ‌Night Mode‌ automatically engaged then the exposure time is already selected, but you can adjust it yourself by tapping the yellow moon icon and moving the horizontal dial.
  • Tap the shutter button and hold your ‌iPhone‌ still while the exposure time runs and your Portrait picture is taken.
  • By recruiting the help of the gyroscope in your ‌‌iPhone 12 Pro‌‌, ‌‌Night Mode‌‌ can detect when the device is attached to a tripod and will present longer exposure times than normally offered, enabling you to take more detailed shots in very low light.

    • You can use Portrait mode on your iPhone to take high-quality photos, as long your iPhone has at least two camera lenses built in.
    • Portrait mode simulates the shallow depth of field in high-quality portraits taken with an SLR camera.
    • When you turn on Portrait mode in the Camera app, be sure the lighting mode turns yellow before you snap the photo.
    • You can change the photo’s depth of field after the photo is taken using the Portrait mode controls in the Photos app.

    When the iPhone’s Portrait mode debuted on the iPhone 7 Plus, it was the first smartphone to mimic the effect of taking a portrait with shallow depth of field, like you can with a professional SLR camera.

    Now, many iPhone models let you take portraits with this feature. Your iPhone needs at least two camera lenses since it’s taking two separate photos (one of the subject and another of the background) and combining them using artificial intelligence.

    Which iPhones can use Portrait mode

    • iPhone 7 Plus
    • iPhone 8 Plus
    • iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
    • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
    • iPhone SE (2nd generation, 2020)

    If you have an iPhone X or later, you can also use Portrait mode to take a selfie.

    How to use Portrait mode on iPhone

    1. Start the Camera app and then tap or swipe in the menu at the bottom of the screen to choose “Portrait.”

    2. Wait until the lighting mode turns yellow to indicate it’s ready for you to take the shot. The default lighting mode is Natural Light, though you can swipe through the other options. No matter which one you choose, wait for it to turn yellow.

    3. If you have an iPhone X or later, you can switch to the front camera to take a selfie.

    4. Tap the circular Shutter button to take the picture. If you don’t have enough light, or there isn’t enough contrast between the subject and background, the Camera app might display a message at the top of the screen with advice on how to change your composition.

    How to adjust the depth of field in a Portrait photo

    The magic ingredient in a Portrait mode photo is the ability to have an out-of-focus background with a razor-sharp subject. With an SLR camera, you’d get this effect by using an aperture with a small f-number, like f2 or f4. The iPhone lets you adjust the aperture after the fact.

    1. Start the Photos app and find the Portrait mode photo you want to edit.

    2. Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen.

    3. At the top left of the screen you should see the f-number associated with the photo. Tap it.

    4. At the bottom of the photo, you should see a slider with all the available f-numbers for the photo. Swipe to the left or right and watch how the background changes. Smaller f-numbers will make the background blurrier, while larger numbers make it sharper.

    5. When you’re satisfied, tap “Done.” You can return to this screen and change the depth of field at any time.

    How to turn off Portrait mode in a photo

    1. Start the Photos app and find the Portrait mode photo you want to edit.

    2. Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen.

    3. At the top of the screen you should see the label “Portrait.” To turn off Portrait mode, tap it, and it will turn into white text on a black background. To turn Portrait mode for this photo back on, tap again and it should turn yellow.

    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

    Portrait Camera mode is a nice feature available to some of the newer iPhone models. As the name implies, it’s ideally suited for taking portraits of people, animals, or objects, and it uses a digital blur to create a depth effect on captured images.

    Portrait Camera mode can be used on select new iPhone models, including iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, and presumably other future similar iphones, as long as they also have modern versions of iOS software. In case you were wondering, the iPhone Plus or X is required because it includes the dual camera lens, and it’s the secondary zoom lens camera that is being activated for Portrait mode shots.

    Portrait mode is fun, and fairly easy to use once you learn how it works, it’s available as a camera app option like many of the other handy iPhone camera features, including panorama, slow-motion, and time-lapse. Let’s discuss how this feature works…

    How to Use Portrait Camera on iPhone

    1. Open Camera app as usual

    Swipe on the camera mode options until you access “Portrait”

    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

    Snap portrait images as usual, the onscreen messages will inform you of when a Portrait shot is ready to be taken when it turns yellow

    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

    Once Portrait Camera is active you’re ready to take pictures with the effect, but do pay attention to the onscreen messages to improve the picture quality and the likelihood it will turn out expected. When “Portrait” or “Depth Effect” is highlighted in yellow then portrait mode is active and ready to go with the subject, so tap on the camera button as usual to take the picture. The message on screen will also inform you if the image is not ready for portrait mode, in which case you should move the camera or the subject.

    The animated gif image below shows an example of the portrait mode effect on a tree branch with snow on it, the blur effect version has portrait mode whereas the regular version is just a normal camera picture:

    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

    Generally speaking you will want to be close to the subject you are snapping a picture of with portrait mode, but let the iPhone camera app guide you with the little yellow indicator on screen.

    Portrait mode tends to work best with clearly defined objects, faces, people, animals, and not so well with abstract objects or anything with complex edges. Even some haircuts and hair types struggle, for example curly hair or wind-swept hair tends to blur our in Portrait Mode photos of people.

    The image below shows portrait mode working reasonably well on a MacBook Pro laptop, blurring out the portions of the laptop that are not in focus:

    How to use the iphone’s portrait mode

    Just experiment with the feature and you’ll quickly learn what works well and what doesn’t.

    You will find both the Portrait mode photo (labeled as “Portrait” or “Depth Effect”) and the regular mode photo side-by-side in the general Photos album of the iPhone. There’s also a dedicated “Portrait” or “Depth Effect” album in the Photos app, how they are labeled depends on the version of iOS system software.

    Portrait mode is being aggressively marketed in ongoing ad campaigns by Apple, and is actively being worked on, so it’s certain the feature will continue to improve as time goes on. Perhaps in the future we’ll get even more Camera app software features or manual focusing abilities to fine tune the Portrait camera on iPhone, but for now it’s as simple as point and shoot. And of course the iPhone X also has portrait lighting effects available in the camera mode too, which use software to blend out the background or adjust lighting on screen.

    When the iPhone’s Portrait mode debuted on the iPhone 7 Plus, it was the first smartphone to mimic the effect of taking a portrait with shallow depth of field, like you can with a professional SLR camera.

    Now, many iPhone models let you take portraits with this feature. Your iPhone needs at least two camera lenses since it’s taking two separate photos (one of the subject and another of the background) and combining them using artificial intelligence.

    Which iPhones can use Portrait mode

    You can find Portrait mode in the Camera app on many iPhones. Here is the list of compatible devices right now:

    • iPhone 7 Plus
    • iPhone 8 Plus
    • iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
    • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
    • iPhone SE (2nd generation, 2020)

    If you have an iPhone X or later, you can also use Portrait mode to take a selfie.

    How to use Portrait mode on iPhone

    1. Start the Camera app and then tap or swipe in the menu at the bottom of the screen to choose “Portrait.”

    2. Wait until the lighting mode turns yellow to indicate it’s ready for you to take the shot. The default lighting mode is Natural Light, though you can swipe through the other options. No matter which one you choose, wait for it to turn yellow.

    3. If you have an iPhone X or later, you can switch to the front camera to take a selfie.

    4. Tap the circular Shutter button to take the picture.

    If you don’t have enough light, or there isn’t enough contrast between the subject and background, the Camera app might display a message at the top of the screen with advice on how to change your composition.

    How to adjust the depth of field in a Portrait photo

    The magic ingredient in a Portrait mode photo is the ability to have an out-of-focus background with a razor-sharp subject. With an SLR camera, you’d get this effect by using an aperture with a small f-number, like f2 or f4. The iPhone lets you adjust the aperture after the fact.

    1. Start the Photos app and find the Portrait mode photo you want to edit.

    2. Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen.

    3. At the top left of the screen you should see the f-number associated with the photo. Tap it.

    4. At the bottom of the photo, you should see a slider with all the available f-numbers for the photo. Swipe to the left or right and watch how the background changes. Smaller f-numbers will make the background blurrier, while larger numbers make it sharper.

    5. When you’re satisfied, tap “Done.” You can return to this screen and change the depth of field at any time.

    How to turn off Portrait mode in a photo

    It’s easy to remove the portrait effect from a photo. In fact, you can toggle it on and off at any time.

    1. Start the Photos app and find the Portrait mode photo you want to edit.

    2. Tap “Edit” in the upper right corner of the screen.

    3. At the top of the screen you should see the label “Portrait.” To turn off Portrait mode, tap it, and it will turn into white text on a black background. To turn Portrait mode for this photo back on, tap again and it should turn yellow.