How To Capture Portraits With Your Cell Phone


So it’s summertime, and the livin’ is easy. We’re all about the outdoors, barbeques, boating, and sports.  We want to enjoy our friends and activities without lugging around a camera. We want quick. We want easy. Hey wait…we have our cell phones! Yup…and as long as we realize we can only take good snaps, we’re good to go.

Okey-dokey. Here are a few quick “rules” to follow that are almost too easy. All it takes is looking at your subjects to evaluate the background and working with your flash.  Of course these rules work with a real camera too, but hey, we’re after fun in the sun with our friends.


So we’re on a boat and we want to take some snaps. Hmmm. Too much going on behind the subjects. We need to focus on the people, not the boat structure.

Let’s move ’em.


Much better.

Now for the Captain. Hey wait…we can’t move the captain.


Well ok, but we can change the angle of view a bit and add some flash because the hard top overhead is cutting out a lot of the light on his face.


Speaking of light, let’s play, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

Uh-oh. One of the subjects is half in the sun and half in the shade. Plus the last time I looked, she didn’t have a vertical stripe on her face.


Time to move the subjects. Even in a small space, we can do this!


Wow. Nice!

See? Easy peasy.

Try using these two simple techniques to improve your snaps with your cell.

To review, change the background…even a small change can make a big difference…and set the flash to fire when your subject is in shadow light. In the case of the shadows on your subject, the camera “thinks” there is plenty of light because it is averaging all the light coming into the sensor. It can’t discriminate between the subject and the surroundings, so you must do the discriminating.

Good shooting.


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