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IPhone Photography - Fun Effects in Portrait Mode

As a little bit of an obbsessive photography buff, I get super excited anytime iPhone make significant enough updates to their camera functions. So, of course, I had to have the iPhone 8 Plus when it came out with the portrait mode option, and I also upgrade to the iPhone 10s the minute the dual camera lens was available in the smaller phone option (I have tiny, child-size hands).

Now I do also have a Nikon D3300 that has been with me through just about everything, and I when I have time I set up properly and shoot with the “real deal”. But my iPhone is always with me, unlike the large DSLR, so it tends to be at the forefront when taking pics. (I actually shot my entire trip at Yosemite hiking the Half Dome trail with my iPhone 10s - and I think it did an amazing job. See the post on Yosemite iPhone photography here.)

That being said, I have found some fun side effects of the portrait mode camera that have created some pretty interesting images by reading and blurring the wrong area of the photo. Direct sunlight and fur are typically the most difficult to register, and although I often get results I’m not happy with when playing in portrait mode, I also sometimes get some cool effect by playing with sun ray. 

IPhone Photography sun ray effect

As you can see above, I was shooting some fun pictures of our Boxer-mix dog Perkins during a late afternoon car ride, and I was catching the sun rays from directly behind here. I knew that Portrait mode would like have a harder time with it, so I was repositioning my shot frequently to see what different effect I may achieve with the direct beam of sunlight. When i snapped this shot, it registered before the phone had a chance to refocus the image and apply the depth of field to Perkin’s entire face, so I was able to get a cool half focus shot with just her ear and part of her nose highlighted and outlined. I love the nostalgic and ghostly feel that creates in this image. I was also able to get some cute shots without the half blur.

Dog in car with sunlight iPhone Photography

As always, enjoy your own adventures, and please share if you get any of your own unique shots while out and about!

-Melissa and Perkins


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