The key to taking a great portrait is not the face itself but what’s behind the face. When you are making a portrait of somebody, you are trying to take a picture of their insides, to coax their soul to the surface so that you can capture it on your smartphone. The reality, however, is that taking a sincere picture is easier said than done. The instant the camera comes out, so do practiced smiles, silly expressions, and kissy faces, none of which are the makings of a great portrait. Catching some one in a genuine moment is a real skill.

Comfort First

Its important that whoever the subject is be comfortable. Disingenuous grimaces and tight-lipped smiles usually mean that some one has their guard up. Find somewhere where there aren’t too many people, and make sure that the people that are there are only close friends and family. The person you are photographing should feel like they are with people who know them well so that they don’t have to waste time with politeness or worry about impressing anybody. They should feel free to just be.

Setting

Find a place where the person you are photographing feels completely in their element. Whether it is at home, work, in nature, or at their favorite local pub, they should feel a strong sense of belonging to their surroundings.

Desensitize Your Subject To Your Camera

Keep your mobile phone in your hand and trigger ready so that your camera becomes a natural part of your environment. Nothing is worse then when you take out your phone for a picture and people stop talking, brush their hair back, or adjust their clothes. Don’t take a lot of pictures at once, your subject is not a model they are a person. Pace yourself and take a lot of pictures at regular intervals. Try and be as unassuming as possible. After a while they will get used to the camera. Once your subject starts to ignore the camera, you start to take great portraits.

Get Them Talking

Get your subject talking about something they are interested. This is usually your best chance to animate your subject and get them to express themselves. It is also useful for keeping them distracted from the camera in your hands.

Dim Your Mobile Screen to Save Power

Every moment is a potential opportunity for a portrait, and you don’t want to miss your golden shot fiddling with your smart phone. Dim the screen so that you can stay in camera mode without wasting too much battery life.

Effects

You can access various effects by going to the effect section and selecting Fx. Scroll through the slider on the bottom to try on different options until you find the one that works best for your picture. Then press the check mark at the top right corner of your screen to apply it.

There are a number of effects that work brilliantly with portraiture, but an old favorite is black and white. Black and white helps to embolden your subject’s features and makes the lighting really pop. Some effects give you the additional option of adjusting certain aspects of your photo with various sliders. For instance the B&W HDR effect is a black and white option that allows you to experiment with your image’s sharpness. Cross Process lets you individually adjust the levels of green, red, or blue to perfect the coloring of your portrait. You can also experiment with effects like Twilight or Vintage to add additional atmosphere to your portraits by creating an aged feel or introducing a gloomy hew around the edges of your frame.