Use Portrait mode on your iPhone

With Portrait mode, the camera creates a depth-of-field effect, which lets you capture photos with a sharp focus on the subject and a blurred background.

Before you get started, make sure that you have the latest version of iOS, and that you have an iPhone that supports Portrait mode.

Take photos in Portrait mode

  1. Open the Camera app and swipe to Portrait mode.
  2. Follow the tips on your screen. When Portrait mode is ready, the name of the lighting effect, such as Natural Light, turns yellow.
  3. Tap the Shutter button .

The Camera app lets you know when you're too close, too far away or if the area is too dark. You can also use True Tone flash, set a timer and apply filters. After you take a photo, you can use the built-in editing features to do things like crop and auto-enhance.

Some iPhone models have multiple options for Portrait mode, such as 1x or 2x. Just tap the 1x or 2x icon to switch between the options. With iPhone XR and iPhone SE (2nd generation), the rear-facing camera must detect a person's face to take a Portrait mode photo.


Add Portrait Lighting

On iPhone X and later, and iPhone 8 Plus, you can use the Portrait Lighting feature to apply studio-quality lighting effects to your Portrait mode images. Choose from Studio Light to brighten facial features, Contour Light for more dramatic directional lighting, Stage Light to isolate your subject in the spotlight, Stage Mono for stage light in a classic black and white, or High-Key Light Mono for a greyscale subject on a white background.

You can take a Portrait mode photo with a real-time preview of the lighting effect on your screen. With your Camera app in Portrait mode, swipe between the different lighting effects that appear in the bottom part of the viewfinder. The Portrait mode photo you take has the lighting effect applied.

To change the Portrait Lighting effect of a Portrait mode photo that you've already taken:

  1. Open the Photos app, then select the Portrait mode photo you want to change.
  2. Tap Edit. Lighting effects appear in the bottom part of the photo.
  3. Swipe the lighting effects to choose the one you want.
  4. Tap Done.

High-Key Light Mono is available using the front-facing and rear-facing cameras on iPhone XS and later, and using the front-facing camera on iPhone XR. The rear-facing iPhone XR camera only supports Natural Light, Studio Light and Contour Light.


Take a selfie in Portrait mode

With an iPhone X and later, you can take selfies in Portrait mode. Here's how:

  1. Open the Camera app.
  2. Swipe to Portrait mode and tap the front-facing camera button .
  3. Hold your iPhone in front of your face.
  4. Snap your selfie with one of the volume buttons.

You can also use Portrait Lighting effects on photos you take in selfie mode. You need an iPhone X or later to take a selfie in Portrait mode.


Adjust Depth Control and Portrait Lighting

After you take a photo in Portrait mode, you can adjust the level of background blur and the intensity of Portrait Lighting effects. Here's how:

  1. Tap a Portrait mode photo in your library.
  2. Tap Edit, then tap the Depth Control button  at the top of the screen to adjust Depth Control, or the Portrait Lighting button  to adjust Portrait Lighting. A slider appears below the photo.
  3. Drag the slider left or right to adjust the effect. A grey dot above the slider marks the original value for the photo.
  4. Tap Done.


Remove the Portrait mode effect

  1. Select the photo you want to change.
  2. Tap Edit.
  3. Tap Portrait at the top of your screen. 
  4. Tap Done.

If you change your mind and want to re-add the Portrait mode effect, go back to Edit and tap Portrait again.


These iPhone models support Portrait mode: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone SE (2nd generation), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus.

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