Use Portrait mode on your iPhone

Learn how to use Portrait mode to create extraordinary images.

With a compatible iPhone,* Portrait mode uses the dual cameras to create a depth-of-field effect — letting you compose a photo that keeps your subject sharp with a blurred background.

You can also add captivating lighting effects to your image. And with the TrueDepth camera on iPhone X and later, you can even take a selfie in Portrait mode.

Before you get started, make sure you have the latest version of iOS.

* You can use Portrait mode on iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus.


taking a photo in Portrait mode on iPhone

Take photos in Portrait mode

To capture the perfect shot:

  1. Open the Camera app and swipe to Portrait mode.
  2. Follow the tips on your screen, such as moving further away. When Portrait mode is ready, the lighting effect, like 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.


adding Portrait Lighting on iPhone

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, or Stage Mono for stage light in a classic black and white.

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 that you take has the lighting effect applied.

You can also change the Portrait Lighting effect of any Portrait mode photo that you've already taken:

  1. Open the Photos app, then select the Portrait mode photo that 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.


taking a selfie in Portrait mode on iPhone

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.

Remove the Portrait mode effect

To remove the Portrait mode effect from a photo you've already taken:

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

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

Learn more

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