I won’t just give you a list of iPhones with portrait mode because if you are looking for one, it only makes sense that you know how it works and how to use it well.
I will start with the list, then explain what portrait mode is and how it works, and finally how to take amazing portrait pictures with your iPhone.
iPhones with Portrait Mode
- iPhone 7 Plus – Rear Camera Only
- iPhone 8 Plus – Rear Camera Only
- iPhone X
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2022)
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14
What is Portrait Mode and How Does it Work?
Portrait Mode is a feature that puts a subject in focus and blurs the background or everything else surrounding the subject. This blur is called a shallow depth of field.
Bokeh is the quality of the background blur and a high-quality blur depends on the quality of the lens and camera system.
Professional photographers have been using this feature for years with DSLR cameras but it was hard to replicate on mobile photography because of their small lens until Apple did in 2016.
iPhone 7 Plus was the first smartphone to have portrait mode. It wasn’t that great at first but thanks to constant tweaking and improvements over the years, it has gotten better.
When you a picture with your iPhone using portrait mode, it uses depth-sensing or edge detection to determine what the foreground and the background are. It then put the foreground in focus and makes it sharp and blurs out what is in the background.
The farther away from the subject the background is, the more blurry it gets. What I mean is that things that are closer to subjects are less blurry than those at a distance.
This feature works best when the subject is between 2 feet and 8 feet (0.5 meters and 2.5 meters) away from the camera. Don’t worry, you will be able to see on the camera app if you are too close or too far away from the camera.
Different manufacturers use a similar approach but implemented it differently. iPhones, Galaxy Phones, and Google Pixel are leading the packs when it comes to portrait photography.
How to Take a Good Portrait Picture on an iPhone (6 Steps)
- Open the camera app and tap on or swipe to Portrait
- Make sure you are not too far away or too close to the camera. The camera app will let you know if you are within range for a portrait which is usually between 2 feet and 8 feet
- A yellow rectangular-like frame appears on the screen. Make sure your subject is in that frame because that is what the iPhone will consider the foreground or the subject
- Select a portrait lighting that works for you or best describes the art you are trying to create. The default lighting is “Natural Light” but you can always change this even after the photo has been taken
- Choose the depth of field which simply means how blurry you want the background to be. You can also change this after the photo has been taken. To do this, tap on the aperture icon (small f in a circle) at the top right corner of the camera app and increase or decrease it.
- Finally, take the photo using the shutter button
How to Edit a Portrait Photo on an iPhone
Once the photo has been taken, you can edit it to your preference. You can remove and add a portrait, you can decrease or increase the blur (depth), and you can change the lighting.
All you have to do is select the photo you want and tap on edit. Then use the lighting and aperture (depth control) icons at the top left corner of the app to change them and also use the portrait button at the top middle to remove and add the portrait.
While iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus come with portrait mode, it was not supported by the regular iPhone 7 and 8. Also, this feature only works on the rear camera of the iPhone 7 Plus and 8 Plus.
All iPhones since then except for the iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation) can take portrait pictures with both the front and rear camera.
The steps I shared above on how to take a good portrait picture are the same for both the front and rear cameras. However, while you can zoom on the rear camera, you can’t on the front camera.
That’s all on iPhones with portrait mode. I hope you find it useful and informative.