How to Take Bet­ter Por­traits With Your Android Phone

William Elcock

Portraits have an appeal that sets them apart from other art forms. There is also a certain amount of mystery that surrounds them.


Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of portraits is the feeling that we are intruding on a private moment. In ancient times, portraits were mainly done using photographs and were quite intimate. These days, however, it's much more common to have a portrait done with a photo. While this may seem not as intimate, there are various techniques that can be used in order to create this effect. A good portrait photographer's photos really stand out.

Aamirraimer Standout Portrait
Standout Portrait

While portraits are typically thought of as something that can only be done well by a professional photographer, it's also possible for you to take awesome portraits from your Android phone, with some help of course.

If you're interested in tips on how to level up your portrait game then look no further. Here are some tips on how you to take great portraits on your Android phone.

1. Add a Bokeh Effect

Bokeh Portrait Example 1

The Bokeh effect refers to the blurring of a photo's background while keeping the subject in focus. It creates quite a striking contrast between foreground and background and makes for truly beautiful photos.

It can be used for portraits and, if done right, can be quite captivating. The iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X have a feature which is called Portrait mode which lets users achieve the Bokeh effect with portraits relatively easily.

I Phone 7 Plus With Dual Camera

This system makes use of the dual cameras that these phones possess. If you have an Android phone with a single lens however, you aren't out of luck and can achieve a similar effect.

The Lens Blur option which is available with the Google Camera app can create this effect.If your phone does not use the Google Camera app by default, download it, select the lens blur option and follow the onscreen instructions to use the effect while taking a photo.

Google Camera Lens Blur Option Select 1

After selecting the Lens Blur option, the app will guide you through the steps to take the photo effectively.

Google Camera Lens Blur Instructions

Beloow is the end result of me taking a snap of my water bottle with and without Lens Blur.

Google Camera Bokeh Boefore After
Google advises that the closer you are the better when taking a bokeh portrait.

2. Add Portrait Lighting

Another iPhone feature worthy of copying is the portrait lighting feature available on the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

Portrait lighting lets you give your photos impressive studio quality lighting effects. These include the brightening of facial features, dramatic directional lighting, stage lighting and a feature which allows for making your photos black and white with stage lighting.

With Google Snapseed, you can make photos black and white by using the corresponding option under the Tools section of the app.

Snapseed Tools1

The photo's lighting can also be tweaked by using the Exposure and Dodge and burn brushes from under Snapseed's Tools section.

Snapseed Exposure And Dash And Burn

See below to get an idea of how the Exposure and Dodge and burn brushes change your photo.

Snapseed Brush Collage

3. Take a Series of Shots With Burst Mode

Taking a series of shots with burst mode and then stitching them together into a collage can be an exciting way to add flavor to your portraits.

Burst Mode Portait
Studio Portrait | Amateur Photographer

This technique is especially useful for taking photos of children who are naturally full of energy. It takes advantage of this and can produce beautiful results

Many Android phones come with a camera and camera app which are capable of burst mode. Usually this works by simply holding down the capture button to begin taking the series of photos and releasing it when the desired photos are captured.

Final Thoughts

Portraits offer a way to take alluring photos of your subject. There are several techniques that are commonly used by professional photographers when taking portraits and the above tips let you mimic some of those techniques.

Sometimes we tend to think that we might not be able to achieve similar results. This is true in some cases but with the tools available on our Android phones these days, we can come close to professional results if we use them correctly.

Whether it's using the Google Lens blur to get that perfect Bokeh, adding some portrait lighting with Snapseed or taking a series of photographs and fusing them into one with burst mode shooting, you can take awesome portraits too.

The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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William has been helping friends troubleshoot tech problems for several years and thus made the natural progression into tech blogging. In addition to consumer electronics William also has a vested interest in various renewable energy topics.