With the superior and ever-evolving camera technology put into smartphones every year, it’s easy for the average person to take gorgeous photos right from the palm-fitting mobile device. It’s true our smartphones now allow us to show the world photos of ordinary food in a vivid, glamorous fashion, but that doesn’t mean everyone can now market themselves a professional photographer. A recent example of the superior camera technology in smartphones includes the recent release of the iPhone 7 Plus, with a never-before-seen “Portrait Mode.”

With a dual lens setup that places a 12-megapixel telephoto lens next to the main 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, the temptation to go out and get an iPhone 7 (even though you probably only just upgraded to the 6) is hard to ignore. For those out there unfamiliar with camera and photography specs (part of my leading point here), the new portrait mode feature means that you can use the wide-angle lens to focus on the subject of the photo and then use the data captured by the telephoto lens to blur the background of that same image, giving you a similar effect to a photo captured by a DSLR camera.

So, with this special new feature and easily-accessible iPhone 7 Plus, you can totally become a professional photographer now, right? Nope. Think again. There’s a lot more involved in the science and art of photography. Here’s why you won’t achieve that special look without photography equipment and a professional photographer, who will help make you look your best during your session.  

Proper Lighting Equipment

To achieve great portraits, you must always have the right lighting and no, we don’t mean natural daylight and we don’t mean you need to spin around in the bathroom to find which spot the light will hit your face in the right way. With an iPhone 7 Plus, you’re basically gambling with the lighting conditions you have in the moment. Lighting in natural environments rarely stays the same for long periods of time. You might find the right lighting, but by the time you get the pose and posture down, the lighting will likely have changed. Not to mention, you need essential pieces of equipment to really illuminate the right spots in your photo.

An essential item professional photographers use is a light meter. These provide you with digital readouts of what the lighting conditions are, and they’re always reliable. Even older lighting meters can work well and give you good results.

Don’t forget about speed lights either, equipment a professional photographer should have. Even if you only use these occasionally, they can help immensely when you realize the light is too dark during an important portrait photo session. In-studio portraits require special lighting for a real professional look. Many suggest incandescent lighting as a practical option to avoid relying strictly on natural light.

Reflectors are going to help prevent harsh shadows as well for either outdoor or indoor portraits. When you work with a professional photographer in a studio, they’ll always have reflectors made of Mylar. These may be only some of the equipment pieces many professional photographers use on a daily basis and ultimately, really are essential to capturing that perfect professional photograph.

Using Tripods to Keep the Camera Steady

One of the major drawbacks of using an iPhone 7 for portraits is you have to hold the camera in your hands. Sure, you may be able to nail a great selfie every once in a while, but when it comes to professional photos, it’s probably best you don’t even take the chance of blurring your best one. If you’re not used to holding these steady enough, you could have some blur in the final image. A tripod is essential for truly professional portraits, particularly if you’re taking portraits indoors and want the highest quality. All professional portrait photographers use one, including lightweight ones if working in rugged outdoor conditions.

The Proper Lenses

To achieve great photography results, it’s imperative to choose the right camera lens. Prime lenses have a wider maximum aperture for a shallow depth-of-field. With a lens like this, you don’t have to depend on an automatic setting as you do on the iPhone 7.

Let’s be honest. Lenses aren’t cheap. Unless you’re willing to shell out major cash for one that’ll fit on your iPhone and can give you the same stunning results you can achieve from a professional photographer, it’s best to visit a professional studio for this. Besides, a professional photographer will know exactly which ones they need to use to achieve perfectly polished professional photos. Say that five times fast!

So you won’t achieve the look only a professional photographer can give. Why is the iPhone 7 Plus Portrait Mode so special, then?

As many reviewers note, one of the standout features in the iPhone 7 portrait mode is the ability to create clear up-close photography of faces. It mimics the large apertures in professional cameras to blur out the background and hone in on facial details.

Even so, these reviews all give a caveat: Portrait mode works well in certain lighting conditions.

This is a red flag for you in how lighting is so important in providing truly outstanding portraits. Some good examples come in a Mashable review of the iPhone 7, pointing out using the depth effect feature. When the lighting isn’t quite right, it can blur out some features of a face, including in animal portraiture.

At the end of the day, we’re all for you going out and buying an iPhone 7 Plus and use the Portrait Mode feature in your regular activities. We all know this means experimenting with Portrait Mode and filling up the camera roll with pictures of your dog (it’s cool, we do it, too). With stellar features and this cool technology, who wouldn’t want one? The best thing to remember is when you need professional headshots, visit the professionals. Professional photographers are here to help make you look your best and when you have your photos taken by a professional photographer at our studio, you’ll leave with a smile and photos you absolutely love. Ready to book your session? Contact us at Korey Howell Photography today!