How to take good portrait photos on a mobile phone!

So, how many people actually carry a camera around?

How to take good portraits on a mobile phone, read on for helpful tips! In this day and age it’s all about wanting a photo to instantly upload straight to social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest to name a few; or to stay in communication via text, Whatsapp or email. Our mobile phones are our camera! They supply us with exactly what we want; fabulous quality images that capture our everyday life events to share instantly with the world.

I for one certainly do not carry a camera, being a professional photographer its nice to go about my everyday life not thinking about work! But I am always switched on and whip out my phone the moment I spot a photo opportunity. It’s fab to play around with the Instagram filters, again my real works leads me to the computer and adobe photoshop, so it’s really nice just to mess around with images for fun! Read on to pick up some of my professional tips on how to take a great portrait photo on a mobile phone!


How many times do we hear “wow such a beautiful sunny day, great for photos” well let me tell you here and now it certainly is NOT if you are taking a portrait photo. Direct sunlight causes havoc; subjects squint and shadows are cast all over the face. Bright but overcast days are perfect; just look at the ground around you and see how harsh the shadows are falling, if they are really prominent and strong move to a shaded area to avoid the squinty eyes and harsh shadows on the face. So if you have a bright but hazy day, not creating shadows, it’s a perfect day to get the mobile phone out and snap away.

I will post some examples in the future but its 10th March and the UK is not looking very sunny, certainly no shadows today!


OK, I previously said avoid sunny shadowy days but natural light is still far better for mobile phone photography. Without getting too technical, our mobile phones can’t cope with the white balance indoors with the cross between natural and artificial light the indoor tungsten bulbs create a ghastly yellow tinge. So, for better results place your subject near to window light and turn off the artificial lights (that’s if it is a bright enough day outside) however read on for window light tips!


Ever wondered why you take a photo of a person or a group shot inside a house with the beautiful window and scenery behind, yet to your disappointment the person/people are dark (underexposed)? In technical terms it’s called BLACK CRUSH. If you place your subject in front of an open door or window light the mobile phone will take the exposure of the bright window, therefore leaving the person to be very dark with no detail. So when you are out and about taking group photos in restaurants, pubs or anywhere inside, DO NOT have the window in the background. The window needs to be behind the person taking the photo NOT in front. Even though I said in the above paragraph head for the window, be careful how you use it! I.e. light source in front of your subject not behind it!

How to take good portrait photos on a mobile phone. Photo example

Bright light behind the subject confuses the camera exposure. people appear dark and detail is lost.


OK, if you want to shed a few pounds in a photo hold the mobile phone above eye level and yes, as if by magic the double chins disappear! But be warned don’t go too high or the wrinkles on the forehead appear and the idea is that we want it to look very subtle. We don’t want to post a pic on FB of a photo of you looking up to the ceiling, people will know what your trying to do! Results can be fabulous just by going slightly above eye level without anyone else noticing that you are trying to avoid the double chins!

BUT DO NOT go above eye level for children, it looks so wrong (obviously this is just my professional opinion and not a set in stone rule) Take a photo looking down on a toddler and the body almost looks distorted and head looks too big for the body, so bend down and shoot at eye level. Kids don’t need to shed a stone for the camera, lets show their natural beauty. Same goes for older children, don’t you just hate the selfie’s of pouting 11 year old girls taken from way above eye level making them look 18 and a size zero its just wrong.

Play around with the eye levels, see what works for you. See my eye level examples below.

How to take good portrait photos on a mobile phone. Example photo

NO! This photo taken way too high, head end’s up looking distorted from body and the wrinkles appear!

How to take great portrait photos on a mobile phone. Photo example

NO! Photos taken below eye level are seriously unflattering, no one wants to see nasal hair and double chins!


How to take great portrait photos a mobile phone. Photo example

Just about perfect, Slightly above eye level, no double chins and no strained face!


Can you spot anymore flaws in the photos? Read on!



Ok so now you have some tips on lighting and angles, before you click the photo look whats behind! From my sample selfies above in each photo I have deliberately taken with items in the background. The first shot looks like a bag growing out of my head! This is something you need to be aware of, especially when in the garden, photos can look like flowers are growing out of a shoulder! Opt for backgrounds without distracting objects behind. Yes sometimes it is the object we want in the photo, then we need to think about ‘The rule of thirds’ For the purpose of this post I will not go into the rule of thirds, far to technical! Just be aware, scan your eye before you shoot. Check collars are straight, and jumpers are flat!

How to take good portrait photos on a mobile phone. Photo example

In this photo, by removing the bag from the background there is much more focus on the face.


The reason I’ve written these few helpful tips is that I get sent hundreds of photos daily being the owner of a child model and talent agency I get sent hundreds of photos daily. I often reply back giving helpful advice on how parents can get better photos of their children.  Lacara is a free to join agency, parents are allowed to submit their own cute photos of their children, expensive portfolios are not required. But parents please be aware, when submitting your application to Lacara child model and talent agency please ensure you are submitting clear photos and take on board some of the helpful tips from above and also follow the list of Do’s and Don’ts below, this may seem a lot to ask, it may seem we are being too fussy, but is important that your child gets the best possible photos for the media industry to view.

Lacara child model agency photo guidelines

  • Attach the best close up photo first on your application form
  • A close up photo means from chest /shoulder level up
  • No hats or props as clients need to view hair
  • Photos must be eye level
  • Keep camera angles upright and straight
  • Colour photos only
  • Eyes open (no sleeping babies, as cute as they are!)
  • Eyes looking at camera
  • No dummies or thumbs in mouth
  • Clean face, (no food!)
  • No red eye photos accepted
  • Photos taken of another photo or a computer screen are not accepted, due to quality
  • No heavy makeup
  • No fancy dress
  • Keep hair away from eyes and face
  • Keep hands away from face

Now you have taken amazing photos on your phone head over to our apply page for your child to become a model!

With deep regret if the photo guidelines are not adhered to we will reject your application and ask you to reapply. Lacara is a free to join child model and talent agency.

Due to high demand, Lacara do offer a ‘mini model portfolio’. This is not a requirement of the agency, just a great opportunity for all aspiring models to gain experience from the photoshot and meet the Lacara team. AND,  you also receive  a cd of edited images for only £80. Due to this amazing price we can  only offer this to children that are accepted onto our agency. Take a look at our portfolio page for more info

Thanks for reading my helpful tips on how to take a great portrait photo on your mobile phone and I hope it helps you to take better photos in the future!