Thankfully, learning how to use Portrait Mode on an iPhone only takes a moment — simply open up the camera and tap Portrait, which is located directly above the shutter button. Once your camera is in Portrait Mode, a wheel of lighting effects will appear.
The first effect is Natural Light, which is essentially the same as the regular Portrait Mode introduced in iOS 11. As the name implies, the effect will simply blur the background and not adjust any of the lighting.
The next effect is Studio Light, which tries to even the lighting across your subject, so it looks as though you shot the photo in a well-lit studio. Contour Light tries to even out the lighting, too, but it also adds shadows to your subject’s contours, giving their cheeks and other features a more pronounced look.
For dramatic shots, try opting for Dramatic Light. The effect offers up the same features as Contour Light, but it also blacks out everything surrounding your background. This gives you the feeling of being the only thing lit on a black box stage.
But if Dramatic Light isn’t moody enough for you, then the final Portrait Mode effect, Stage Light Mono, will probably do the trick. It’s the same as Dramatic Light, except it results in a black-and-white photo.
Once you’ve chosen your desired effect, you’ll want to position the subject in the center of the camera and far enough away for you to snap the shot. The photo will then pop up in your Photos app with the applied effect.
If you want to change the effect after you’ve taken the photo, then find your picture in the Photos app and tap Edit. You’ll then see the same choices as before, but at the bottom of the photo. Just remember that you can only change or add an effect to photos that you’ve previously shot while in Portrait Mode.
David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.