Pro Tips To Create Gorgeous Portraits At Home With Your Smartphone

By Pinhole Press /

Gina Marie Ortiz is an award-winning lifestyle portrait photographer. Her specialty is capturing organic family moments you can treasure forever.

We’re honored to have Gina share her portrait tips with us!

Gina shares these tips not only from professional experience, but also as a parent herself. She truly gets the struggle of herding squirmy toddlers or working around the nap schedule of a newborn for that unicorn photo.

Here are Gina’s 10 easy steps to gorgeous portraits with your smartphone. No pen? No problem. We got you covered with a list below.

10 Tips for Print-Worthy Portraits

  1. Coordinate doesn’t mean match: Your outfits should complement each other, but twinning is not winning for these portraits.
  2. Step away from your background: Literally. Take a few steps away from the background to create depth and better highlight the people in your photo.
  3. Like salad dressing, Light is best served on the side! Indirect lighting helps prevent weird shadows or dark spots in your portraits.
  4. Picture time is not TV time: Keep the focus towards your smartphone by turning off the televisions. The TVs are very distracting for little ones.
  5. Bribes, err, we mean rewards are your friend: It’s totally ok, in fact, encouraged to offer your kid their favorite snack in exchange for a shiny smile.
  6. Food & sleep are key: Full stomachs and a good night’s sleep can make a huge difference when trying to get photos of your kids
  7. Set realistic expectations: Don’t try to compare your portraits to anyone else’s (stop scrolling Pinterest!). Enjoy capturing your perfectly imperfect moments.
  8. Use your smartphone timer: You can get great group portraits with your phone, just use the timer feature.
  9. Pause and zoom in for focus: Go back on a few photos and zoom in to check your focus. You want those smiles to look bright and sharp later when you enlarge your portraits.
  10. Don’t over edit. Resist the urge to use filters!

Bonus Tip #11: Record a high resolution video on your smartphone, and grab a screenshot of your favorite moment. Or a few! Ta-daaa…no need for filters!

Gina Ortiz

Focus on that imperfect, chaotic, this-is-the-time-of-our-lives sort of photo.

Gina Ortiz

@ginasphotos320 |

Gina is an award-winning photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, milestone & family photography. She brings an organic & minimalist feel to baby-led and natural poses. Gina also runs a blog called Let’s Grow & Learn where she shares well curated content for parents and the occasional photography tip.

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