Smartphone Photography Tip of the Week -- Using Lenses #3

The lens examples in my previous two posts were of landscapes and architecture. In today's post I write about which lenses are good for pictures of people.

Carin in the Forest
Missoula, Montana

I made the pictures at the top of this post specifically to show what happens to your human subject when you photograph her with different lenses. I wanted a head and shoulders portrait of Carin, so I started with the phone's standard 1x lens and made the middle picture. This is okay but not great.

Then I switched to the ultra-wide 0.6x lens. I had to walk much closer to Carin to have just her head and shoulders in the shot. In the left image you can see how the lens has distorted her face and chest compared to the 1x lens. This is definitely not flattering!

I changed to the telephoto 3x lens for the photo on the right (and also switched to Portrait mode which blurred the background). I had to back up to include all of Carin's head and shoulders in this third photo. There is no distortion of her face or body in this shot; it is much more flattering.

When you are photographing a single person and want a head-and-shoulders image, avoid using the ultra-wide lens. Instead stand back and use your phone's telephoto lens.

If you are photographing two people, the telephoto lens still works well as in this photo made with the 3x lens.

Horse race officials
Reenactors at Barrington Plantation
Washington, Texas

For three or more people, the standard lens works well. I used the 1x lens to photograph these musicians at a local market.

Performers at a downtown market
Missoula, Montana