The Way I Shoot: Alvaro Arregui

By Stephanie - 7 min read

The way I shoot is a series where photographers share their secrets. Today Alvaro Arregui shows us how take great portraits with your iPhone.

The way I shoot is a series where photographers share their secrets. Today Alvaro Arregui shows us how take great portraits with your iPhone.

Do you think that taking a great portrait needs a huge DSLR and a professional photo studio? Well, think again! In this tutorial Alvaro Arreguishows us how to shoot and edit a stunning portrait with no more than your iPhone, a light source and a few powerful apps. Follow these 8 steps and your photo will be on the cover of Vogue in no time!

Step 1: Shopping List
Step 02: Take the picture
Step 03: Enhance the picture
Step 04: Combine the 2 enhanced pictures
Step 05: Sharpening & Saturation
Step 06: Smooth Skin
Step 07: Vignette
Step 08: Noise

Step 1: Shopping List

Here is the list of things you might need to take amazing Street Portraits:

1 Mobile Phone – in this tutorial we are using an iPhone because of the apps used are designed for iOS.

1 Stylus (buy from £4) – the Stylus will make your life easier, allowing to retouch in detail over the screen.

1 Ring light (buy from £20) – this ring provides continuous source of light and a resulting effects similar to a professional ring flash, commonly used for fashion photography or magazine covers such Esquire.The light is really small and handy, which means you can bring it anywhere and take amazing portraits in the street.

Apps required: Camera + , Juxtaposer & Filterstorm.

Step 02: Take the picture

Taking Street Portraits using this ring flash will give an amazing effect to your pictures.
You can use any app to take the picture but I recommend the original Camera app installed by default on every iPhone.Because the ring light source is not very powerful, try to take the pictures in low light conditions or at night if you are in the street.

When taking the picture, try to tap to focus over the face, by doing so the camera app will adjust automatically not only the focus but also the light so you’ll get the best image quality and the perfect range of light, otherwise you can burn the face and you’ll lose tons of detail.

OK, now you have the picture, let’s start with the editing (-_^)

Step 03: Enhance the picture

First thing to do is try to enhance the look of the picture without losing too much detail:

  • OpenCamera +& save the image 2 times using 2 different effects, one at a time.

  • Open the original image with Camera+, apply “Flash” effect (located under “Scenes” button) and save.This will increase the amount of light on the picture.

  • Open the original image with Camera+(not the one with flash effect applied) , use now “Clarity”effect(located under “Scenes” button)and save.This will increase the detail of the picture providing some HDR effect.

  • Now you have 3 different images: The original, the one with Flash effect and a third one with Clarity effect applied

    Step 04: Combine the 2 enhanced pictures

    Now we combine thetwo resulting images to use the best of both.LaunchJuxtaposerand follow these simple steps:

  • Load the “Flash”effect resulting image. The image will be in the background
  • Load now the “Clarity”effect resulting image. This image will be placed in the foreground
  • Place the image on top correctly with the one below
  • Now UseEraseto eliminate the face and background from the top image (“Clarity effect” one), so we’ll just keep the hair and clothes from the top image.

    When done, the resulting image willkeep the extreme detail of the “Clarity”image with the softness of the “Flash”one.Now save the file to the photo library.

    Check the differences betweenthe original image on the left with theresulting one to the right .

    Now…let’s go further (-_^)

    Step 05: Sharpening & Saturation

    Open the combined image onFilterstorm.We add some sharpening to focus the image a little bit more:

  • add between 10% and14% of “sharpening” to the entire picture.

  • Use “Hue/Saturation” change a bit the white balance, and provide the face with a warmer color to get rid of that pallid skin tone.

  • Step 06: Smooth Skin

    This is one of the most used effects applied trough all the pictures on every fashion magazine out there. Probably the most envy effect by women : P

    With a couple of simple steps your portrait will reborn with a perfect skin (-_^)

    We are working on Filterstorm app, now start selecting the “Blur” effect:

  • Add level of blur (this will vary depending on your picture, but around 20% should be enough)
  • Select now the brush and paint over the face to mask the area where to apply the “blur” effect
  • Tip: Avoid to use the “blur” effect around the edges of the nose, mouth & eyes

    When done, tap on “√” and you’ll see the results.

    As you can see in the image above, it is too obvious that you retouched the picture, does not look natural yet.

  • Use “Erase”(eraser) andset its opacity around 20%, rub around the edges of the area where you applied the blurand you’ll end up with a more realistic effect .
  • Now check the difference in the image below.

    Step 07: Vignette

    Lets make the face stands out of the picture by applying some vignette.

    So choose Vignette from the list of effects and play with the options to end up with something similar to the picture above.

    Step 08: Noise

    The last step is to add a bit of noise to make the retouched areas look more real. Set the colour noise to 0% and use around a 10% of Grey noise.
    Once all of the steps are done, save the file, it will take a bit to render all the effects, be patient (-_^)

    Final product:

    You should now have this three images in your photo library

    the original (on the left)
    the one resulting usingJuxtaposer
    the one resulting usingFilterstorm

    Cool, huh?

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