I've got an iPhone 5s with Camera + app. Even though it's aperture is fixed 2.2 I'm unable to take nice sharp portraits ( subject sharp and background blurred). I think this is due to the small sensor (?). I wonder what would be the best option available to take photos like below? I don't mind to use an extra accessory.

enter image description here

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Phone cameras are not made for ultra-thin depth of field, and yes, the sensor is the culprit. To compensate, you can either focus far in front of the subject (and use sort-of hyperfocal distance) and/or you need to get very close to the subject (if the photo above is from an iPhone, I'd guess that it was made this way). \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Jan 18, 2018 at 15:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ As others have noted, it's not really possible to get super bokeh on a phone camera. But, you did get me thinking and I posted this question to learn more: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/96006/… \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Jan 18, 2018 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Issue relates to how the Bokeh is done on the iphone, this is done after the image is taken and cause some issues because it's done post. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthew
    Jan 19, 2018 at 12:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ At a glance, this photo looks like the bokeh/blur is probably fake: the spot where the foreground leaf occludes the background leaf (3/4ths the way right, up near the top) — or is it the other way around? — the weird white artifact in the upper right corner, the inconsistent bokeh ball shapes, the crazy number of superimposed bokeh balls in the upper left, and a foreground that looks like it has greater depth of field than makes sense with the leaves right behind them being so out of focus. But I can't be 100% certain. Either way, the best accessory for this would be a large-sensor camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – dgatwood
    Jan 20, 2018 at 6:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and bokeh balls in the middle of dark areas, where they don't make sense at all (absent dust or water on the lens). \$\endgroup\$
    – dgatwood
    Jan 20, 2018 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


The way that sensor size, lens focal length and DoF works, there's no physical way you're going to be able to blur the background in this kind of effect with a smartphone. The sensor is so small that the lens's focal length is tiny, and that guarantees a very deep depth of field. Using an add-on lens (which is all you can really do with an iPhone) is going to have a negligible effect.

The only way you're going to achieve something like this is with post-processing. You're going to have to look for an app like Big Lens that can mask off the subject and add background blur with a gradient to simulate thin DoF, or maybe use a tilt-shift effect like SynthCam's.

See: https://iphonephotographyschool.com/depth-of-field/

  • \$\begingroup\$ can I use a lens kit ? \$\endgroup\$
    – nish1013
    Jan 22, 2018 at 22:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @nish1013, I've updated the answer to clarify that I meant "no physical way" includes add-on lenses. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Jan 23, 2018 at 2:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I took this imgur.com/a/2Vld5 with my iPhone 6s and an Olloclip 10x macro lens. It works but you will get extreme zooming. The white lines are a spiderweb. It works for pictures of insects but not portraits. \$\endgroup\$
    – Belle
    Jan 26, 2018 at 10:38

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