Creative Tutorials,  Technical Tutorials

iPhone Photography Tutorial – ‘How To Create An Abstracted Portrait Image’

Our new mobile photography tutorial section is in full swing and we’ve received much acclaim from the mobile photography community, thanks to all. If you’ve missed our previous tutorials you can read them here.

My A Day In The Life article was recently published by Joanne and if you missed that you can read it here. I totally love iPhone photography and want to share my knowledge with you. Read this easy to follow tutorial and see if you too can create a similarly wonderful shot. A list with links to all the apps used in this tutorial is at the end of this article.


Final Image



The image above is the final image, the one that we are going to show you how to recreate.

Original Image



I took the picture with the iPhone 4S’s native camera. I’ll sometimes use other apps to shoot but often forget and find that the native camera is very good, especially for a shot like this.




Open picture in Decim8. Decim8 is a very random program that can be hard to get used to. There is a “rand” button if you’d like to experiment with different effects. I use it so often that I generally pick which effect I’ll use based on the result I want to achieve. I used the Precog setting and hit the “Process” button, which generated a series of strange images ☺ until I got one I thought I could work with.




Open the image in Symmetry. This one will create a Siamese Twin effect. There is a circuitous arrow button. Click this one and random variations of symmetry will be produced. I chose the image above.




Open the image in Snapseed and crop square, using the button to constrain dimensions 1:1

Vintage Filter



I used the Vintage filter in Snapseed to add some texture and age . I increased the saturation, image strength, and center size by swiping up and down on the image and then swiping sideways to increase each feature individually.




I wanted some blur in the image so In Snapseed, clicked on Center Focus. I Moved the focus area to the left of the image and increase blur to 100%, making the focus on the right eye.




Snapseed Grunge. There are some beautiful textures in Snapseed, though I find some of them too dark. I increased the center size by a bit and I used the random feature (double arrow keys) until I found one that was pleasing to my eye.

Final Image



Here is that awesome final image again, quite an improvement from the original 😉

Links To All Apps Used In This Article

Jennifer Bracewell is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, she is a mother, an artist, a photographer, an iPhoneographer, and music lover. Much of Jennifer’s work is an exploration of self and image: the manipulation of self-portraits to bring out elements of humor, angst and beauty. Jennifer’s other works are an eclectic mix of country shots, animals, and captures of ephemeral moments in everyday life. Her images have been featured and displayed at Pixels at an Exhibition where she was featured artist for July, 2011 as well as other sites like Mashable , featured artist on iPhoneogenic in September, 2011, and major iPhoneographic blogs. Her work was recently featured in an article about iPhoneography in the Sydney Morning Herald. her work has been exhibited at the Adobe Shop in San Francisco, the Giorgi Gallery in Berkeley (September 22 – October 30, 2011), ArtsEye Gallery in Tucson in October-November 2011 and was featured at the Stephane Vereecken Gallery in Belgium in November, 2011 through January, 2012, a solo show with another scheduled for July, 2012, and at the SoHo Digital Art Gallery in New York City in December of 2011. Jennifer’s work was included in the iPhoneography Miami 2012 show in January, 2012. Five of Jennifer’s images were selected for display at Miami’s cutting-edge Lunchbox Gallery in their “iPhoneography: Updated Visual Dialogs” show, hanging from March 8 to April 7, 2012. Jennifer also has pieces in gallery shows this April at Orange County Center for Contemporary Arts and a three-month show this spring in San Francisco at the prestigious ArtHaus gallery, and these were recently featured in the San Francisco Examiner and the local CBS News 7.