| Cult of Mac

How to make sure your iPhone fireworks photos go off with a bang

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These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
These tips will help you take better fireworks photos.
Photo: Richard Dongses/Flickr CC

Last year’s Fourth of July fireworks made you say ooh and ahh, but when you look at your iPhone photos from that night, the sound you make is more of an ugh. Want to shoot better fireworks photos this time around?

Don’t blame Siri or some engineer in Cupertino for previous photo fails. The iPhone camera, as mighty as it is, can’t do all the thinking for you — especially in challenging lighting conditions like a fireworks display. But with a little thought and preparation, you can make this holiday worth reliving on your iPhone camera roll.

Below are some simple tips to make your iPhone fireworks photos sizzle.

Useful utilities, an excellent batch photo editor and a great game [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of the Week April 10
With billions of apps in the app store, it’s always a delight when more awesome apps turn up.
Photo: Ian Fuchs & Rahul Chakraborty (via Unsplash)

Every time I think I can’t possibly discover other awesome, useful or fun new apps, I find a game or utility that makes something in my life just a little better or easier.

This week, a couple of great utilities, a way to simplify your photo editing process, and a ridiculously addictive game all managed to impress me. But surely these are the last good ones out there, right? (Want to tell me about another awesome app? Send me an email or find me on Twitter at @IanFuchs.)

MaskerAid effortlessly masks faces with emoji in your photos

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MaskerAid auto-detects faces in photos and adds emoji in their place
MaskerAid will auto-detects faces in photos and add emoji in their place
Screenshots: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

I rarely share photos of my family – and more specifically, my daughter – online. I believe that she should have the right to choose if, and when her face is shared online.

This means that I typically only share photos with her face cropped out, or I resort to clunky editing processes to obscure her face. With the brand new app MaskerAid, now hiding her face can be done instantly.

Share your memories, think creatively, and enjoy photography again [Awesome Apps of the Week]

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Awesome Apps of the week text in front of face down iPhone 12
With roughly 2 millions apps available in the App Store, sometimes all you need is something to tell you what’s good.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Whether you like great time-wasting games, want to experience the beautiful photography that was once popular on Instagram, or want to preserve your favorite memories in video, this week we have some awesome apps to check out.

Pixlr puts thousands of photo-editing tools at your fingertips for just $20

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Edit your photos quickly and professionally with Pixlr
Get professional results quickly and easily with this intuitive photo editor.
Photo: Pexels

The unsung hero of photography and visual art is editing. Yes, you can enhance your photos with the right equipment, but being able to edit your work later is absolutely essential.

It is also incredibly time-consuming and difficult. If you want to make editing your photos easier, take a look at Pixlr Premium. Right now, a one-year subscription to this intuitive editing software is on sale for $19.99. That’s a steep drop from its MSRP of $95.

Make photo editing easy

With Pixlr, you can make small, precise edits using a wide variety of tools. And you can make big, global changes that will take your work in a new direction. If you’re interested in posting your work on social media, you can use Pixlr’s design templates for the most popular platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and more.

If you want to delete the backgrounds from portraits, selfies and other shots, you can use the remove background tool. This is great if you want to customize the background, or if you just want to save a visual asset without having to delete the background every time you want to use it. Plus, you can choose from the 18,000 assets that come with the program.

Pixlr Premium comes packed with enough tools for you to create endless unique works. Beyond the thousands of assets, it gives you 3,000 extra overlays, 7,000 icons/stickers, 5,000 decorative texts and a ton of templates. The photo editor works on Macs and Windows PCs.

Save on Pixlr Premium

If you want to start editing your photos quickly, you’ve got to try out this easy-to-use photo editor that’s packed with fun features. You can get a one-year subscription to Pixlr Premium on sale now for $19.99.

Prices subject to change.

Get the most from every photo with this powerful, intuitive Mac app [Deals]

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Luminar 4 Bundle
This smart photo-editing software turns your shots into otherworldly images.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Making photos look their best takes more than just an Instagram filter. However, you don’t need to master a complex program like Photoshop — or spend a ton of money — to make your images shine.

The powerful tools and resources in this software bundle are extremely easy to use, so anybody can start tweaking their photos immediately. The bundle is also affordable — but this is your last chance to save 75% off the usual price.

Give your videos that sweet cinematic bokeh with Focos Live

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Focos Live lets iPhone users film bokeh video.
Don’t wait for the iPhone 12. Focos Live lets iPhone users film bokeh video today.
Photo: Xiaodong Wang/Cult of Mac

iPhones can automatically blur the backgrounds of still images but not video. Enter Focos Live, a recently released application that brings to iPhone video the effect Apple calls Portrait mode (and everyone else calls “bokeh”). The effect gives photographers the ability to unfocus the background to draw attention to what’s going on in the foreground.

Picture this: The new 4K Stogram lets you have your way with Instagram

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4K Stogram
Take control of your favorite Instagram content with 4K Stogram.
Screenshot: OpenMedia

This Instagram management post is presented by OpenMedia, maker of 4K Stogram.

The download world is filled with third-party tools intended to enhance your experience with other tools, apps and services — and sometimes they really do help. One such case is 4K Stogram, an Instagram viewer and download app for macOS, PC and Linux.