photo apps

How to take fabulous fireworks photos with your iPhone

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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 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.

Make your photos shine with this AI-powered photo editor

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Make your photos sing with this top editing software for only $80.
Get the best price on the web for this AI-powered photo editor.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Any decent photographer knows that getting the perfect shot is only half the battle. Fine-tuning that pic requires just as much skill, but even the most experienced shutterbug needs the right tools. Luminar is a full-featured photo editor that’s long been a hit with amateurs and professionals alike.

The latest update, Luminar Neo, is now available with a host of add-ons for the best price on the web. You can get the Award-Winning Luminar Neo Lifetime Bundle for only $79.97 (regularly $400).

Turn Photoshop into a time machine with this film emulator

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Give Photoshop a run for its money with this film emulator.
Transform digital images into vintage photos with this film emulator.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Whether it’s grainy stills from an early ’70s flick or iconic black-and-white images of world events, seeing photos from bygone eras can feel like traveling through time. But retouching an image to achieve that vintage look can take hours, even for photo editors who know their way around Photoshop.

Luckily, these inexpensive film emulator Photoshop actions can mimic the look of vintage film stock, giving you ultimate control over the way your images look.

Awesome Apps for every kind of moment in life

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iPhone and AirPods Pro on desk with “Awesome Apps of the Week”
Your iPhone goes nearly everywhere you go, so why not let it help you with life’s biggest moments?
Photo: Ian Fuchs, Vista Wei

Life is all about what you make of it. Or at least that’s how the saying goes, I guess. This week, we have an app that helps you make the most of your time, an app to help document it, and an app for the times in between. As usual, if you have something you want us to check out for a future Awesome Apps post, be sure to email your suggestion or tweet them over!

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
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.

Avalanche uses AI to convert from Aperture to Lightroom (and preserves your edits)

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Avalanche is a universal translator for photo apps.
Avalanche is a universal translator for photo apps.
Photo: CYME

Do you still have all your photos stuck in an Aperture library? Aperture won’t even launch in macOS Catalina, so you’re going to have to do something about that. The long-time answer has been to move to Adobe’s Lightroom, but then all your carefully crafted RAW edits are lost, or at least frozen into JPGs, never to be reversed.

Avalanche is a new Mac app that can convert your old Aperture library into a Lightroom library. What’s more, it uses machine learning to reverse-engineer your edits, and then does its best to redo those edits in Lightroom. It seems amazing. And because it doesn’t need the Aperture app installed on your Mac at all, you can use it even if you’ve already upgraded to Catalina.

Bring vivid HDR effects to your photos with one click [Deals]

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Photomatix Bundle
With one-click presets, HDR styles and streamlined settings, this HDR software bundle makes image enhancement easy.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

One of the easiest ways to make any photo pop is to process it with High Dynamic Range, or HDR. Basically, it combines high and low exposures so that your photo represents a wide spectrum of light and color. HDR gives you a ton of creative options, which you can easily explore with the three Mac apps and plugins in the Photomatix Pro Plus Bundle, which we’re currently offering at an unbelievable discount.

Adobe’s new camera app brings ‘AI magic’ to iPhone photos

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new camera app from Adobe
Raise the cool factor on your iPhone photos with the Adobe Photoshop Camera app.
Photo: Adobe

After finally bringing Photoshop to iPad, Adobe says it will roll out a new smartphone camera app with a slew of creative lenses and AI powers that come at the point of capture.

The upcoming Adobe Photoshop Camera seems to borrow the lens-swapping feature of Hipstamatic. Adobe promises it will give users “Photoshop-grade magic right from the viewfinder.”

Halide brings Deep Fusion-style photo processing to older iPhones

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Smartest Processing,
Shot with Halide.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Today’s release of iOS 13.2 brings Apple’s new Deep Fusion feature, so iPhone 11 owners can start taking beautifully detailed photographs of sweaters. But if you have an older iPhone, Halide has you covered. The iOS photo app’s new Smartest Processing update brings Deep Fusion-style detail to anybody’s sweater shots.

How to get Portrait mode-style depth of field with any iPhone or iPad

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Portrait Photos, no iPhone X required.
Take Portrait mode-style photos, no iPhone X required.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

We’ve written a lot about the Focos photo app here on Cult of Mac, because it’s like the Photoshop of focus. The universal iOS app lets you edit the focus of your Portrait mode photos in crazy depth (pun intended). But v2.0 just launched, and it’s hands-down amazing.

Focos 2 uses machine learning to calculate the depth of any photo, and then apply portrait-style blur to it. That means you can take portrait photos on the iPad and, wildest of all, you can apply a portrait background blur to photos you’ve saved from the internet.

How to remove the background from your Portrait photos

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Geese with transparent background
Honk honk! Goodbye pesky background.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone’s incredible Portrait mode does a great job of blurring the backgrounds of photos, making the subject stand out from busy backdrops. (Apple also uses this depth information for its truly awful Portrait Lighting effects — has anyone ever gotten a good result from the Stage Light filter? — but that’s another story.)

What if you could use the depth information inside Portrait photos to get rid of the background entirely? Wouldn’t that be something? Well, yes it would. And if you have the right app, it’s really easy to remove photo backgrounds.

New Instagram will take worry out of being liked

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Instagram fact checking
Instagram will use fact-checking teams to identify false information.
Photo: Instagram

Facebook is retooling Instagram to take some social pressure out of social media.

The photo-sharing app, which along with the iPhone sparked a revolution in instant photography, will reduce the pressure by making “likes” private so followers engage the content, not how popular it is. Instagram is also playing with ways to reduce the prominence of follower counts.

Hyperspektiv app glitches up your photos and videos [Review]

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Imagine this moving, and you might start to get seasick.
Imagine this moving, and you might start to get seasick.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Hyperspektiv is a contradiction. Photo-editing apps are designed to make your photos look better by making them look nicer. Hyperspektiv is designed to make your photos look better by making them look worse.

Not only that, it’s one of a handful of photo apps that don’t try to mimic the limitations of film photography, like grain and light leaks. Instead, it ditches the nostalgia and uses truly digital means to glitch up your images, turning them into stills and videos that would look fantastic in a music video.

Lightroom-busting Darkroom comes to iPad

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In the olden days, this was the only way to edit your photos.
In the olden days, this was the only way to edit your photos.
Photo: Agirldamednee/Flickr CC

Even if you don’t have much interest in editing RAW and JPG images on your iPad, you might still want to check out Darkroom. The brand-new iPad version of the popular photo app offers a view of your standard iCloud Photo Library that’s better-looking and easier to use than the native Photos app. And that’s just for starters.

5 great apps that bust out the bokeh on iPhone XS and XR

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The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
The iPhone XS' new bokeh tool is just the beginning.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS camera is pretty incredible. The device uses its two rear cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to record such an accurate 3D map of the scene that you can adjust the background blur with a slider. But that depth map is useful for more than just blurring backgrounds. It can be used by other apps to:

  • Add realistic lights to a scene.
  • Choose any subject to be in focus, not just the one you picked when shooting.
  • Add custom background blurs.
  • Remove and replace backgrounds, like movie green-screen effects.

The iPhone XS is the gold standard for iOS cameras, but the XR manages some excellent tricks of its own. Despite having only one rear camera, the XR can still recognise people, and then use AI and the super-powerful A12 Neural Engine to separate out the person form the background. While this portrait matte isn’t as detailed as an iPhone XS depth map, it can in theory still be used to do many of the same tricks.

Today we’ll look at the best depth apps for the new iPhone XS, XR, and XS Max.