Use this quick tweak to fix the iPhone XS’ flat photos

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Punchy pomegranate, no auto-enhance required.
Punchy pomegranate, no auto-enhance required.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS’ camera is amazing, but put an unedited shot next to an unedited photo from the older iPhone X, or one of Google’s Pixel phones, and it looks a little flat. To “fix” this, you can tap the auto-enhancing Magic Wand tool on the edit screen, but this takes things too far in the opposite direction, making faces as orange as Florida bodybuilders.

I actually prefer the less-gaudy images from the XS, but sometimes they need a little extra pop. And the good news is, you don’t have to spend lots of time editing. There’s one slider built into the Photos app that will fix things up right away.

Today at Apple adds 50 new sessions in expanded formats

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The Apple store is great place to learn about apps.
The Apple store is great place to learn about apps.
Photo: Apple

Apple is expanding its slate of Today at Apple sessions with 50 new classes that offer free educational experiences for iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

Today at Apple first started at Apple store in 2017, providing 18,000 free sessions a week that have been attended by millions of people around the world. With the new sessions, Apple is expanding on its most popular sessions, giving participants more opportunities to create and explore with their products.

How to erase the background in your photos

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This needs some fine-tuning, but took just seconds to do.
This needs some fine-tuning, but took just seconds to do.
Photo: Cult of Mac

There are a bunch of reasons to remove the background from a photo. You might just hate the background — a perfect portrait ruined by crowds, or ugly construction work, or both. You may want to remove the background in order to extract the subject — maybe you’re doing some kind of Photoshop trick, or making a greetings card.

Whatever your reasons, it’s easy to do. Removing the background from an image used to be a nightmare. Now, you just need the right app. And if you’re a regular with our Cult of Mac photo how-tos, you probably have that app already.

This is the future of iPhone photography

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Year in Review Future of Photography 2018
The iPhone’s camera already does things impossible for a regular camera. What’s next?
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

The iPhone camera is hands-down amazing, thanks almost entirely to the fact that it is hooked up to a pocket-size supercomputer. Initially, the iPhone used its computer smarts to overcome the limitations of phone cameras — the tiny sensor, for example. But over time, Apple added amazing features like Smart HDR and the incredible Portrait Mode, which simulates the out-of-focus background that occurs naturally with traditional high-end cameras.

This path is likely to continue. Computational photography, as it is called, is pushing the capabilities of cellphone cameras far ahead of regular “dumb” cameras. So what can we expect to see in future?

This Shortcut shrinks your huge 4K Christmas videos

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Now this is a big video.
Now this is a big video.
Photo: DRs Kulturarvsprojekt/Flickr CC

“This is going to be the best Christmas video ever!” you tell yourself. You have an iPhone XS, it’s set to 4K at 24 frames per second, and you’re framing your shots like a pro. Smart HDR will illuminate the smiles on the faces of your nieces and nephews, and stabilization will take care of your hangover jitters.

“Oh man, I can’t wait until these morons see this in their iMessages, using iOS 12’s great Share Back feature,” you think somewhat uncharitably, while squeezing a handy link into your thoughts.

Then reality grabs you. That 5-minute 4K clip of the angels ripping their way through a forest’s worth of wrapping paper is over 1.5GB. There’s no way you can share that on your parents’ crappy internet connection. Why oh why didn’t you shoot at 720p? Luckily, Shortcuts is here to save the day. Again.

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The Apollo app brings immersive illumination to Portrait mode photos.
Before and after. The Apollo app brings immersive illumination to Portrait mode photos.
Photos: Indice

Luminar 3 imaging app gives photogs more time to shoot

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Luminar 3
Luminar 3 adds image libraries.
Photo: Skylum

Luminar, Skylum Software’s all-in-one photo editing program, will soon add more tools so photographers spend less time using it.

That may sound strange, but photographers would rather spend time behind the camera than in front of the computer. Skylum, formerly called Macphun, exists to make the complex tools for editing user-friendly.

Instagram goes to war against fake follows and likes

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Instagram
Instagram is fixing its fake likes problem.
Photo: Pixabay

Using a third-party app to gain followers and likes on Instagram are about to become a lot less effective at artificially growing audiences.

Instagram revealed today that it is going to war against fake follows and likes by using AI to identify accounts that engage in the practice. Starting today, Instagram says it will remove inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.

This is the message you’ll see if you’re guilty:

Google Photos can now adjust background blur on Portrait Mode pics

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Google Photos library backup on iPhone X
Google Photos is the photo and video backup app we all wish Apple would give us.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

You no longer need to buy the iPhone XS or XS Max to take advantage of one of the best features on the new devices’ camera.

Google Photos pushed out an update this morning that allows any iPhone owner with a Portrait Mode camera to adjust the background blur after a photo has been taken.

RAW Power brings new powerful photo editing tools to Mac, iOS

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RAW Power
RAW Power for Mac 2.0.
Photo: Gentlemen Coders

Photographers who use the RAW Power software get a new slew of tools today with the release of a 2.0 version for both Mac and iOS.

RAW Power 2.0 brings new adjustments for chromatic aberration, perspective, a monochrome mixer and a new set of features that deepen the richness of photos called Enhance.