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.

Fake AI skies look amazing, but not everybody’s thrilled

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sky replacement tool in Luminar 4
Pick a sky that wasn't there when you took the photo.
Photo: Skylum

Imaging software company Skylum markets its photo editing tools as huge time savers. Just click a preset look or move a few slider bars and you have a beautifully styled final image within minutes.

Skylum was on message when it announced an upcoming AI tool for instantly replacing the sky. The company declared, “The days of spending a lot of time manually creating a complicated mask to replace skies in an image are over.”

Yet the debate over artificial intelligence’s role in photography is only beginning. In the week since Skylum announced and demoed AI Sky Replacement, photographers have spent considerable time in online forums drawing lines between ethics and creativity.

Wedding photographer’s anti-iPhone rant strikes a nerve

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iPhone-wedding
No one wants to see your iPhone in their wedding pics.
Photo: Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

A wedding photographer calling for people to stop using their iPhones at weddings has gone viral with an angry Facebook rant.

Hannah Stanley is asking smartphone users to “please stop viewing weddings you attend through a screen” and avoid getting in the way of the professional photographer.

The post comes after one wedding guest ruining a perfectly good photo of a bride and her father by blocking Stanley’s view with their iPhone.

iOS 13 finally lets you edit, crop and filter your videos

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iOS 13 video editing
Confused?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iPadOS and iOS 13, you will be able to edit videos just the same way you can edit photos today. You can crop them, rotate them, add filters and adjust their color. And — finally — you can simply save the edited version instead of spawning a copy every time you make a simple trim.

Check out the great new iOS 13 video editing features:

2019 iPhone could finally take on Google Pixel’s amazing Night Sight

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Pixel 3 Night Sight
The Pixel 3 destroys iPhone in low-light performance.
Photo: Google

Apple is developing its very own Night Sight feature for the next-generation iPhone lineup, according to a new report.

Google’s Pixel handsets have been well and truly beating rivals on low-light camera performance for years now. But it is claimed Apple has a similar feature up its sleeve called “Night Mode” — and we should see it this year.

Apple shows how to disrupt portrait photos in new video

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iPhone XR
Learn how to give your portrait photos some pop.
Photo: Apple

Apple serves up a master crash course on how to take better Portrait Mode photos in its latest ad, courtesy of photographer Christopher Anderson.

A lot of times Apple’s tutorial type of videos are pretty generic, but Anderson actually has a lot of cool tips on how to add more intrigue to your photos. He plays around using objects, creative backgrounds and striking light juxtapositions to shoot some of the coolest iPhone photos you’ll see.

It’s best to watch this on your iPhone:

Why photographers won big-time at WWDC

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photographers and new Mac Pro
Apple has a pretty good idea on how to make photographers and filmmakers happy.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2019 bug The WWDC keynote delivered exciting news for every Apple user, but for photographers of all stripes, Monday was their jackpot.

Professional photographers and filmmakers finally got a new Mac Pro that can handle ambitious workflows.

Operating system updates due out this fall for Mac, iPhone and iPad will bring a slew of new features for editing and organizing.

The iPad will be an even more capable tool in the field and changes to the iPhone camera should tamp down those worries that Apple was falling behind the likes of Huawei, Samsung and Google.

And we’re not even talking about the new hardware coming this fall.