Portrait mode

Pro Tip: Adjust portrait blur after you take the shot

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Adjust the blur effect
Add more blur to the background or bring it into focus.
Image: King of Hearts/Wikimedia Commons/D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

Pro tip bug You can adjust the Portrait mode blur on iPhone and Mac — even after you’ve taken the picture. Your iPhone stores the depth data that it uses to make the blur effect along with the photo, so if the picture was taken on a recent iPhone, you can adjust how blurry or clear the background is. It’s super easy to get just the right amount of bokeh.

A blurrier background, under the right conditions, can make for a really dramatic picture with emphasis on the subject. You might want to turn up the blur to intentionally hide details behind you. On the other hand, if you’re in a photogenic spot of scenery, you might want to see more of the landscape.

Either way, I’ll show you how to edit Portrait mode on iPhone and Mac.

iOS 16 will improve the iPhone 13 camera

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Apple makes a multitude of changes with iOS 16.
You'll be able to record more realistic looking Cinematic videos from iPhone 13 in iOS 16.
Photo: Apple

iOS 16 will improve photos and videos shot with iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro via computational photography tweaks.

The software update will add foreground blur in Portrait photos and improve videos shot in Cinematic mode. However, these enhancements will be exclusive to Apple’s 2021 iPhone lineup due to hardware limitations.

This dual-display trick is not for everyone [Setups]

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You get a tall and narrow display when your portrait-mode (vertical) monitor is an ultra-wide.
You get a tall and narrow display when your portrait-mode (vertical) monitor is an ultra-wide.
Photo: Mykhartley02@Reddit.com

As we know from looking at lots of computer setups, having at least two monitors is popular, and so is having at least one of those in portrait mode (vertical). But what if you have dual displays and both are ultra-wide screens? Turned on end, isn’t the one in portrait mode going to be awfully tall?

Today’s featured setup provides an answer to those questions. Here the MacBook Pro-centered setup features two 34-inch displays in different orientations.

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.

Sleek iPhone 12 Pro concept brings new industrial body to life

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iphone-12-concept
iPhone 12 Pro will likely come in a new midnight blue color option.
Photo: Technizo Concept

Now that the super-cheap 2020 iPhone SE is finally out Apple fans can turn all their anticipations to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro launch this fall.

There has been no shortage of video concept videos imagining what Apple’s first 5G handset will look like, but the latest mockup created by Technizo Concept might be the most accurate depiction of the iPhone 12 Pro we’ve seen yet.

Look at that sleek new industrial body:

Snapchat’s 3D Camera Mode lands exclusively on iPhones with Face ID

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snap
Snapchat just added another dimension to photos.
Photo: Snap

Snapchat just added another cool feature to distinguish it from Instagram but you’ll need to have one of the newest iPhones to use it.

A new 3D Camera Mode is rolling out to users today, allowing you to create and share images that have a 3D depth effect as you tilt your display in different directions. It’s the same feature that debuted on the newest version of Snap’s Spectacles, only now you can create them from your iPhone.

Take a look at all the possibilities 3D Camera Mode unlocks:

How to use iOS 13’s new High-Key Mono Portrait Lighting effect

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High-Key Light Mono before after
You can shoot studio portraits anywhere.
Photo: Apple

Whenever I open up the For You tab in the Photos app, every single “effect suggestion” is Brighten this Portrait Photo with Studio Lighting. Every single one. I’m not even exaggerating. And I’m never interested, because Studio Lighting, along with all the other Portrait Lighting effects, is junk. Now, though, with iOS 13’s new High-Key Light Mono effect, there’s at least one Portrait Lighting effect worth using.

Here’s why High-Key Mono looks great — and how to use it.

iPhone’s Portrait mode just keeps getting better

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High-Key Mono setting
You could go into the studio – or tap High-Key Mono on the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
Photo: Apple

Fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon produced a legendary body of black-and-white work, much of which involved isolating subjects against a pure, shadowless white backdrop.

He shot many of his photos in a studio, where assistants would carefully position large studio lights. Search this technique online and you will find scores of articles and videos on how to light both subject and background for the Avedon look.

The iPhone now lets you do this with a single finger tap, thanks to Portrait mode advances.

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.

7 new Samsung features Apple should steal

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Note10
The Note 10 packs a ton of new features. Not all of them are great.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung’s new lineup of smartphones, tablets and notebooks were on full display today during the company’s Unpacked event for the Galaxy Note 10 in Brooklyn. Instead of waiting for Apple to introduce new iPhones and MacBooks in September, Samsung decided to get a head start on the competition.

Like pretty much all Samsung keynotes, the event included a shotgun blast of new features. Some of them are absolutely ridiculous and will be dead in the water at launch. However, Samsung’s team also uncorked a couple of great ideas that have us green with envy.

Hopefully, Apple execs are taking note of the good and bad things Samsung just revealed.

What’s new in iOS 13 beta 2

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iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
iOS 13 has almost too many features to cover -- but that won't stop us trying.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The second iOS 13 and iPadOS betas bring both good news and bad. Unless you’re a total “thrill-seeker,” it’s still not a good idea to install these betas on your main iOS device. In fact, there will be far more spills than thrills: The code remains raw and buggy as hell.

I have iPadOS running on an old iPad. While this latest version seems much less ragged around the edges, many apps still crash. And I still can’t make the Slide Over apps hide themselves at the side of the screen. Nor do all my favorites appear in the Files app.

The good news is that, despite this, the latest betas offer several new features — and lots of stuff has been fixed. Let’s take a look at the highlights of what’s new in iOS 13 beta 2.

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:

Portrait mode remains miraculous — but frustrating — on iPhone XS [Opinion]

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Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
When it works, Depth Control lets you dial in just the right amount of blur.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Portrait mode on the iPhone XS is pretty amazing — when it works. I gave it a good, hard workout after the device’s launch in September 2018, and found it to be an almost miraculous trick to fake the optical depth of photos taken on a bigger camera.

But after using it for half a year, does Portrait mode still seem so great? No. While it’s still just as impressive, sometimes it’s so frustrating to use that I just give up, quit the Camera app, and don’t bother to take a photo at all.

Depth Control starts feud in funny new Apple ad

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D5CF3129-981A-4C9B-B1D5-FE1123C0DAE1
“Did you just bokeh my child?!”
Photo: Apple

Depth Control is one of the best features on the new iPhones, but Apple shows that you might want to be careful about who you choose to use it on.

Apple just drop a hilarious new ad highlighting the new the feature that lets you adjust the amount of blur in a Portrait Mode photo. The funny 30-second ad shows two moms who start beefing with each other when one of them notices their child has been bokeh’d.

Get ready to giggle:

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.

How to fix up your janky Portrait Photos with Focos

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Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not. Fix failed focus with Focos.
Portrait Mode is great, until it’s not.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Portrait Mode in the iPhone XR and XS is hands-down amazing. In the time it take to snap a photo, the camera scans the depth of the image in front of it, and uses that data to blur the background, and make the subject pop out, sharp. But it doesn’t always work. The depth detection gets confused by glass, for example, ruining what could have been an amazing image.

Today we’re going to use and app called Focos to fix these depth glitches. Focos is an all-round focusing powerhouse of an app, recently updated to support the iPad, including the new iPads Pro. The area we’ll focus on today (sorry) is the ability to edit the depth map, and paint back in the glass or hair that the iPhone missed.

How to change background blur in iPhone XS and XR photos

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Depth Control on iPhone XS
Depth Control can add subtle or wild background blur to your images.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The iPhone XS has an  amazing camera, and the best part of that camera is the Depth Control feature, which lets you adjust the background blur after you take the photo.

This is a powerful feature, but to get the most out of it, you might want to check out these tips and tricks on using Depth Control on iPhone XS.

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.

Halide fixes iPhone XR’s Portrait Mode

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Best iPhone photo accessories
Halide unlocks Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR.
Photo: Chroma Noir LLC

Apart from the screen, the big different between the iPhone XS and XR is the camera. The XS has two, and the XR only has one. This means that — like a one-eyed person — the XR camera can’t calculate the depth of objects in a scene, and therefore can’t use the Depth Blur feature to blur the background. It works around this by using clever facial recognition tricks to allow Portrait Mode with people, but that’s it.

Until now, that it. In its latest update, camera app Halide adds back this functionality to the new iPhone. That’s right. With Halide, you can take depth-effect pictures of anything with the iPhone XR.

iPhone XR camera gives some iPhone XS users buyer’s remorse

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iPhone XR portrait mode
Thinking the iPhone XR would have been worth the wait?
Photo: Apple

The early reviews for the camera on the iPhone XR have been impressive – and that has a few who purchased the iPhone XS wishing they had waited a few weeks.

Apple, trying to accommodate more budget-minded consumers, announced the mid-range iPhone XR for $799 at the same time it unveiled the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max.

The XS line was available on Sept. 21 while the XR, not quite ready for shelves then, went on sale today.

How to get extreme background blur in iPhone photos

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What's the fastest cake in the world?
What's the fastest cake in the world?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The Portrait Mode in iPhone XS is the best thing to happen to iPhone photography in quite a while. It uses the XS’ dual cameras, plus the A12 chip’s Neural Engine, to work out how far away everything is in your photos. Then, it blurs everything in the background, just as if you used a fancy big camera.

But what if you want even more blur? The iPhone XS’ Depth Control feature looks very realistic, but maybe it’s a bit too realistic? Maybe you want to really wipe out that background with some extra blur. The good news is, there are some great apps that do that.

The iPhone XS Camera review for iPhone 7 owners

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Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Depth Control gets confused by glass.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Most iPhone camera reviewers are upgrading from last year’s model, the incredible iPhone X. Most iPhone buyers are upgrading from an earlier iPhone, probably the iPhone 6s or 7. This review is for the buyers. In it, I compare the new iPhone XS camera to the iPhone 7 camera, and talk about just how massive an upgrade this is.

iPhone X owners shouldn’t feel left out, though. Camera-wise, the iPhone XS and XS Max might be the biggest iPhone upgrade since the iPhone 3GS added autofocus. One note: The iPhone XS Max has the exact same camera as the XS, so this review goes for both.

iPhone XR Portrait Mode has one serious limitation

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iPhone XR
Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting on the iPhone XR.
Photo: Apple

Portrait Mode on the iPhone XR may not be as fully-baked as the version found on Apple’s other iPhones.

The iPhone XR looks like it has almost all of the same features as its higher-priced siblings. Even though it only has one camera lens in the back, it can still take Portrait Mode photos. However, attendees at Apple’s keynote yesterday found out the iPhone XR version only works on people.