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.