Photography on iPhone for dummies (I): Portrait mode -


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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Photography on iPhone for dummies (I): Portrait mode

You may have heard about photography in bokeh , a Japanese term that can be translated as "blur". Yes, it is the same as the portrait mode offered by the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

If you are lucky enough to own some of these terminals you will surely have used this photographic technique , which usually offers surprising results similar to those made by good quality cameras.

What is the portrait mode?

Simply to focus attention on the object to be photographed, blurring the rest. It is a technique that has been imported from professional cameras and that provides a very pleasant effect . In addition to this, it manages to highlight what you want to photograph by blurring the rest. The gaze will be fixed on that element capturing our attention, to leave the background in the background.

How is it achieved?

In "non-mobile" photography is achieved by playing with the aperture of the diaphragm, since there must be a large number. The more we open the goal, the greater the blur we will achieve . But we are going to what concerns us, which is nothing more than this effect on the iPhone.

You must keep in mind that an iPhone, or any smartphone that has a camera, is that, a phone with a camera attached to it. And of course, it has its limitations . This is determined by the size of the sensor and the lenses, which are very close together and do not allow much room for action. In Apple models that have dual cameras, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, the bokeh mode is applied with a combination of playing with both lenses and software . The double lens, wide angle and telephoto, manages to separate the object from the background and process them, which gives the Apple portrait mode.
How is it?

Well as an effect to surprise is very good, since normally the result is not bad, although yes, never never lose the north: it is a photograph made with a mobile . Therefore, there are amazingly good photos made with an iPhone, but in that field, we never try to make comparisons with a "real" camera.

You can try your tests, always in good natural light conditions, of course. Forget about doing a portrait mode, and in general any photo, with low light and a smartphone. In addition, on an iPhone it is quite simple , since when focusing, the device alerts you when the active portrait mode is ready to shoot in this way.

As always, it's best to do your tests. Many times the results are surprising and for example, I love using this type of portrait mode on objects, as well as with people. 

And the vertical lighting?

The iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X came with this photo processing system and that provides 5 different scenarios for portrait mode photography , natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light and light of scenario in mono mode. As such, they manage to enhance these types of photographs, and also have the advantage of being able to switch between them in the processing .

It's still in beta mode, and the truth is that it shows. The last two modes are the ones I like least to use because the software effect is too noticeable . You just have to look at, for example, the edges. It is something that is about to be polished and some very specific conditions of light have to be given so that it is well achieved. For sample, this example. The results are not good at all.

In these things is where you realize that you are photographing with a phone and not with a camera, but having this clear and knowing the limitations of the first, there is no reason to think that Apple is taking us for a ride. And I say again, the results with natural light and in certain contexts, for any user, are good . It is about enjoying with our photos, giving a different approach and maybe highlighting certain aspects. If it is achieved, objective accomplished, and if the result satisfies us, the better.

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