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Portrait mode now available on iPhone 7 Plus

You are probably here because you heard that Apple has released an update for the iPhone 7 Plus that allows you to take photos in Portrait mode.  What’s so special about it?  Well in Portrait mode you can take advantage of a photography technique called shallow depth of field.  Essentially, the camera will focus on the subject and blurs everything else behind it.  It’s a technique that dedicated cameras can do with some fancy manipulation.  The iPhone 7 Plus can do the same thing using 2 cameras and some fancy calculation.  Note that because it takes 2 cameras, the regular iPhone 7 nor any other legacy iPhone will be able to enjoy this new feature.

I have to admit, I wasn’t excited about this feature at first.  You could already do that when you touch the screen and focus on one thing.  Everything around it was blurred.  Big deal!  Well, I was wrong.  The shallow depth of field functionality in Portrait mode looks much better.  Here are a couple of pictures I took.

iPhone 6 Plus - Photo Mode with Touch Focus
iPhone 6 Plus – Photo Mode with Touch Focus
iPhone 7 Plus - Portrait Mode with Depth Effect
iPhone 7 Plus – Portrait Mode with Depth Effect

As you can see, the shallow depth of field looks great on the iPhone 7 Plus vs the iPhone 6 Plus.  The blur on the iPhone 6 Plus was only slightly blurred.  Plus, I had to hold the camera pretty close to the subject in order to get the blur to work.  With the iPhone 7 Plus you have a range of about 2 to 8 feet from which you can hold the camera from the subject to get the effect to work.  The camera will tell you when you are in the right range by highlighting a box that says “Depth Effect”.

So if you got yourself an iPhone 7 Plus, go ahead and download IOS update v10.1.  That is where you can get this new Portrait mode and begin taking professional looking shallow depth of field pictures.  Have fun!

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