Taking and Sharing Pictures Using Your iPhone with iOS 12
With every new iPhone, your picture options just keep getting better and better. The newest versions don’t disappoint. Take a peek to see how capturing and sharing pictures has gotten a facelift with new iPhone models and the implementation of iOS 12.
Two rear cameras on the iPhone
On the 7 Plus and after (except the iPhone XR), two rear cameras work as a team. With this dual-camera system, you tap the 1x or 2x button on the iPhone display to switch from a 1x wide angle (28mm-equivalent focal length) to a 2x telephoto (56mm lens) shot or back.
You are taking advantage of the optical zoom feature on the phone, which is more of a big-deal benefit compared to digital zoom.
Of course, you can put the digital zoom to work here as well, to a max of 10x. You can employ the pinch to zoom gesture (at which you now excel). Or, after tapping to get to 2x with the optical zoom, slide your finger in either direction to zoom left or right.
Another benefit for the 7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, XS, and XS Max— and one of our favorite features — is a depth-of-field portrait mode, which lets you keep your main subject sharp and in focus while the background remains blurry but only in an artsy way. Photographers refer to this concept as bokeh. On models that have the feature, another shooting option, named Portrait, appears on the Camera screen (next to Video, Photo, Square, and so on).
Although it has only a single rear camera, the XR can also take advantage of portrait mode.
Meanwhile, the 8 Plus and X models boast a feature called Portrait Lighting. When you choose Portrait mode on these phones, you can apply dramatic effects, either before or after you take a picture. It works like this: After you select Portrait, a wheel appears so you can choose effects labeled natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light mono, and stage light. This last setting, one of our favorites, is like applying a spotlight on the main subject of your photograph while the background remains otherwise dark.
Incidentally, you’ll be able to exploit Portrait Lighting on the front or rear cameras on the X models. On the 8 Plus, the feature works only with the rear cameras.
The XR, XS, and XS Max add an advanced portrait mode and a new Depth Control feature that let you adjust the background blur after you shoot. You can also adjust the aperture without affecting the exposure after the fact. When you tap Edit next to a picture captured in portrait mode, you’ll be able to drag a slider for the purpose of altering the bokeh effect. And that’s pretty cool.
Searching for pictures on your iPhone
iOS has one more feature to help you find a given photo among the thousands if not tens of thousands you’ve shot. You can search your entire photo library in the cloud. From the Photos app, tap the search icon, the one that resembles a magnifying glass.
Apple beefed up Photos search as part of iOS 12. For starters, you get search suggestions for recent events, people, places, and more, even before you start typing. Over time, Apple should get smarter about such suggestions.
Of course, you can also just type a search term with the on-screen keyboard, perhaps the date or the time a photo was taken or the location where it was shot. Your phone also comes with the capability to search pictures by what is in them: mountains, beaches, lakes, cats, whatever. The app won’t get it right every time — some dogs were mistaken for cats on occasion. But it gets it right enough of the time that you can’t help but be impressed.
You can also enlist Siri to help you search for specific photos. For example, you might say something along the lines of “show me all the pictures I took at the baby shower.”
Sharing your iPhone’s photos
Apple in its infinite wisdom recognizes that you might want to share your best images with friends and family and have those pictures automatically appear on those people’s devices.
The aptly named iCloud Photo Sharing feature enables you to share pictures and videos with other folks and lets you in kind receive photo streams that they make available to you. Here’s how:
- On the Home screen, tap Settings.
- Tap Photos.
- If the Shared Albums option isn’t on, tap it to turn it on.
- Open the Photos app, and then tap the Albums tab.
- Tap the + at the upper-left corner of the screen, and then tap New Shared Album.
- In the dialog that appears, type a name for your shared album.
The name is your call, but try something along the lines of my Trip to Tahiti (and you should be so lucky).
- Tap Next and choose who will receive your shared photos.
You can type a phone number, a text address, or an email address, or choose one of your contacts by tapping the + in a circle in the To field.
- Above the To field, tap Create.
- Add photos to the shared album.
Select the album, making sure the Photos tab at the bottom of the display (as opposed to the adjacent People tab) is selected, and tap +. You can choose from years, collections, or moments.
- Tap Done when you’ve finished adding photos.
- (Optional) Enter a comment.
- Tap Post.
The recipient will receive an email where you can choose to subscribe to the album by tapping the button shown.
Check out the recent activity view available after tapping the For You tab. It provides a nice summary of photos you and your pals posted.
You can share photos and videos with pretty much anyone who has online access — people don’t need to join iCloud. If you want to share your pictures with everyone, you can do so through a public gallery on iCloud.com. To do that, tap the Albums tab at the bottom of the Photos app, scroll to the Shared Albums section, and then tap the album in question. This time, tap the People tab instead of the Photos tab and then flip the Public website switch to on.
If the people with whom you’re sharing have their own iCloud accounts and are on an iOS 6 account or later or using a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion or later, they can not only glom onto your album to view your photos but also leave comments about them. Don’t worry — you have the power to remove snarky remarks.
If the people you’re sharing with have iOS 7 or later, they can add their own photos and videos to the album, provided doing so is okay with you. If it is, turn on the Subscribers Can Post switch. At your discretion, you can also receive notifications when your subscribers weigh in with a comment or add their own pictures or videos to the shared album.
If you’re ultimately unhappy with the shared album itself or the people with whom you’re sharing it, you can kill the shared album or kick those people off the list. To kill the album, tap the Delete Shared Album button. To remove a subscriber, tap the shared album, tap the People tab, and then tap the name of the person with whom you’re sharing the pictures. Tap Remove Subscriber. You’ll be asked to tap a Remove button just to make sure or tap Cancel if you have second thoughts. If you do remove a subscriber, you can always re-invite the person later.
If you share a live photo with people who have another Apple device (including the Apple Watch with watchOS2 or later software), they can press against the screen to view the live photo. You can share it with them via iMessage, Shared Albums, or AirDrop. Through other sharing methods, the live photo is sent as a still photo.
As part of iOS 12, when you share pictures with friends, they may get a nudge from Apple to share back pictures with you, taken at the same party or place. That could round out a photographic account of special occasions.