More Than a Filter: How to Use iPhone Photographic Styles

The iPhone 13 launch event saw the Photographic Styles feature highlighted by Apple as an important new feature in their latest smartphones. But many have wondered how much this is different from the extremely popular filters. Understanding how photographic styles differ and how to take advantage of this new iPhone feature is the goal of this tutorial.

At first glance, photographic styles apply the same changes in hue, temperature and saturation as traditional filters. But just like Cinematic Mode, the feature takes advantage of the iPhone’s hardware to deliver a different result than existing methods.

How the iPhone 13’s Photographic Styles Work

Photographic Styles take advantage of the Apple A15 SoC’s ISP (Image Signal Processor) because it selectively applies effects to the image, unlike filters, which alter the entire image. While filters work in a similar way to analog photography (where negatives, photo prints, filters themselves, and other factors influence the end result), Photographic Styles offers a new step in computer photography.

This feature takes advantage of the ability of modern image processors to identify different elements of a scene – people, objects in different planes, sky, etc., and then apply effects differently to each of them, from the same way a photographer or image editor would do in the post-processing phase.

Photo Styles apply effects separately to each element in the scene / © Apple

An advantage of this technique is that it has the power to maintain the natural characteristics of the skin, for example, while increasing the color saturation on objects around the person (s) in the foreground.

Photographic styles are available in four predefined options: Rich contrast, Vibrant, Warm, and Cold, which can be customized in terms of tint and color temperature. For comparison, the Standard mode of the iPhone is presented as “balanced and realistic”.

iPhones compatible with photographic styles

Although Apple claims that the feature is enabled by the A15 Bionic processor, the manufacturer did not mention the compatibility of Photographic Styles with the iPad Mini (2021), which is also equipped with the A15 Bionic SoC, although it does has only one camera on the back. So, here are the iPhone models compatible with the latest feature:

How to use photographic styles

The novelty of the iPhone 13 range can be accessed through the iOS camera application itself, by pressing the button ^ (at the top of the screen) and followed by the function icon (with three parallel images). Alternatively, you can access the functionality in Settings > Camera > Photo graphic styles.

Once activated, simply swipe the screen to the side to preview the effect in real time. Just below the available effects you can customize the Your and Heat, adapting them to the scene accordingly. To revert the styles back to the default settings, just tap the circle icon next to the settings (just above the button to toggle between cameras).

Here are some examples of how the different styles are displayed in the Camera app using an iPhone 13.

Discover the result of the effects applied to the photos (click on the images to view them in their original resolution):

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Although similar to the filters currently available on all smartphones on the market, the photographic styles are an evolution of the concept, taking advantage of the image processing capabilities of modern SoCs. In the hands of more demanding photographers, the feature saves time when post-processing images in Adobe Lightroom or Apple Photos, for example.

With the settings offered, the effects can be customized to achieve a more natural result, similar to that highlighted by publisher Benjamin Lucks in his review of the Sony Xperia 1 III, or the saturated characteristic of photos captured on Samsung phones. Basically, a lot of it depends on the personal preferences of the photographer.

And of course, nothing prevents other manufacturers from implementing similar features on their devices. Xiaomi, for example, announced in early 2021 that its ROM found in the Mi 11 will offer smart filters that can apply watercolor effects or sketch background elements. Samsung, meanwhile, is leveraging the processor in its high-end devices. to create custom filters that mimic the style of your favorite images.

xiaomi smart filters

Apple’s photo styles follow a similar process to Xiaomi’s smart filters (above) / © Xiaomi

Also, I could not fail to mention the controversial filters that alter the features of a face to enlarge the eyes, slim the face, and alter the features of the nose and chin, among other parts of the body, like one undergoes plastic surgery. digital without having to worry about insane surgical costs or nasty side effects.

All of these examples take advantage of the potential of ISPs to save time by editing photos, resulting in images ready to be shared with friends and relatives through instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or on social media.

In the case of photographic styles, Apple has bundled this image processing potential for the photographer to customize smart filters that can be applied to other photos. It’s not hard to imagine that the company offers future variations of the technique, including the functionality demonstrated by Xiaomi, or perhaps options that use artificial intelligence features to change the appearance of the sky. , similar to those found in professional tools.

This article was written in collaboration with our editor, Camila Rinaldi.

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