During the launch event of the iPhone 13 line, the Photographic Styles feature was highlighted by Apple as an important novelty of mobile phones. But many may have wondered what the difference is for the popular filters. Understand how styles differ from them and how to take advantage of the new iPhone feature in this tutorial.
At first glance, photographic styles apply the same changes in hue, temperature and saturation as traditional filters. But just like in Cinema Mode, the feature leverages the phone’s hardware to give a different result from known methods.
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How iPhone 13 photo styles work
Photo styles leverage the IMAGE PROCESSOR (ISP) on the Apple A15 SoC to selectively apply effects to the image, unlike filters —that modify the entire image. While filters work in a manner equivalent to analogue photography (in which negatives, photo papers, filters themselves and other factors influence the final result), photographic styles are another step in computational photography.
The feature leverages the ability of modern image processors to identify different elements on the scene —people, objects on different planes, sky, etc.— to apply the effects differently to each of them, similar to what a photographer or image editor would do in the post-processing stage.
Photo styles apply effects separately to each element in the scene/© Apple
One advantage of the technique is that it has the power to maintain natural skin characteristics, for example, while increasing color saturation in objects around the person(s) in the foreground.
Photo styles are available in four preset options — Rich Contrast, Vibrant, Hot, and Cool — that can be customized in color tone and temperature. For comparison, iPhone’s Default mode is displayed as “balanced and realistic”.
Mobile phones compatible with photographic styles
Although Apple claims that the feature is made possible by the A15 Bionic processor, the manufacturer does not mention compatibility of photographic styles with the iPad Mini (2021), also equipped with the SoC, but with a single camera in the rear. Thus, these are the models compatible with the novelty:
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
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How to use photo styles
The novelty of the iPhone 13 line can be triggered in the iOS camera app itself by tapping the ^ button (at the top of the screen), and then on the feature icon (with three parallel images and a scratch on them). Alternatively, you can access the feature in the Camera > settings app > Photo Styles.