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Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode on iPhone XS Max

Portrait Mode is the ability to take a picture of a person and have the background blurred out. This cool effect uses both cameras on the iPhone XS Max and figures out the foreground and background. Portrait Mode is available in the rear and front camera.

You have control of the background Depth using the built-in editor.

Gus O Dog
Using Portrait Mode on the iPhone XS Max, I was able to take a great picture of our dog.

Eight Things I learned about using Portrait Mode

  • When using the rear camera, It's best to stand 8-feet away from the subject to get the best focus.
  • The rear camera has better quality and you'll see more of the background.
  • For better effect, make sure the background has some depth. Don't just use a studio backdrop. A park setting or skyline would look very cool. Disney Castle from Main Street USA would be a good opportunity.
  • When using the front face camera, it's best to hold the camera three feet (about an arm's length)
  • You can't change the blur effect while taking a picture. Afterward, you can change the blurred background using the Edit Mode.
  • If you want more control over the background/foreground, use ProCam Editor. You can do cool things such as make the background black and white or even remove the background and make the photo transparent.
  • To make modifications to Portrait Mode pictures on MacOS you need macOS 10.13 with Photos 3.0.
  • Pictures taken using Portrait Mode are saved as JPEG and not the High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEIC) format.
  • If you back up to Google Photos you can change the Depth uploaded. Simply find a photo that was taken in Portrait Mode, Click Edit, the second icon on the bottom right, then click on the same icon, and you'll see the Depth adjustment on the bottom. (Apparently, this isn't available in the Web Version only in Google Photos iOS app)

Image Dimensions

Front Camera 3088x2316
Rear Camera 4032x3024



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The iPhone XS Max is the most powerful iPhone Apple has ever made. I wanted to learn how to take the most advantage of the capabilities of the device and see how it so much better than my old iPhone 6s Plus.


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