Tech conglomerate Apple recently released three iPhones for its flagship smartphone's eleventh generation line-up—the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR—with much fanfare. Besides gaining favourable hardware upgrades which improve the user's experience, another welcomed boost lies with the camera and its attached functions. The latter spells good news to both photography amateurs and enthusiasts.
What's new, you ask? Here's the lowdown on three photography features that'll make your iPhone snapshots a standout.
iPhone XS and XS Max are now able to capture more highlight and shadow detail in scenes. For example, some scenes that will show this benefit include:
(a) A person with a backlit background;
(b) A subject in a deep open shade of a building in a city;
(c) Indoor shots near a window;
(d) Evening captures at dusk or at night; and
(e) Subject (kids, babies, pets) in motion in mid-light conditions.
Extended Dynamic Range in video
iPhone XS and XS Max are now able to capture greater highlight details in video. For example, some scenes that will show this benefit include:
(a) Strongly lit daylight scenes;
(b) A person with a backlit background;
(c) A person in open shade;
(d) Interior shots with windows in the background; and
(e) Indoor artificial lights or lights reflecting off walls, surfaces or skin will maintain more detail.
Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
Portraits now feature a more sophisticated and nuanced bokeh (background blur) and all-new Depth Control to adjust the background blur. For example, some scenes that will show this benefit include:
(a) In bright daylight scenes, the bokeh will be most apparent where there are areas of high contrast (think: light coming through branches and leaves of a tree, or foliage with bright flowers in the background); and
(b) Cityscapes with point light sources (street lamps, neon signs, traffic lights, headlights of cars, etc.) in the background will reveal a beautiful bloom.
For creating the most pronounced bokeh, avoid excessively bright backlit scenes where too much of the background is saturated with light. In addition, the best portrait bokeh photos include subjects not in fast motion to produce the best sharpness and focus against the beautifully blurred background. And finally, make sure to tap 'Done' after adjusting the depth of field to see the final bokeh effect.
After the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max drop, a handful of adept Singaporean photographers wasted no time getting acquainted with its enhanced camera traits and software features. Esquire followed these iPhone-specialised lensmen on an exclusive Photowalk.
Here are their tips and tricks on how to capture digital photos with the iPhone XS and XS Max that rivals a DSLR.
Aik Beng Chia | @aikbengchia
"Make sure your subject is comfortable so they can feel natural and can be themselves, as this will have an impact on your portrait. You can also use the Depth Control feature on your iPhone XS and XS Max to help make the subject stand out and choose the aperture of the photo precisely."
"When it comes to low light photography, using iPhone XS and XS Max’s dual OIS and Smart HDR produces clean, crisp images with minimal noise, and it doesn’t resort to overexposing light sources."
Darren Soh | @darrensohphoto
"Use iOS apps to the fullest of their ability. For example, I use Sun Seeker to determine the direction for the sun—it has AR tech built in to show you in real time the passage of the sun as it moves across the sky. Other apps I use include Halide Camera and Hydra. The latter allows you to make super high res 24-megapixel images using computational photography of combining up to 60 images at one go, interpolating them into that large file. The Halide app allows you to shoot in fully manual mode—controlling both ISO settings and shutter speed."
"Use a table tripod for dusk or night shots to get the most of out every scene."
Ernest Goh | @theanimalbookco
"Use the optical zoom to do close-up images to get amazing details or to make tight crops in compositions to get interesting patterns."
Ivan Kuek | @phonenomenon
"When shooting in low light, make sure you hold your phone steady with two hands or rest it on a stable object like a table or against a pillar."
"To get the most from Portrait mode, make sure the background is a distance from the subject to create a better bokeh effect. Portrait mode is also very good for capturing not just people, but also food and other still life subjects."
Javan Ng | @javan
"Photography involving reflections doesn’t have to be restricted to water-based shots; be creative and try using other reflective surfaces such as mirrors, glass, metal and even ceramic or marble tiles. When taking reflection shots, you’ll want your camera to get as close to the surface of the puddle or mirror as possible to achieve that perfect reflection."
"Framing is essential! Use the elements of the space you’re in to create an interesting composition and experiment to discover what creates the greatest effect."
Yais Yusman | @_yaisyusman_
"When it comes to reflection shots, the most important key is to go as close as possible to the reflecting surface, water or windows. This will create a more symmetrical image and a nicer finish."
"Also, my all-time favourite apps are Snapseed and VSCO. The most helpful tools in Snapseed are definitely the selective adjustment and the new tool called perspectives. I use VSCO to put on some filter and making sure that my photos are of similar tones."
Yafiq Yusman | @_yafiqyusman_
"Puddle photography is a great way to still get amazing pictures even when the weather isn’t great. Make sure you hold your iPhone as close to the puddle as possible, that the image is straight and focus on the background rather than the foreground. To get interesting angles, try putting your iPhone horizontally and taking a panorama vertically to, for example, capture the height of buildings."
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are now available at Apple Orchard Road and Apple Online. The iPhone XR is now available for pre-order and will go on sale from 26 October. Header image is shot by @aikbengchia.