Ever since Portrait mode came out in 2016 with the iPhone 7 Plus, it has become one of the most used Camera app features today. It's no surprise, really. Portrait mode lets you take DSLR-quality, portrait style photos that are great for social media or your professional portfolio. And you can even use Portrait mode for inanimate objects and even your pets.
Portrait mode is pretty much available on all of the best iPhones today, including the iPhone 13 Pro. While the native Photos app lets you edit your Portrait mode images with basic tools, sometimes you just need an app that can add a little more pizazz to your portraits. Here are the best apps to edit Portrait mode photos on your iPhone and iPad.
I've been using Darkroom for several years now, and it's one of my preferred photo editing apps in my massive arsenal. In fact, if I even edit my photos these days to go up on my Instagram, I probably will touch it up in Darkroom first.
Darkroom is not only great for all of your photo editing needs, but it also gives you full control of your Portrait mode images. If you select a Portrait mode image in Darkroom, you can adjust the depth of field, and then even fine tune color settings (i.e. brightness, contrast, etc.) for either the foreground, background, or both! However, Darkroom won't have things like changing the shape of bokeh in the background, but that's what other apps are for. Still, Darkroom is a good Swiss Army knife when it comes to all of your photo editing needs, including Portraits.
Darkroom lets you adjust DoF blur, along with color settings for both foreground and background individually or together.
If you're looking to experiment with your Portrait mode photos, then Focos is a great app for that. For example, if you want to add shapes to your bokeh, then Focos gets the job done.
With Focos, you can use it to take photos with a shallow depth of field, without having to manually paint or make selections on what to blur. You can even get true 3D photos with Focos, which is nice. A speciality with Focos is the ability to simulate large apertures, which can result in bokeh effects that are usually only possible with DSLR cameras and lenses. This includes various shapes, like hearts and circles, which can really make your Portrait mode photos pop. And if you're not satisfied with a photo, you can even re-focus the image after the fact. Image not bright enough? Focos can also add multiple lights in a 3D space, and so much more.
For serious Portrait mode editing, Focos is one of the best options out there.
Re-focus images after the fact, get unique bokeh shapes, and so much more with your Portrait mode photos.
Anamorphic Cinematic Filters
Those who want to turn their Portrait mode shots into something more cinematic will want to look at the Anamorphic Cinematic Filters app. This specific app uses anamorphic blurs to create something dramatic enough that looks like a movie.
Anamorphic Cinematic Filters uses the Metal engine to make realistic cinematic bokeh. Using AI, Anamorphic can automatically detect people in images and apply the anamorphic lens blur in an optimized fashion for the best possible photo. You can turn any photo into a Portrait mode photo with Anamorphic, and it comes with all of the photo editing tools that you may need. And best of all, Anamorphic is just a one time purchase, so no in-app purchases to deal with.
Turn your Portrait mode photos into a cinematic masterpiece.
FabFocus - Portrait Mode Blur
Another great app if you want the best Portrait mode photos in a few taps is FabFocus. It makes use of advanced image recognition in order to make your photo editing life easier.
With FabFocus, it has automatic people detection, so it will use AI to blur out the background. If there is already depth information, then it works even faster. You can even use FabFocus itself as a camera, giving you more control over the native Camera app. Editing tools in FabFocus let you adjust the amount of background blur, shape of bokeh (like hearts or stars), brightness and saturation of foreground and background independently, and even refine what is actually in the foreground if you're not satisfied with what is already in focus.
Even though you can accomplish some of these things in the other apps we've mentioned already, FabFocus is a one-time purchase, so you don't need a subscription to access such features.
Intelligently blur the background, adjust foreground and background colors independently, and even change the shape of bokeh.
Phocus: Portrait Mode Camera
Want Portrait mode video editing too? Then Phocus is the app for you.
Phocus has a simple designed interface that is easy to use and understand for pretty much everyone. It also has advanced person recognition technology, so it can detect people and automatically blur the background. You can even drop a video into Phocus, and it will transform it into a Portrait mode video. And if you want to get extra creative, Phocus has different styles that you can transfer over to your Portrait mode photos and video, including a new Cartoon Mode. You'll also find advanced editing tools like independently adjusting color for foreground and background, changing entire backgrounds, overlays, and more. If you want your Portrait mode pictures and video clips to stand out, then Phocus lets you go a step further.
Phocus is an app that helps your Portrait mode pictures and video stand out from the rest.
No DSLR needed for Portrait mode
Portrait mode has been one of my favorite features of the iPhone ever since it arrived a few years back. I often take Portrait mode pictures and selfies at Disneyland, and I love using it for pets too. Plus, who can resist a good Portrait shot of some delectable food? If you need a great app for editing those Portrait mode photos, then make sure to give these ones a try. And don't forget to check out some of our other recommendations for best photo editing apps if you need more.
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
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