With the arrival of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, Apple is introducing a new Camera app feature called “Photographic Styles.” This effectively allows you to make edits in real-time, but it’s more than simply tweaking a few parameters.
More Than Just a Filter
Photographic Styles integrate directly into Apple’s image processing pipeline, which means the feature isn’t the same as applying a filter or tweaking a photo later in the editing process.
Instead, a style can be selected before you shoot to enhance particular characteristics in the scene. As an example, two of Apple’s four default styles are “rich contrast” which accentuates darker details, and “vibrant” for colors that pop.
You might be thinking that adding contrast or tweaking saturation in post-production is already possible, and you’re right. What makes Photographic Styles different is that these adjustments are accounted for in the image processing pipeline. This means that unlike a filter the adjustments are made intelligently, with different parts of the image adjusted accordingly.
As a result, important elements in an image like skin tones can be preserved, while other areas (like a sunset, or a flower) are tweaked. This can be hard to get right when applying filters or making tweaks after shooting that affect the image as a whole.
Photographic Styles Can Be Adjusted Too
Apple allows some wiggle room for further adjusting its default styles, like adding warmth or changing the “tone” for a slightly different look. It’s not clear yet whether Apple will allow iPhone owners to add or define their own styles.
It will be interesting to see how Apple adds to Photographic Styles in future updates as the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro mature. In the past, the company has overhauled features and added new ones in incremental and major iOS updates, including night theme dark mode and new Animoji characters.
Photographic Styles are just part of Apple’s camera overhaul arriving with the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models. Other improvements include new lenses and more sensitive sensors, Cinematic Mode for smooth focus pulls and image stabilization, and ProRes support on the Pro models.
Do More With Your iPhone Camera
The iPhone has one of the best camera systems of any smartphone, whether you’ve got a Pro model or not. Features like Night Mode use software to enhance dark exposures, while ProRAW unlocks the maximum potential of the iPhone’s sensor.
Looking for some basic tips to get better shots? Check out our guide to taking better photos with your iPhone.