4 Ways to Create Depth of Field Photos Without an iPhone 7 Plus

One of the key new features in the iPhone 7 (plus at least) is the dual cameras and their fake depth of field effect. This feature lets you create an effect that previously would have required a dedicated camera with expensive lens to recreate. Unfortunately, not everyone has an iPhone 7 Plus. So here are a few alternative methods for how you can create great looking depth of field and bokeh photos using whatever iOS device you currently have.

The Instagram method

For a very long time certain camera apps have had fake depth of field and blur effects. Instagram being a famous example. You can set radial and linear blur whereby the areas outside of a selected part are blurred to different degrees depending on the settings you choose. This has been around for a long time and the fact that people are excited about the iPhone 7 Plus helps to show it’s limitations.
The big issue with fake depth of field is when elements that should be part of the same depth are blurred while elements that shouldn’t be blurred are. Take a classic headshot and background. Someone’s head should be in focus and the background out of focus. Unfortunately, the radial blur will blur someone’s body just as much as their head. Furthermore, if you get things lined up ever so slightly wrong, you’ll end up either not blurring all the background, or blurring part of someone’s head as well.
Even when you use this method, you won’t get the classic bokeh balls that you can get with a lens.
Check out Camera+ for these effects (or instagram)

Stitch layers together

If you want a bokeh ball background, there are ways you can do this with just your phone but to add it to a headshot, you need to cheat and stitch two images together. First take your headshot and cut out the background using a photo editing app like Adobe Photoshop Mix or Pixelmator. Then you need a bokeh image. You can cheat and download one off the internet OR use a macro lens attachment to create a bokeh image. Then use that bokeh image as the background. Jobs done. There are even some apps which supply bokeh backround images for you to use like

Apps like Focus Twist and Bokeh lens

There are some apps like focus blur which promise to help produce fake depth of field shots via creating an depth of field map using video instead of a single image. These can work but they require you to set them up right and there is no guarantee they will achieve the result you hope for.


Finally, Pixelmator has some features which can help you create fake depth of field. This time, select all the image that is behind your subject and you want blurred. Then apply the blur effect at the level you wish. The advantage of this approach is you can select various elements and blur them to different degrees to really recreate that depth of field effect. Again this won’t give Bokeh balls where the light is and it will take more time than other effects, but it is the most reliable effect.

  • Check out Pixelmator to create great portraits and more.

The hassle of post processing

The reason this new iPhone 7 plus feature is so attractive is that it works nearly instantly with just a swipe to the left. Unlike these other options which require a different camera app or a lot of post processing and give very mixed results in the best of cases. Still hopefully they will give you some other options to create great looking depth of field portraits.

10 New iMessage Features in iOS 10

The huge standout feature of iOS 10 has been iMessages. The little updates have helped it move from an app I occasionally use with a couple of people on iPhones, to the app I wish everyone I knew used to communicate with. Whether this will ever happen and I’ll be able to communicate with friends who have Android devices over iMessage will have to remain to be seen (I’m not holding my breath) but there are some great new features in iMessages for iOS 10 that you should really check out.

1. Stickers

Stickers have come to iOS 10 and they’re great fun…well I think so. You can paste your stickers all over message from other people. Interestingly, they don’t pop up as a new message but instead are dropped into a conversation, allowing you to cover pictures or older messages as well as drop in a blank space.
There are a growing group of stickers out there which you might want to check out ranging from flags to Mario, crazy emoji to fake iMessages.
To use stickers either first download a set from the app store, then click on the app icon in the messages screen (alternatively, you can now go to the stickers app store once you’ve clicked the app icon). Now scrolls your apps and find the sticker set you wish to use. The long press and drag a sticker in place On the message.

2. Full screen effects (Lazers!)

What’s better than a birthday message? A birthday message with balloons floating up in the background. What’s better than that. Anything with lazers!
To use a full screen effect, type your message (you have to have a message) then long press the send button. A selection of options will appear, wait a second and at the top you’ll see two option. Bubble and screen. Click on screen and then slide between balloons, confetti, lazers, fireworks, and shooting stars.
Laser effect in iMessages iOS 10

3. Slam, Loud, gentle

Whisper and Shout are ways to show different levels of emphasis in your messages, either less or more. You can add more emphasis with a slam, which makes you message appear larger on the screen and SLAM down. Then there is the loud which makes the message big and wiggle on the screen. You can make it more subtle with a whisper which uses smaller font size.
To do this, type your message, then hold on the send key until you see a list of option, slide up or tap on the style you wish to use.

4. Invisible ink

Invisible ink makes a message which you can’t see until you tap on it to reveal the message. This doesn’t make the message private it’s just a bit of fun.
You do this in a similar way to slamming, loud and gentle messages. Hold the send key and select the first option, invisible ink.

5. Handwriting

An interesting feature on the iPad is that you can choose to write a handwritten message. This option is activated when you tap the handwriting icon (it looks like a swoop from a pen) on the extended keyboard interface. This is a way for you to use your Apple pencil as the input and send a personalised message not just typed text. Just don’t forget to dot your I’s with hearts.

6. Sketches

In iMessages for IOS 10 you can now sketch images and on top of photos as well as show off your beautiful handwriting. This is activated by pressing the heart icon which is to the left of the text input field. Now you can select a colour you want and then make a message and send it.

7. Digital Touch

Digital touch has been on the Apple watch for over a year now and now it is in all iMessages. This allows you to send different types of touches like a heartbeat, kiss, and even a fireball.
To get into digital touch, open imessages and instead of typing a message, tap the heart icon (the same as for handwriting )
In this screen you can also send touches by a variety of different interactions. To find out what these interactions are, tap the pictures to the right of the input screen.

8. Apps

The list of apps is almost constantly growing and by the time I finish this review I’m sure there will be more added. The basic idea is that apps can tie into your messages and allow you to do something more. This could be organize a time to meet up, plan a shopping trip via a share list or simple share a funny gif. The vast majority of these apps are stickers but that is not the only use and some have some great productivity applications…as well as good old fashioned fun.

9. Tapback response

Tapback responses let you send a quick response without needing to write anything. It’s basically like Facebooks reactions but in iMessages! All you do is double tap on a message and you can select the response you want to send. These include heart, thumbs up, thumbs down, haha, exclamation mark and question mark. A simple thumbs up can be handy to agree to something when you don’t have the time to write.

Tapback responses in iMessage 10

10. Website preview

The final feature is previews of webpages in you iMessage viewer. Now if you send (or receive) a message with a web link, you’ll get a preview of that web content. These previews might just be an icon or picture of the relevant page, but when a webpage has been set up with the correct metadata, you’ll get the title of the page and an image to go along with it. Even more exciting is that videos and audio can be played in messages if they support the open graph standards. This is the same technology powering the link previews that you see in Apple notes.

A More Fun and useful iMessages

All these features have combined to take imessages from a good app when people use iPhones (but not really that great) to a really exciting and fun messaging platform that I wished everyone I knew used. It’s that classic problem of there being 10 different messaging apps which don’t talk to each other, so someone creates a “better” one that will rule them all…and now there are 11 messaging apps. Choice is never bad for a consumer, but I wish we could all just settle on one.
Still these are great fun features to use with people who use iMessages.

How To Upload SEO Images to WordPress Using an iPad?

One of the things that really annoyed me about using WordPress with my iPad are the issues that arise when you try to upload an image to WordPress. There are a lot of elements to optimizing your images for SEO and social media. Unfortunately, when you upload from an iPad it does so in a way which is very bad for the SEO status of your images. If you want to have good SEO value then they should have a good descriptive name when they are uploaded so the images URL helps with SEO as well as the other elements which you can edit later. However, the iPad does some strange things when you export an image which give each image a generic title of Image.png in iOS 9 and a simple number in iOS 10. Luckily there are some methods round this to ensure you have good SEO data for your images.

Uploading images to a cloud service for good SEO

One of the easiest, but slightly messy ways to get round this issue is to upload your images (temporarily) to a cloud storage service like iCloud, Dropbox or Box. You can then use the new document picker in iOS 9 and iOS 10 to upload the image to WordPress. The key advantage with this method is that you can rename your image as you upload it to an SEO suitable title. That is something descriptive and using hyphens between words. For example I might upload an image and rename it to SEO-WordPress-Image-From-iPad.png

Wordpress Seo on iPad uploading using dropbox

FTP Upload to WordPress directly

An alternative is to avoid the whole WordPress file upload system all together and use an FTP client such as Transmit or the tools built into Coda and GoodReader to upload your images to your WordPress database. This requires a lot more site know how, setting up an FTP client and you’ll have to get the file name and rename it too, but the advantage here is that you don’t end up with a copy of your image on your cloud storage system which you need to delete.

Wordpress Seo on iPad uploading using Coda

Upload to another web service

If you have a different service for your images (such as Amazon S3) you can upload your images to that service, rename them and then embed them into your WordPress posts. This save you web hosting space and can help deliver images quicker than a poor quality Webhost. You can again rename these files for better SEO.

Do you have any alternative ideas how to upload images for good SEO?

These are the methods I’ve discovered by I’m not ruling out there being some other alternatives. Do you know of any other methods?