Mobility

How to shoot and edit raw iPhone photos

Using the right iOS and iPhone combination, Apple users can capture raw images using their smartphones. Here's how to get better photos from your iPhone.

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Image: CNET

Apple's iOS 10 release enables better photo capture and image editing than any previous Apple operating system. Support for raw photography, which has been used by professional photographers for a long time, deserves the credit. Mated to a compatible iOS device, iOS 10 introduces the ability for a variety of iOS devices to capture raw photographs, typically using the DNG file format.

So-called raw photos retain more information than commonly used JPG files. DNG files record more image detail, including exposure, lighting, color, and other elements. The additional image information enables significantly enhanced editing capabilities using a variety of post-production tools, such as Apple's Photos app or Adobe's Lightroom.

Running iOS 10 and a compatible app, such as ProCam 4 ($4.99), Camera+ ($2.99), Lightroom (free and subscription versions), or Will Global's Manual ($3.99), users can capture raw photos. Apple states these iOS devices support raw photo capture using the device's back camera: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, and iPad Pro 9.7".

Take and edit raw photos using Lightroom on an iPhone 7 running iOS 10

  1. Open Lightroom and permit Lightroom to access the device's camera and photos if you haven't already.
  2. Tap the Camera icon found in the bottom right-hand corner of the Lightroom app.
  3. Ensure the app is set to capture images as DNG files. An icon reading either JPG or DNG appears at the top center of the screen when taking pictures—tap the icon to change the setting using the File Format radio button that will appear.
  4. Once a DNG photo is created using Lightroom, the image can be edited using the Adobe application. Select Organize from the application's top center dropdown menu and tap Lightroom Photos.
  5. Tap the DNG photo you wish to edit.
  6. Use the supplied Crop, Presets, Edit, and Local Adjust icons to manipulate the photo, including exposure, color, white balance, temperature, tint, contrast, highlights, shadow, vibrance, and saturation.
  7. If you wish to edit the raw photo using Photos, transfer the Lightroom photo by selecting the image and tapping the Share icon.
  8. Select Save To Camera Roll, which places the file within the iOS device's photos.
  9. Edit the file using the familiar Apple Photos interface.

SEE: The iPhone 7 Plus camera is 'Apple's best' but what does that mean? (CNET)

Alternatively, an app such as Manual mated to iOS 10 and, in my case, an iPhone 7, places a variety of raw photo capture settings at your fingertips. In addition to supporting RAW files, Manual permits adjusting aperture to better specify the depth of field for a photograph, shutter speed, film speed (ISO), focus, and white balance. Once provided Camera Roll access, Manual automatically saves the images it records to the iOS device's photos storage.

Summary

Leveraging iOS 10 and a compatible iOS device and application, iPhone users can capture raw photos, which better support making everything from subtle to dramatic edits than do traditional JPG files. Whether an image requires a minor enhancement or a dramatic makeover, the iPhone's newfound raw photo support significantly expands the mobile device's capabilities.

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About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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