Hot to Create Shallow Depth of Field Photos with an iPhone

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In Photography ‘depth of field’ refers to the range between the nearest and most distant objects in a photo that are acceptably in focus. Often times it is desirable to have a narrow depth of field to add interest to your photo. The simple photo below is made more interesting by having a very narrow depth of field, which brings only the closest clothes hanger into focus.


Achieving a narrow depth of field typically requires a SLR camera. But with the method I’ve outlined below, you can simulate a narrow depth of field with your iPhone.

Step 1:
Download the Big Lens app from the Apple App Store. Here’s the icon for the app. When I picked it up it was ninety-nine cents.


Step 2:
Choose a photo to work with. Here’s my raw photo I’ll start with:

Step 3:
Open the Big Lens app and load the photo into the app.

Step 4:
Once the photo is loaded you can use your finger to paint the area that you’d like to keep in focus. Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect, the app has a handy tool to help you clean up what you’ve done. As you can see, my coloring skills aren’t very good and I’ve gone outside the lines.

Step 5:
Once you’ve colored in the area you want to keep in focus, click on the Auto icon at the bottom of the screen. This will clean up your coloring job by trying to find the edge of the item you’ve colored.

Step 6:
You can then zoom in to clean up anything you don’t like with an eraser tool or a brush tool. Here is the zoom:

Step 7:
Here you can see I’ve erased out just above the collar.

Step 8:
Once the final mask all cleaned up, you can click on the Next link in the top right of the app.

Step 9:
Now it is time to start adding the blur effects that will simulate the depth of field. I’ve clicked on Next to get to this screen and then clicked on the Aperture icon in the lower left. This gives you some control over how much to blur the background.

Step 10:
This app also allow you to add some general photo filters to give your photo a little more interest.

Here is my final photo. The whole process took about two minutes. Very cool indeed.

For comparison, here is the side by side:

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