iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus: How to Use Live Photos

One of the most delightful features in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is something called Live Photo. If you have been taking pictures on your 6 or 6 Plus, chances are that you have been using Live Photo without realising using it. This simple guide will introduce you to this future, give you basics of how to use it, and point out its limitations. Let’s start off by defining this feature.

What is a Live Photo?

In a nutshell, Live Photos is an attempt to add jazz up still photos a little bit. According to Apple, its aim is to capture the moments before and after a still photo. As such, rather than merely take a still photo, it captures a 1.5-second video before and after the photo. In the end, you have a 3-second video on top of the photo.

The 3 seconds video includes background sounds. The end result is that a Live Photo seems like a really short video. When you view a Live Photo, it really does seem alive. The effect is exciting especially when there is movement prior to and after taking the photo.

At a slightly technical level, a Live Photo is actually a combination of a three-second .mov file and a still .jpg file. The video is captured from the moment you turn on the camera, until 1.5 seconds after you tap the shutter button. However, only the 3 seconds immediately before and after the photo are saved.

How To Take A Live Photo

By default, the Live Photo feature is enabled on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus native camera app. As such, the first time you use the front-facing or rear-facing camera, you will almost certainly take a Live Photo. You may just not know that you have taken one.

Just to be sure, check the Live Photo icon at the top of the screen in the camera app. The icon looks like three concentric circles, and is located between the HDR and the timer. When Live Photos is enabled, it will be highlighted in yellow.

In case the icon isn’t highlighted, then tap onto it. The icon will become highlighted, indicating that Live Photos is enabled. The word “Live” will also appear slightly below the icon. This indicates that your camera is ready to take a Live Photo.

To take the Live Photo, focus your camera on whatever you want to take, tap the shutter button, and hold your phone in position for about 1.5 seconds. When the video recording is complete, the word “Live” will disappear. This will indicated that you have successfully taken a Live Photo.

How To View A Live Photo

You can view a Live Photo on the photo app. Just open the Photo app, and look for the photo. Once you have located it, tap the photo and hold it for a few seconds. Upon releasing it, the photo will come alive.

What You Can Do With A Live Photo

Beyond viewing, there are several things you can do with a Live Photo. For instance, you can share a Live Photo with other Apple devices including previous versions of iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads and Macs. All these devices can view Live Photos – as long as they are running the latest OS’.

You can also share a Live Photo on non-Apple services Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. However, only Facebook supports the Live Photo component. When uploading the photo, you have the option of making it Live. In case you do that, even non-Apple users can view the Live Photo.

For other services like Twitter and Tumblr, you can only share the still part of the Live Photo. You cannot share the pre and post-photo video.

Besides sharing, you can also set use a Live Photo as an animated wallpaper for your Home Screen, Lock Screen or both. To do this, go to Settings, select Wallpaper, find Live Photo on your Camera Roll and then tap Set.

You can also edit the Live Photo. However, you will only be able to edit the photo part, and then save it separately. In case you don’t do this, then any changes you make will be undone when you view the Live Photo.

Limitations of The Live Photo

The Live Photo is a great feature. However, it does have its limitations. For starters, you cannot edit the entire Live Photo. You can only edit the still photo. Even performing basic edits on the video is impossible. This means you have to be triple careful when taking a Live Photo.

Secondly, it is impossible to mute the sound when taking a Live Photo. This basically means that any background noise is captured. This can be irritating especially if the noise isn’t appealing. Hopefully, future updates will improve on this feature.

Some Tips For Using Live Photo

-Hold The Phone Still Until “Live” Disappears: When taking a traditional photo, you can move the camera immediately after clicking the shutter. For a Live Photo, this isn’t the case. The camera records for 1.5 seconds after the photo. To get a good Live Photo, hold the phone still, otherwise you may end up recording a clip which will ruin the photo. The good thing is that the app gives you a cue when it has finished recording – the word “Live” disappears.

-Be Careful About The Composition and Lighting: Remember, it is currently impossible to edit the video part of the Live Photo. As such, you have to be careful about aspects like picture composition and lighting. Otherwise, you may be stuck with a Live Photo you aren’t pleased with, but can do nothing to alter.

-Think About Storage: Each Live Photo takes about twice the storage space of a normal photo. This is because it contains an extra .mov file. This means that Live Photos can consume your space much faster than normal photos. Also, it is a little difficult to delete the video parts and leave the photo. This means that you have to plan for your storage beforehand.

In a nutshell, these are a few basics about the Live Photo feature which is found in iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Therefore, if you haven’t been utilizing this feature, then begin using it to spice up your photos. Cheers!