How to use High-Key Light Mono, great new iOS 13 Portrait Lighting effect

Every time I open the For you tab in the Photos app, each "effect suggestion" is Illuminate this portrait photo with studio lighting . All and each one. I am not even exaggerating. And I'm never interested, because Studio Lighting, along with all the other effects of Portrait Lighting, is crap. Now, however, with the new iOS 13 High-Key Light Mono effect, there is at least one portrait lighting effect that is worth using.

This is why High-Key Mono looks great and how to use it.

High-Key Light Mono

High-Key Light Mono uses the depth data of the Portrait mode of the iPhone to separate the subject from the background, then removes that background. It's as if you took the picture in a studio with a seamless white background. The effect also adjusts the lighting, so it looks like you took the picture under bright studio lights.

But, unlike the existing Stage Light Mono effect, which does the same but adds a black background, High-Key Light Mono is great. You can separate a whole person from your environment, not just your face. And the bleaching of the background seems much more convincing than the blackout of the Stage Light effect.

Perhaps this is because we are used to seeing this high-profile studio portrait style, while dramatic and dark images usually have some environmental objects that trap the backlight.

Whatever the reason, this effect looks great. The separation of the subject and the background is fantastic, with the camera managing to detect even the finest hairs. It has even improved a lot with transparent glasses frames.

How to shoot with High-Key Light Mono

  The High-Key Light Mono effect of the iPhone 11 looks pretty radiant, right?
Pretty rad, right? [19659011] Photo: Apple

Shooting with the High-Key Light Mono effect is easy. Simply open the Camera application and choose Portrait mode . Then, slide the wheel of the vertical light selector to the left and select the last wheel icon. You will see a circle on the screen. Place your subject's face in this circle and the camera will activate vertical lighting. You will know when the camera has recognized a face, as it will immediately erase the background.

You can also use the new intensity slider to reduce the subject's processing. The background remains white, but the lighting of the human being can become more or less rigid.

How to add High-Key Mono later

You can also return to any Portrait photo at any time, and add Mono High Key Light. The only drawback is that the photo must have been taken using an iPhone with iOS 13. Vertical photos taken with iOS 12 cannot have the effect applied.

  If you took a photo in portrait mode on iOS 13, you will see the new Portrait Effect Icon next to the depth of field indicator.
If you took a photo in portrait mode on iOS 13, you'll see the new portrait effect icon next to the depth of field indicator.
Photo: Cult of Mac

However, if you shot a photo on iOS 13, you can add the new High-Key Light Mono effect in the Photos app on your iPad, provided you are also running iOS 13. You will know that the Photo was taken with iOS 13, because it will have a new portrait effect icon in depth of field reading, as in the previous screenshot.

No filters

A disadvantage of the High-Key Light Mono effect, and all other portrait lighting effects, is that you cannot combine them with the integrated filters. But you can touch the small button and apply third-party filters. We have a complete publication on how to add new filters to the Photos application, and it applies here. I like the amazing Flare of Iconfactory, which is still excellent even though it hasn't been updated for four years, but there are many other options.

If you can't find the filter you want, you can always open the resulting image in your favorite photo editing application: Pixelmator Photo and Darkroom are excellent.

It's a shame I can't combine filters with iOS portrait effects. On the other hand, it is only worth using one of the portrait effects. And this, combined with the amazing new photo editing tools of iOS 13, is already quite exciting.

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