Portrait mode pictures, where the subject is in sharp focus, even while the background is blurred out artistically (popularly called bokeh — see this Apple ad to understand it better), have become the rage ever since Apple introduced it in its iPhone range. However, for all the popularity that the Portrait Mode enjoys on the iPhone, the fact is that it is far from perfect.
Edges of subjects can often get blurred by accident and then there is the most irritating aspect of them all — you have to keep moving the camera back and forth until it itself tells you that it can take a portrait shot. So well, you actually do not have too much control over the snap. Yes, you can alter the level of blurring, but you cannot really take a picture wherever you wish and then simply blur whatever you want.
Unless you are using Fore Photo, that is.
Fore Photo is simply an application that lets you control what you wish to blur and what you wish to keep normal in a photograph. It is described as a “smart portrait editing app” in the App Store, but it is actually much more than that. Its biggest strength is that it works on just about any photograph. You do not have to shoot a photograph in portrait mode to be able to use Fore.
What you would ideally need is simply a picture with a clear subject and background to blur out. No, there is no requirement a face in the picture. You can choose an inanimate object to be the subject, and still get great portrait mode shots.
And it all works incredibly simply and smoothly. You just have to open the app and then select a picture you want portrait mode on. The app will automatically try to identify the subject(s) and then will blur out whatever it feels is not important, or is the background in the image. Sounds cool?
Well, it can get cooler, because well obviously, the app itself does not always get things right, so you can actually step into the act. Using an onscreen highlighter and eraser, simply choose what you want blurred out and what you want kept in focus. You can also control the level of blurring in the background if you wish. The result more often than not is a terrific shot that looks right out of not just bokeh mode, but sometimes like stuff camera dreams are made of.
No, it is not perfect. You cannot take a photograph from within the application, for instance — you already need to have a photograph ready to use in the app. Then again, you cannot actually use it to sharpen areas that have been blurred by pictures taken in the iPhone’s portrait mode (but hey, we reckon you will not be using portrait mode as often with this app around).
And yes, we just wish some of the editing tools were sharper. If you have stubby fingers then you will find the brush and eraser a little difficult to handle. But hey, on the flip side, you can access most of the features of the app for free (you can make in-app purchases to unlock additional features). Our biggest complaint is that at the time of writing, this is an iPhone-only app. Given how many Android phones are out there, we really think an Android version would have helped.
Still all said and done, we really think that this is one app every iPhone and iPad user who is interested in photography should be using. It is a whole lot more convenient than that odd Portrait Mode. And well, it does give you more control.
Download Fore Photo for the iPhone/iPad from here.