How to get the most out of Live Photos on iPhone 6S, 6S Plus

Taking a stunning Live Photo can be tricky.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
2 min read

Jason Cipriani/CNET

The camera app on Apple's new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus has a new shooting mode called Live Photos. At its core a live photo is a regular photo, only Apple tacks on a few seconds of video -- before and after you press the shutter button -- to bring it to life.

The truth is, Live Photos are easy to mess up. Lowering your phone, for example, before it has stopped recording the last portion of video is all too common, in my experience. Here are a few tips to help you get the shot you want with Live Photos.

First and foremost: you are taking a photo. Don't approach it solely as a short video; doing so can result in a blurry photo. Remember, when you share a Live Photo the first thing people see is the actual picture. If you can, use a tripod to avoid shaky video.

The best Live Photos I've taken have involved some sort of motion within the shot: A photo of a street art on a building with a person walking a dog beneath it or a group of kids dancing. Try to shoot subjects that lend themselves to a bit of motion, but not an overbearing amount. Live photos with subtle movement seem to come out the best.

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Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Most importantly, remember to keep your phone in place until the "Live" indicator disappears. When present, your phone is recording video as part of the Live Photo. A future software update to iOS will use the iPhone's accelerometer to detect when a phone is moved and stop recording automatically.

Then again, we could be looking at Live Photos all wrong. A year from now, who knows, perhaps we'll be taking selfies while riding a roller coaster and screaming our heads off. Actually, now that I think about it, maybe that's exactly what Live Photos are meant to capture. The point is, there's no single best use case for Live Photos. Experiment and have some fun with them.