If the iPhone’s Portrait Lighting already impresses you, then you better check out Apollo. This $1.99 iOS app adds immersive lighting effects that are–dare I say–better than what Apple’s version offers.
The Apollo app uses depth map from dual cameras to create the effects so, it only currently works with the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus and X. Nevertheless, it does a great job at applying different lighting effects at any angle. In fact, you can even put a light source behind a subject to act as a rim light. You can add up to 20 light sources in one image and seamlessly adjust the color, intensity, and distance. Check out the short video clip below to see it in action:
As you can see, it works in three-dimensional space, and the effects look acceptably realistic. You can even adjust the shadows and the effective range for better lighting control. However, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t work in all situations. The guys from dpreview tested the app, and some of the resulting pictures looked somewhat artificial. Nonetheless, I can see it working well in certain conditions, especially if you’re subtle with using the effects.
Unfortunately, once you add the lighting effects, you can’t blur the background, anymore. So you’ll have to decide whether the background blur or the lighting is more important.
The Apollo app is still not perfect by any means. However, it does have a lot of potential if you figure out how to overcome its limitations. I can’t wait for later versions to come out and see what else this app has to offer.