Q: How can I retrieve a still photo from the 1.5 seconds of an iPhone Live Photo before or after the official picture?
A: Live Photos — Apple’s format that captures a bit of the subject’s movement right before and after the “official” picture — can be edited. In addition to adjusting the light, color and contrast of the shot, you can select a new “key photo,” which is the image you see in your picture library.
Open the Photos app on the iPhone and find the image you want to edit; Live Photos are also collected in their own Live Photos album on the app’s Albums tab. After you open the file, tap the Edit button in the upper-right corner of the screen. The picture opens in the Edit mode, where the familiar tools for cropping and enhancing the photo are available.
On a Live Photo in Edit mode, a strip of tiny thumbnail images also appears at the bottom of the screen. These images are the individual frames of the Live Photo, and you can scroll across until you find the right picture. When you see the frame you want to use displayed in the center of the screen, tap the Make Key Photo button, then tap the Done button.
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After making that change, you should see the new still in your camera library. Live Photos do not work with many non-Apple apps, so sharing the picture with others online or with other devices means the image you edited will be the one seen by your friends.
Tapping off the Live Photos button on an image also turns it into a still photo. Apple’s own tools for editing Live Photos are included in its iOS 11 software, but for those using earlier versions of iOS, third-party apps like Motion Stills are an alternative.
Finding a scanner for the big jobs
Q: I have a lot of documents to scan, and with so many mobile phone apps that can make digital copies, is there any advantage to buying a scanner anymore? Is the quality that much better?
A: If you just have an occasional bill, receipt or other document to digitize, mobile apps that use your smartphone’s camera to capture the image are a convenient and portable solution. Many apps give you a choice of file formats for saving your documents (JPG and PDF are common) and you can instantly email the digital copies to others or upload them to an online file-storage site for safekeeping. Some mobile-scanning apps like Microsoft Word Lens can even convert a picture of a text page into a file you can edit, thanks to optical-character recognition software.
However, a traditional scanner does have advantages. For one, the scanner can help flatten the paper and make unwrinkled reproductions of the original document. Many inkjet printers include scan and copy functions, along with desktop software for cropping, rotating and enhancing the scans on a bigger screen. Optical character recognition and text search are also options with some programs.
If you have a large amount of paper to scan on a regular basis, a dedicated scanner with an automatic document feeder can help simplify the chore. Brother and Epson are among the companies that make models for less than $250.
Lightweight portable document scanners, which often cost between $200 and $300, are another option if you need relative mobility but do not want to use a smartphone app to capture images. Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times, favors the Epson WorkForce ES-300W (which has a 20-page feeder) as its pick for best portable document scanner.