Live photos are basically three second movie files—3D press the photo and watch it move. The cool thing, though, is you can edit them in the Photos app just like they were any other photo. Here’s how to edit your live photos, as well as change the key photo and video length, and convert them to different formats.
How to Edit the Crop, Color, and Contrast of Your Live Photos
Apple has tried really hard to make Live Photos as simple and easy to work with as regular images. Despite having a three second video embedded in the file, all the editing tools in the Photos app work as normal.
Open a Live Photo in the Photos app, and then tap the “Edit” option.
Use the crop, filter, and adjustments tools to make any changes you want. Edits you make are applied to both the photo and the video. We won’t go into detail on those tools here, but check out our guide to cropping and editing photos on the iPhone or iPad for the full rundown.
When you’re happy with the changes, tap “Done” to save them.
How to Change the Key Photo and Video Length
The main still image of a Live Photo (what you see when you’re just looking at it normally) is called the “key photo” and you can change it if you want. After all, you’ve got a few seconds worth of frames to play with.
This is great for those situations when you just miss the moment you want to capture by a split second. The one downside to this is that the video frames are slightly lower resolution than the actual still image, so you are giving up some quality. For sharing on social media, you should be fine, since sites like Facebook reduce the quality of your images anyway.
Open the Live Photo in the Photos app, and then tap the “Edit” option.
Select a new keyframe from the timeline below the photo, and then tap the “Make Key Photo” button that pops up. You can drag your finger if you want to scrub along the timeline, which will give you more precise control over which frame you pick.
You can also cut the length of the video. Tap on either of the handles at the left and right ends of the timeline, and then drag the handle to where you want the video to start or end.
When you’re finished, tap “Done” to save the changes.
How to Convert a Live Photo to a Still Photo
You also can convert a Live Photo to a still photo—which makes the file much smaller and easier to share—by going to the Edit screen and tapping the “Live” option, but there’s an even easier way.
Head to the Live Photo you want to convert into a still image, and then tap the “Share” icon.
Select the “Duplicate” option from the share sheet, and then choose the “Duplicate as Still Photo” option.
This way, you save a copy as your new still photo without deleting the Live Photo.
How to Convert a Live Photo into an Animated GIF
Open the Live Photo, and then swipe up.
You’ll see four options here:
- Live: just a regular Live Photo.
- Loop: a GIF that loops. Once it reaches the end, it starts again from the beginning.
- Bounce: a GIF that plays forward and then plays again in reverse.
- Long Exposure: merges all the frames into a single image to emulate a long exposure photo.
Select the “Loop” or “Bounce” options to save and share your live photo as an animated GIF.
I’m a big fan of Live Photos. They can capture the atmosphere of an event in a way that a still photo sometimes can’t. Now you know how to make the most of them in post-production.