Dealing with “Live” Photos


Today’s Question: There are some MOV files among the JPEGs [downloaded from my iPhone]. Did I hit the “Live” function when making the photo? I’m guessing that’s the answer since each clip is about three seconds long. Is there a way to extract a single image–maybe from the beginning or the end–from these three-second “live” shots?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, what you are describing indicates that you captured some Live Photos on your iPhone. The latest version of Lightroom will automatically include a JPEG image in addition to the MOV that represents the Live Photo. You could also convert the Live Photos to “normal” photos on your iPhone before downloading so you would only have a still image. In addition, you could use the Apple Photos application to export JPEG still images based on the Live Photo captures.

More Detail: The “Live Photo” feature for the camera on iPhones enables you to capture dynamic photos, which can be thought of as a variation on a three-second video clip. This feature is enabled by tapping on the Live Photo icon in the Camera app. This icon looks something like a “target”, with a series of concentric circles. When the icon is yellow the Live Photo feature is enabled, and when it is white (with a slash through the icon) the Live Photo feature is disabled.

Even if you captured a photo as a Live Photo, you can actually disable the Live Photo effect for individual photos before downloading them. This would result in downloading a “normal” photo rather than a Live Photo. In the context of downloading directly from your iPhone, a Live Photo would otherwise be represented by both a video (MOV file) and a still photo.

To turn off the Live Photo effect for an image first locate a Live Photo capture in the Photos app on your phone. Then tap the photo (if necessary) to reveal the various controls, and tap the Edit link. At the top-center of the photo in editing mode you’ll see an indication of the Live Photo status with the same icon used to enable the feature in the Camera app. You can tap that icon to turn off Live Photo for the image. Then, when you download photos, the photos you turned off the Live Photo feature for will be downloaded as still images without the video file.

As noted above, you could also make sure you have upated Lightroom Classic to a newer version that supports the updated capture formats for the iPhone (such as HEIC), in which case a still image will automatically be included when you import Live Photo captures.