Live Photo Confusion


Today’s Question: When I import images from my iPhone 12 Pro Max into Lightroom Classic, each image is accompanied by a 2-second video of itself. I wonder why that is happening and how to stop it. When I look at images on the phone, the videos are not there (or at least not obvious).

Tim’s Quick Answer: The photos with short accompanying videos are from the “Live Photo” feature on the iPhone. You can disable that within the Camera app on your iPhone for future captures.

More Detail: The iPhone Camera app includes a feature called Live Photo that is something of a cross between a photo and a video. It is like a 3-second video, but not exactly the same in terms of the number of frames and the quality of the frames beyond the primary capture.

Live Photo captures can’t be shared with the animation intact with all forms of sharing. However, if you swipe back and forth between Live Photo captures in the Photos app on your iPhone you’ll notice the movement of the subject of the photo briefly.

The animation effect of Live Photo captures can be used for various creative effects, including a looping playback and a long exposure effect. However, they aren’t easy to share with this type of effect intact outside the Apple Photos ecosystem.

Personally, I prefer to capture normal photos or video clips, not Live Photos. One of the reasons Live Photos tend to create confusion is that it is easy to accidentally enable the feature. You can turn it off (or on) by tapping the icon that has several concentric circles, almost looking like a target. The location will vary depending on your phone and operating system version, but you will likely see it at the top-right of the screen in the Camera app.

When you turn off the Live Photo feature there will be a slash through the icon for the Live Photo button. That will ensure you’re only capturing normal photos (or videos) rather than Live Photos. That, in turn, will mean that you no longer have an extra video file accompanying your still photo captures.

Note that you can filter your photos in Lightroom Classic to show only videos by clicking the “Videos” button associated with the Kind control on the Attributes tab of the Library Filter bar at the top of the grid view display in the Library module. That can make it easier to locate the videos that came along with your Live Photo captures. Just be sure that you’re only deleting videos from Live Photos, not videos you intentionally captured as videos.