How to take 3D pictures on iPhone

How to take 3D pictures on iPhone

orange, white, and striped 3d graphics of makeup on plain purple background. - 3d pictures iPhone
How do you take 3d pictures on iPhone?

Creating 3d pictures on iPhone doesn’t really involve a 3d camera. But before we explore that, let’s first have a recap.

3d photos, also known as stereograms, have been around since the 1800s. You can only imagine the bulky equipment and apparatus they needed to capture stereograms.

Meanwhile, since they were introduced to Facebook almost a year ago, many social media experts are predicting that 3d photos are the future of social media. 

The good news is that you can easily create 3d photos with your iPhone. Of course, you don’t need knowledge in stereoscopy or even animation.

You don’t even need fancy editing apps. You just need a subject, your dual-camera iPhone, and a Facebook app.

Just follow our guidelines here on how to create them!

What you need to know about taking 3d pictures on iPhone

3d white duck on iPhone. - 3d pictures iPhone
3d photos on social media are interactive photos with extra depth.

Before you can upload or create 3d pictures on iPhone, it’s important that you know how they actually work. This way, it’s easier for you to understand the guidelines we’re going to share here. Plus, you’ll spend less time searching and watching the wrong tutorials on YouTube.

How do 3d photos work? 

3d photos have more depth than regular photos, allowing the subject of the photo to “move”. On Facebook, a 3d photo will move as you scroll up and down on your newsfeed. 

Meanwhile, you can create 3d pictures on iPhone provided that you own an iPhone with a dual-camera system and Portrait Mode. This is because Facebook can turn a Portrait Mode photo (available on iPhone 7 Plus and other models) into a 3d photo. And to do that, Facebook will need data from your dual-camera iPhone’s depth map. 

side-by-side normal photo and depth map of a black car and its keys - 3d pictures iPhone
This is an example of a normal photo and its depth map. | Photo

In animation, a depth map contains data about the distance of a subject from a viewpoint.

In your dual-camera iPhone, a photo’s depth map is just like an image as well; however, instead of the pixels supplying the colors, they provide the distance of the camera to the subject.

Facebook needs that particular data from your iPhone’s depth map, so its software can make some changes to the Portrait Mode image, transforming it into a 3d-like photo.

Does the iPhone have a 3d camera? 

iPhone taking photo of star-shaped lamp. - 3d pictures iPhone
iPhone doesn’t have a 3d camera… yet.

The newer iPhone models don’t have a 3d camera, but their dual-camera systems make the 3d photo creation possible. That’s because these two-camera iPhones contain the extra depth map data that Facebook needs.

And with that data present in a photo, their software can make the necessary changes that turn a Portrait Mode photo into a 3d picture. 

Now, there have been whispers that the 2020 iPhone will contain a powerful 3d camera.

According to the rumors, this 3d camera will help the main camera recognize depth better. That means you can do more with it such as Augmented Reality (AR), which might open the doors for people to enjoy more virtual reality games.

What are the iPhone models that allow 3d photo creation?

If you own any of these iPhone models, then you can proceed to the rest of this article and read our guidelines. 

  • iPhone 7 Plus 
  • iPhone 8 Plus 
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

Related: Complete guide to capturing depth in iPhone photography

How to take 3d pictures on iPhone and upload them on Facebook

iPhone taking photo of a goldfish. - 3d pictures iPhone
Thanks to your iPhone camera, creating 3d photos is not a hassle at all.

Creating a 3d photo on your iPhone is not that complicated. All thanks to your camera’s Portrait Mode, you can create 3d photos on Facebook in a few minutes.

Compared to creating a 3d photo on your Mac or PC, you will go through fewer hoops if you create 3d pictures on iPhone. 

What you will need: 

  • A subject. It could be an inanimate object you’re comfortable shooting up close or your friend/colleague/significant other).
  • A well-lit place. It can be outside your office, a garden, the parking lot, or the rooftop. Any bright area will do.
  • Any photo-enhancing app—if you’re into post-processing before uploading a 3d photo).
  • Strong WiFi connection—if you’re planning to upload the photo immediately. 

1. First, take your photos in Portrait Mode. 

Girl taking a selfie using her iPhone - 3d pictures iPhone
You can create 3d photos using portrait mode photos from your iPhone.

Taking photos in regular mode won’t help you create a 3d photo. This is because the Portrait Mode will provide you with additional depth map data, which is crucial for creating a 3d photo on your Facebook app. 

  1. Launch your camera app. 
  2. Swipe to “Portrait” mode. 
  3. If your iPhone instructs you to move farther from the subject, do as it says so.
  4. After that, tap on the shutter button to capture the portrait. 

Basic but helpful tips for taking portrait mode photos: 

  • If you’re in a low-light environment, look for a spot that has good lighting. Portrait mode doesn’t work well in gloomy, poorly lit areas. 
  • Wait for the “Natural Light” option on your screen to turn yellow before you capture a photo. That means your iPhone successfully identified your subject and its background. On an iPhone 7 Plus, you will see the “Depth Effect” option instead. 

2. Launch your Facebook app and like the Facebook 360 page. 

Facebook 360 page - 3d pictures iPhone
Like the Facebook 360 page for more tips about 3d photos.

Creating a 3d photo on your Facebook app won’t work if you don’t like the page. 

  1. Open your Facebook app. 
  2. On the search bar, type Facebook 360. 
  3. Tap on their page and like it. 
  4. Close your Facebook app, so it will refresh and the 3d button will appear.

3. Upload your portrait mode photo to Facebook. 

Facebook app on iPhone. - 3d pictures iPhone
You need to upload your photo to Facebook to make a 3d photo.

Now it’s time to create 3d pictures on iPhone. All you have to do is just upload the pretty image you took earlier to Facebook—but this time, you will use the 3d photo button to upload it.

  1. Open your Facebook app again.
  2. Go to your Newsfeed.
  3. Tap the “What’s on your mind?” box and scroll down. 
  4. Press the “3d photo” option. 
  5. After that, Facebook will show a gallery of your photos taken in portrait mode. Select the photo you took earlier. 
  6. Facebook will now do the magic of turning your photo into a 3d photo. Wait for it.
  7. Tap the “Next” button at the lower right corner of the “What’s on your mind?” box.
  8. Your 3d photo is now ready in a draft. Type a witty caption and upload your pic. 

See? That wasn’t so hard, right? 

Some things to remember when creating a 3d photo on Facebook 

Like uploading other types of photo on social media, creating a 3d photo also has its perks. To make sure you’re getting the best out of it, just remember these things.

1. Use it to help boost engagement on your Facebook posts.

three pair of hands holding smartphones with their social media pages open.
Try posting 3d photos to give your photo posts some variety.

 If you’re a content creator or a marketer, 3d photos and 3d posts might help bring life to your page.

The Facebook algorithm, as announced in 2018, is more likely to promote inviting and interactive posts, such as live videos and posts that contain 3d photos.

Basically, anything that sparks conversation will please Facebook.  So, if you’re marketing to a Facebook audience, you might want to try making your posts more engaging.

Try 3d photos even just for your day-to-day posts! 

2. Consider the depth, contrast, and texture. 

3d photos are truly immersive—but how can you create one that really pops out of your newsfeed? That’s easy. Just make sure the depth, contrast, and texture are well-adjusted. 

Provide the right contrast. 

Caucasian couple wearing yellow and purple shirt.
Providing the right contrast between your subject and its background will help.

As for the contrast, you can pair your subject with a background that complements their color and pattern. If you want, you can check out a color wheel and see which color complements what. And as for the pattern, a plain background would work well with a detailed subject. 

Be sure that it has adequate depth. 

strawberry panacotta on white wooden table.
Capturing a photo with the right depth involves changing your distance from the subject.

The right depth will give your 3d photo a good balance—the subject will be sharper and its background will have a better bokeh effect. Your iPhone often gives some tips as you take a photo.

If it tells you that you should move further away, then follow it. Facebook suggests that taking a photo 3 to 4 ft away from the subject will give you the best 3d effect. 

Your subject has to have some kind of texture.

several coconut husks and meat on plain blue green background.
Textured subjects add to the sharpness of the photo.

Lastly, watch out for the texture of your subject. You shouldn’t be taking photos of subjects that are translucent. Otherwise, the depth sensors in your camera won’t properly recognize your subject.

Remember, you will only see the final output once you upload it on Facebook. So, be wary of these factors to avoid wasting your time and effort. 

3. Don’t forget to capture an interesting subject. 

white bird with yellow face and beak on branch.
Don’t depend on the effect. Capture an interesting subject as well.

With the 3d effect on a photo, you can surely make someone stop scrolling their newsfeed.

Especially if your photo is vibrant and unique, they wouldn’t resist interacting with your photo. Despite this, you still shouldn’t forget the subject itself and its context. 

The 3d effect is just a tool to catch attention. The real challenge is keeping someone’s attention. So, don’t forget to take a step back and think. Are you really providing some insightful context with your photo? 

The magic of photography is that one photo can take you anywhere, bring you to places you wish you could explore, sights, and smells you wish you could drown in.

As a result, don’t depend entirely on the effect. Think about the context of your photo, too. 

Related: How to make money with iPhone photos: the complete guide

More about 3d pictures on iPhone

Best apps for taking 3d pictures on iPhone

We previously mentioned that you don’t need other apps besides your camera and Facebook to create 3d pictures on iPhone. However, if ever you get bored and if you want to try something new, you can try installing these 3d photo apps on your iPhone.

1. Fyuse by Fyusion

“This spatial photography app is about to rock your world (and your selfies).” – VH1 | Photo

Required iOS version: 9.0 or later

Probably the most well-known spatial photography app on this list. Fyuse has gained over 15 million users in recent years. Make no mistake, though—Fyuse is not only a 3d photo creation app but it’s also a social media app.

In Fyuse, you can take 3d photos and turn them into GIFs. You can share them with your friends in the app, post them on your feed, or message it directly to them. 


“Capture life’s memories in 3D.” | Photo

Required iOS version: 11.3 or later

FILM3D is also a photo-sharing app just like Fyuse. It captures a moving picture, a.k.a. GIF, making it a 3d-like photo.

To take a 3d GIF, the subject just has to stand still and you take a video of it. After that, the app loops it. You can also apply stunning retro filters and follow the AI’s tips and tricks.

Meanwhile, iPhone users are saying the paid version is quite pricey but worth it. 

3. PopPic – 3D Camera: 3D Photo and Depth Effect App

“PopPic is a free app that lets you take amazing 3D photos and share them with the world.” | Photo

Required iOS version: 11.0 or later

This is another famous free 3d photo app for iPhone. PopPic allows you to modify the depth of the captured 3d photo and add fun filters to it. The result is a GIF with added depth.

You can also share your creation with your friends on social media. And to change your viewpoint, just tilt your phone. 

3d photos Vs 360° photos

The main difference between these two is the composition.

3d photos have more depth and the contrast is more obvious. On the other hand, 360° photos are simply panorama photos that give you the full 360° view. You can’t normally capture that with regular cameras.

Meanwhile, a combination of the two, the 3d-360° photo or video, is an immersive video format best used by computer games. It’s composed of two 360° photos stacked over-under or side-by-side. 

What is the future of 3d pictures?

More accessibility for content creators.

tattooed content creator filming herself.
The launch of 3d photos a year ago opened more doors to VR for content creators.

Social media experts are predicting the success of 3d photos based on the behaviors of social media users these days.

As several studies have shown, visuals are still highly effective in engaging people. And if a visual is closer to reality, people will eat it up like cake.

And with Facebook leading the way in propagating Virtual Reality (VR), the future is looking bright for 3d photos. Marketers and content creators can expect more accessibility to 3d creation tools ahead. 

What’s in it for business owners who create/post their own content?

Chef filming herself making cake.
Content creators can now enjoy this winning but cost-effective engagement tool on social media.

The accessibility to 3d photo creation will pave the way for brands to gain more without drilling a hole in their pockets.

3d photos will bring more creativity and freshness into their pages; however, the good thing is they typically don’t cost a thing.

Even better, they don’t require a busy entrepreneur to spend more than an hour just to produce one.

With its time-saving benefit and engaging power, business owners will certainly reap more benefits with 3d photos. This is especially true if their goal is to connect more with their fans or consumers on their hectic news feeds. 


3d photos will instantly spice up any newsfeed—whether you’re a content creator or an average Joe or Jane who just loves taking photos of their loved ones. And you’re fortunate enough to own an iPhone.

Are you ready to make 3d photos?

Don’t forget our tips here, so you will have a hassle-free photoshoot or photo-taking experience!