One of the best/easiest way to give a feeling of depth in a picture is to have a part in focus and other parts out of focus. A person’s mind says that they are focusing on a point and everything else must be further away cause it is out of focus.
A common tool to use to get the effect in an image is called TiltShift. A popular use of TiltShift being applied to an image is to make a scene more toy like.
The ease of use makes it a quick option on a smaller screen like the iPhone. The negative is that the area method to choose the part of an image being ‘in focus’ is either a straight line or a circle. Which works fine when dealing with a picture that has a small town in a large open area. This doesn’t work very well if you have something like a flower that isn’t perfectly round.
There is a new app available for the iPhone does more than make parts of an image blurry. SynthCam actually does a whole of lot of math to accomplish the effect… the end result is that everything at a particular distance is in focus and things outside of that depth is blurred. So, an item with complicated edges like a flower will have it’s petals in focus and the areas between the petals will appear further away.
Using SynthCam, you tell the app what is the item (the depth) you want to be in focus. Moving your iPhone just a bit from left/right, then up/down and then hit the done button. In the background, the app takes many images per second to know what it should show in focus and what not to.
SynthCam works in landscape and portrait views. Moving the iPhone around a bit to allow the app to know what to leave in focus does take a little practice. There is an option to choose multiple points in case the level to keep in focus is in different areas that you wouldn’t be able to cover in the small movements of the iPhone. Creating images with your iPhone that would normally take an adjustable mechanical lens.