Google Photos has recently added the ability to add a background blur effect, such as Portrait Mode, to almost any photo in Google Photos.
The best camera is the one you have on you. This is what makes our smartphone devices so important. DSLRs may be able to take better quality shots, but your smartphone fits in your pocket and can be taken anywhere. Not only is it convenient, but it also turns “classic” photos already taken into jaw-dropping snaps with bokeh and depth of field, thanks to Google Photos ‘ Portrait Blur feature .
Portrait Blur isn’t necessarily new. Launched exclusively for Pixel smartphones, the feature lets you add background blur to photos that weren’t taken with Portrait Mode. That being said, in the past the functionality was limited to human subjects only. While Portrait Mode works with other subjects, Portrait Blur was not appearing for photos of animals, plants, and others where you might want to apply a bokeh effect.
How to Use Portrait Blur on Any Photo
To test the feature yourself, you need a Google Pixel device or a Google One subscription. Your smartphone must have at least 3 GB of RAM and be running Android 8.0 or later. As of this writing, the feature does not appear to exist on the iOS app.
Also, you need to install the latest version of Google Photos to enjoy the Portrait Blur feature. Since the update is relatively recent, it may not be available for your device yet.
If so, the operation is the same as the one you already know and love so much. To use, choose a photo from Google Photos, tap Edit. Once the various actions are loaded, you should see a “Portrait” button appear. From there, you can tap on “Tools” and then, in the other menu bar that appears just below, select “Blur”. Google Photos will then select what it deems to be the best level of blur in “Auto”. You can, if you wish, adjust the blur manually. Tap “OK” when satisfied with your changes.
Although Google does not offer any detailed specifications for this feature, the Mountain View company warns that this option may not work on all photos. If you are not fully convinced by Portrait Blur, you can always undo or correct manually. To completely deactivate the blur, simply drag the slider to the far left, to 0.