How To Edit Portrait Photo Blur / Depth On iPhone X, 8 Plus, Or 7 Plus

One of the few new additions to the latest models in Apple’s iPhone lineup – the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR – is the ability to modify the depth of field or adjust the intensity of the blur effect in Portrait shots after they’ve been taken. Apple introduced Portrait shots to iOS with the release of iPhone 7 Plus – the first iPhone to have a dual-camera setup. While the company may argue that its implementation of the now-prolific bokeh effect in smartphone photography has a hardware component, the ability to edit that effect certainly does not, and Google was quick to prove the same by adding the feature to its Photos app.

The latest update to the Google Photos app adds focus adjustment for Portrait photos, letting users adjust the amount of blur applied as well as the point of focus. How does it work, you ask? That’s exactly what we’re here to explain.

Not that you will, of course, need to have an iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or iPhone XS Max to take Portrait shots. The app does not have a portrait photography mode of its own; it simply allows you to edit the blur effect in existing shots. Provided you have a few of those lying in your iPhone’s gallery, here’s what you need to do.

1. Download Google Photos from the App Store; it’s free.

Download Google Photos

2. Launch Google Photos, allow it access to Photos, then pick a Portrait shot from your gallery.

3. Tap the Edit button – the second from left among the options at the bottom of the screen.

4. In the screen that follows, select the sliders icon in the middle.

5. Of the three sliders that appear at the bottom of the screen, move the one labeled Depth to adjust the intensity of the blur effect.

6. As you adjust the depth of field, a circular marker will appear over the photo to signify the object in focus. Tap elsewhere to change the point of focus.

Within the filters section – which you may switch by hitting the icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen after step 3 – there’s a new filter for Portrait photos to boot. It’s called Color Pop and, as the name implies, it makes the color of the object/person in focus pop by desaturating (removing color from) the rest of the image.

Note that both the depth adjustment slider and the Color Pop filter will only appear for shots taken using the iOS Camera app’s Portrait mode.

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Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.