It seems like the bokeh effect for portrait photos and videos is the mode du jour at this point in time. But if your smartphone doesn’t have a dual camera, it’s hard to get that blurred background and face-focused look. Instagram wants to help you get that effect with their new Focus mode that you can use for portrait photos and videos, leveraging “background segmentation and face detection technology” so even if your device only has one camera, you still get that effect you’re aiming for.
When you open your camera in the Instagram Stories mode, you’ll now see a new option called Focus, right beside Boomerang and Superzoom. As soon as it detects there’s a face in the shot, whether it’s in the selfie or rear-facing cameras, the person will stay in focus while the background will be blurred softly, making the face stand out. The edges of the face look a little bit hazy too so it won’t look like you’re too separate from your background. Just tap to take the photo or hold if you want to record a video. Focus will remain even if you choose the latter.
After you take the photo, you can do the usual creative stuff like add filters, stickers, text or whatever it is that you usually do in your Instagram Stories. Then you can either add it to your story or send it to your friends using Instagram Direct. It’s another advantage that Instagram will have over Snapchat as this is a feature that they didn’t steal from the latter.
The Focus mode is only available for select Android smartphones. It’s probably for those that have dual cameras or face detection technology. You can check if it’s available for you when you update to version 39.