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All About Bokeh

Now Get striking out-of-focus blur in your pictures without investing in a dual-camera smartphone
twitter-logoNidhi Singal | Print Edition: December 3, 2017
All About Bokeh

Haven't we all marvelled at pictures that showcase the subject in marked clarity against an aesthetically blurred background? If you thought this photographic finesse only comes with training or requires a significantly advanced camera, you are mistaken. The bokeh effect, as it is called - which has its origin in the Japanese word boke, meaning blur or haze - can be achieved using a smartphone with a dual-camera set-up. The ones with a wide-angle and telephoto lens or RGB and monochrome sensors as in high-end smartphones like Apple iPhone X or Galaxy Note 8, as well as the affordable ones such as the Xiaomi A1, are bokeh-compatible. If your smartphone is not equipped with a dual camera, there is a bouquet of apps that will give the bokeh effect as impressively. Here are a few:

Snapseed By Google

Snapseed is the one-stop-shop for all your photo editing needs - from enhancing photos, giving them a professional touch to adding the blur effect. The lens blur tool does a basic job of blurring the background, and gives options for selecting the subject and adjusting the blur strength in the background. After adding the blur effect, images can be further enhanced using HDR scape, glamour glow and other options. Snapseed is available for both iOS and Android platforms for free.

AfterFocus By MotionOne

AfterFocus brings the blur effect at your fingertips, literally. You have to select the foreground icon and draw a white line on the object you need to focus on, then select the background icon and draw black lines on the background that you want blurred. Additionally, one can use settings such as motion blur and zoom blur; adjust the bokeh effect, and add filters to the subject and background. A toggle on the top instantly shows the original and edited images. The app is available at Rs 80 for iOS, and at Rs 102 for Android users. There is also a free version of the app that comes with pop-up ads.

Insta Bokeh

Unlike other apps that blur the background, Insta Bokeh adds a professional touch to pictures using bokeh and light effects. While clicking a picture you can choose effects such as romantic sky, tender night, dream world, as well as add text filters. This app is free.

Portrait Blur

This app brings the famed depth effect of the iPhone 7 Plus on any iPhone or iOS device. It is perfect for those not interested in using complex editing tools. If you want to further enhance the depth effect, you can use tools such as adjust bokeh, focus size, sharpen, blur and more. The app has a one-month free trial; thereafter, charges a monthly subscription fee of  Rs 370. The free version adds watermarks to the edited photo.

Portrait by Toto Ventures Inc

This app is fairly simple to use. After capturing an image or loading one from the gallery, the app will throw open a couple of options - an option to highlight the subject and to adjust the blur effect. These can be adjusted easily using sliders. The edited images can be saved to the gallery or shared instantly on social media or e-mail.


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