Google Photos has received several meaningful updates in recent years. With Google’s new Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 launches, yet another major update has been rolled out to Google Photos for all users. It improves upon the user interface, AI, and machine learning, one-upping others in terms of computational photography.
Google Photos has also added a new editor, which gives users more granular controls over photos. This guide will walk you through some of it in the Google Photos app and help you improve the photos you captured.
New manual controls in Google Photos
Assuming you have received the new Google Photos update, editing photos becomes relatively straightforward. To access the editing menu, select a photo, and tap the three-lined slider icon at the bottom. Once you are in the editing menu, swipe left to check out the different manual editing options, including Suggestions, Crop, Adjust, Filters, etc.
When Adjust is selected, go through the control bar above the editing options reveals Brightness, Contrast, Shadows, White Point, Black Point, Highlights, Saturation, Tint, Warmth, Skin tone, Blue tone, Vignette, and Pop. You can select any of the variables, then adjust the slider value to your preferences. Once you are done editing a photo, tap Save.
The other three options are self-explanatory. Suggestions give you the option to enhance a picture with AI. Crop offers the option to change the aspect ratio of the crop, rotate the photo, and crop it manually. From Filters, you can apply a filter to the selected image.
Portrait lighting effects in Google Photos
Editing portrait mode photos is easily the most exciting new feature of the Google Photos app. Using Google’s AI and machine learning capabilities, the new editor lets users make drastic adjustments to the portrait effect and lighting of a portrait photo. You can even adjust the background blur, regardless of whether you have captured the portrait photo before or after the new update.
Once you select a portrait photo and bring up the editing menu in the Google Photos app, you should see the same editing options, except that the control bar has a few new additions.
In the Adjust menu, you should find three new options: Blur, Color focus, and Portrait Light. You can tap the Portrait light option and use the slider to change the lighting level of the portrait photo, then drag the circle around the subject to change the position of the lighting effect. The Blur and Color focus options are also adjustable in a similar way.
From Suggestions, you can also enhance the portrait photo and put a color pop or B&W portrait filter.
The new Portrait light feature was announced with Pixel 5 and 4a 5G devices, but you can now use it on your older Pixel devices.
Suggestions in Google Photos
As we have mentioned above, the Suggestions option in the new editing menu takes advantage of Google’s new AI suggestions. It automatically adjusts your photos to look better, whether it’s via changing the lighting, fixing the blur, or muting the color inconsistencies.
If you are not too savvy in the photo editing department, the Suggestions option in Google Photos is made for you. When you select Enhance in the control bar, tap and hold the photo to see the magical difference.
Note that the feature is being rolled out in phases. If you haven’t received it yet, go to the Play Store and look out for the Google Photos update in the My apps & games menu. There are no words on whether the new editor will make its way to Google Photos on iOS or not.
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