The Google Pixel 5’s Portrait Light feature rolls out to older Pixel phones

The Google Pixel 5’s Portrait Light feature rolls out to older Pixel phones

The Pixel 5 and the Pixel 4a 5G were both recently announced as part of Google’s Pixel lineup. We’ve already covered both smartphones as well as the smaller, non-5G Pixel 4a in plenty of detail before. As expected, these Pixel phones have amazing cameras and are priced much more competitively compared to previous offerings from Google. Alongside these new Pixel devices, Google introduced new camera features. One of them is called Portrait Light, and it allows you to dynamically tweak and edit lighting, brightness around the faces, and lighting angle of portrait photos so you can have your selfie exactly how you imagined it to be. As with most Pixel camera features, Portrait Light is all software-based, which means that older Pixel phones should be capable of using it.

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Google previously confirmed this feature would be coming to other Pixel devices, and it looks like it’s now rolling out to older Pixel devices such as the Pixel 2 series, the Pixel 3 series, the Pixel 3a series, the Pixel 4 series, and the Pixel 4a. There is no word on whether or not first-gen Pixel phones will get it, but it’s unlikely given that they are not actively supported by new Android updates anymore. It also doesn’t matter whether a picture was taken using Portrait Mode or not, as Google Photos can apply a bokeh effect to pictures that were already taken thanks to machine learning.

Here’s a demonstration from Google showing how Portrait Light works. To access the feature, open up Google Photos, select a photo with a face, hit the edit button at the bottom, and go to the “adjust” tab. If available, you should see a “Portrait Light” button. You can move the bubble to adjust the spotlight and then scroll the slider at the bottom to adjust the intensity of the lighting. You can also hit the “auto” button at the bottom right to let Google do its magic.


Portrait Light actually resides as a feature inside of the Google Photos app rather than the Google Camera, and according to Android Police, it’s rolling out via a server-side update. The publication did note that all devices they tested were running Google Photos version 5.15.0.337400196, so check if you’re on that version to see if the feature is available for you. If you have an older Pixel device and you want to see if Portrait Light is available, then it doesn’t hurt to go to the Google Play Store and grab the latest update of Google Photos for your device.

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Arol Wright
Arol Wright

Diehard technology enthusiast, and an Android purist by nature. While I have a soft spot for smartphones, I'm deeply interested in everything techy, be it PCs, gaming consoles, gadgets, you name it. Please direct all inquiries/tips to [email protected]