Pixel 6 camera will improve skin tones in photos with ‘Real Tone’

Pixel 6 camera will improve skin tones in photos with ‘Real Tone’

One of the challenges with photography, especially with smartphones, is light balance with skin tones. For example, someone with darker skin might be washed out if they are standing behind a bright sky. That’s one area Google is focusing on with the Pixel 6, and the company talked about its new ‘Real Tone’ feature today that aims to address common problems with skin tones in photos.

“Building better tools for a community works best when they’re built with the community,” Google said in its blog post. “For the new Pixel 6 Camera, we partnered with a diverse range of renowned image makers who are celebrated for their beautiful and accurate depictions of communities of color—including Kira Kelly, Deun Ivory, Adrienne Raquel, Kristian Mercado, Zuly Garcia, Shayan Asgharnia, Natacha Ikoli and more—to help our teams understand where we needed to do better.”

The new Real Tone functionality uses an updated face detection algorithm, which can recognize more diverse faces in a wider array of lightning conditions. Stray light also has a tendency to wash out darker skin tones more often than lighter skin, so Real Tone reduces that effect in photos captured on the Pixel 6, as well as general blurriness and auto-exposure problems.

Real Tone won’t be entirely limited to the Pixel 6, either — some of the functionality is being ported to Google Photos’ auto enhance feature.”The updated auto enhance is designed to improve your picture’s color and lighting with just a tap,” Google said, “and works well across skin tones. It will roll out in Google Photos across Android and iOS devices in the coming weeks.”

This is just one of the Pixel 6’s camera features, alongside the Magic Eraser that removes unwanted distractions from photos and Face Unblur. Needless to say, the Pixel 6 will likely be one of the best smartphones for photography once it starts shipping — head over to our best Pixel 6 deals roundup to learn where and how to buy one.

About author

Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.