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Add "Portrait Bokeh" to your photographs with new Luminar AI update

Add "Portrait Bokeh" to your photographs with new Luminar AI update
(Image credit: Skylum)

Skylum is set to improve its Lumiar AI photo-editing software with the fourth round of updates next week – and this one will bring Portrait Bokeh mode. 

Luminar AI, for those who don’t know, is an impressive piece of photo editing software with a focus on using AI-driven effects and templates to automatically analyze images and offer the best editing suggestions. It’s designed to take some of the repetition out of editing images – you can read our full Luminar AI review to get an idea of how we rated it (though bear in mind we were working with an earlier version at time of writing).

So what’s new with Update 4? The headline feature is the aforementioned Portrait Bokeh mode, which essentially enables you to make your images look as though they were shot with one of the best portrait lenses set to its maximum aperture, even if they weren’t.

The video below demonstrates how Portrait Bokeh works in Skylum Luminar AI, and how the effect compares to shooting a true bokehlicious image shot with with an 85mm lens at f/2.8. 

Watch video: Portrait Bokeh in Luminar AI

This isn’t a new invention, as anyone with a relatively new camera phone can tell you; it’s pretty much standard fare for a phone in 2021 to come with portrait mode, which produces exactly the effect described. It’s also not new for desktop photo editors, as Adobe added a portrait mode to Photoshop back in May. 

It’s interesting to see desktop photo editors move to emulate smartphones in this way – and it reflects a trend that Luminar AI was already capitalizing on, which is making things easier. When portrait mode first came to hones, the thing users liked best about it was how simple it was to use – meaning that even thoroughly inexpert photographers could create decent-looking portraits with a single tap of a button. 

As software grows more sophisticated and powerful, it makes sense for it to be put to work to make life a little easier on the user. While the quality of digital bokeh will not match up to the real thing from a wide-aperture lens – especially at high resolutions – the bar for creating a portrait that looks pretty good to most users is getting lower!

The Lumiar AI Update 4 includes a few other treats as well. Skylum has said that it will provide visual preview of Textures, controls that allow for more accurate Sky positioning, and more than 50 bug fixes to make general speed and operation a little easier. The update is set to arrive next week, with the exact date to be confirmed. 

Read more: 

Best camera phones
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Portrait photography tips

Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  


An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.