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How to Pretty Up Your Photos With Google’s ‘Portrait Lighting’ on Pixel

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Gif: David Murphy

Who needs the newest Pixel, anyway? Google is now rolling out its “Portrait Lighting” feature—previously announced during the Pixel 4a 5G and Pixel 5 launches—to older devices. I just fired it up on my Google Pixel 3 XL, and found it a great tool for artificially tweaking the light source of your portrait images.

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To get started, first make sure you’re running the latest versions of Android (Android 11) and the Google Photos app (updated Oct. 19, 2020). Pull up the app, and then find a portrait mode photo you’ve shot with your device. You can also use pictures you’ve shot with other smartphones—like a Samsung, or even an iPhone.

One quirk I found is that Google, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to acknowledge that an image taken using an iPhone’s own “Portrait mode” is, in fact, an image of your face. On the other hand, it didn’t have any issues recognizing my face when I took regular selfies on iOS, as well as selfies or “portrait” pictures on my Pixel 3 XL or Samsung Galaxy Note 20.

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Also, I’m using my words carefully here, because you won’t be able to adjust the lighting for just any photo taken in “Portrait” mode. Take a lovely, blurred-background photo of your favorite plant, for example, and Google won’t offer you the to option to tweak its lighting. As Android Police reports, Portrait Lighting is a faces-only editing feature:

“What matters is that the photo contains an obvious face, whether it’s a proper portrait or (sometimes) a full-body photo, it contains one person or two, the face is looking straight at the camera or angled away, and so on. You’ll have to trust Google’s AI/ML to recognize the proper circumstances, because if you don’t get the option on a specific pic, there’s no way to force it”

These oddities aside, adjusting the lighting for faces in the photos you’ve taken is a pretty simple (and fun) task. To get started, open a picture of a face in Google Photos. Tap on the “edit” button, which looks like three sliders, located at the bottom of your screen. Scroll right a bit until you’re on the “Adjust” section, and you should see a new option for ”Portrait light.” If you don’t, your image doesn’t qualify. Sorry.

Illustration for article titled How to Pretty Up Your Photos With Googles Portrait Lighting on Pixel

Screenshot: David Murphy

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Tap on it, and you’ll now be able to pick a direction for your image’s artificial light by moving the superimposed circle on your shot. You can also adjust the strength of the artificial lighting using the slider at the bottom of your screen. Tap on “Auto” if you want Google Photos to pick what it thinks is the best version of Portrait Lighting for you.

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Screenshot: David Murphy

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Now, all you have to do is play around with your lighting until you’re happy with the results, tap on “Done,” and save a copy of your newly edited image—or do more editing before you finish up.

If you’re feeling lazy, I’ve also found that using the “Portrait” option under the “Suggestions” section is a great way to quickly tweak your lighting and blur the background of an image otherwise shot sans bokeh. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it can produce pretty decent results.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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