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Best Bokeh Effects Apps in 2021

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Sep 13, 2021• Proven solutions

It’s no secret that DSLR cameras can help you achieve this blurred effect, but now there are dozens of apps that allow you to get the same outcome without spending hundreds on a new camera. This article will provide you with the 10 best Bokeh apps for iPhones and Androids, based on our own testing, so that you can start editing right away.


Part 1: What is the Bokeh Effect and Why Should I Be Using it?

The word “Bokeh”or “boke” refers to the Japanese concept of “blur.” It is, in its simplest form, a style of photography where one object is the primary focus, and everything else is strategically blurred.

Using the Bokeh effect is an excellent way to separate the focal point of your photo from non-focal points. It not only serves the purpose of highlighting the focus of the image, but can also help when you’re looking to get rid of an unpleasant or unwanted background. The blurred background is meant to keep your focal point at the absolute center of your audience’s attention.

Part 2: Top 10 Best Apps to Achieve the Bokeh Effect for iOS and Android

As mentioned, there are other ways to achieve the Bokeh effect without an expensive and often fidget DSLR camera. The following apps have been deemed the best based on a variety of characteristics which will be mentioned below.

1. Focos - iOS - FREE

The Focos app for iPhones is a free resource that uses computational photography and light-field camera settings to help you achieve the perfect blur. It offers users the option to apply the Bokeh effect to both the background and foreground of your image, with a variety of options for adjusting size and transparency.

To create the Bokeh effect in Focos:

  1. Download App via App Store and allow it access to your camera and camera roll;
  2. Import the image you wish you use, or take a photo using the app’s camera;
  3. Adjust your focal point and transparency of the blur using their sliding bar feature;

add bokeh effects with Focos app

  1. To add more Bokeh effects, select the star Effect feature in the bottom right of the screen.

add more bokeh effects with Focos app

  1. Once you’re happy with the effect, this app allows you to save to your camera roll or share to other apps, including Instagram.

2. Photo Editor Pro - Android - FREE

add more bokeh effects with Photo Editor Pro app

Photo Editor Pro is a free application that allows users to achieve the Bokeh effect with 4 different camera modes. Users can also adjust the transparency of the bokeh effect chosen.

To create the Bokeh effect in Photo Editor Pro:

  1. Download the app and allow access to camera and camera roll;
  2. Select your desired image either via camera or camera roll;
  3. Choose between a variety of backgrounds and blending tools and adjust using the apps adjustable features, and download to camera roll or upload to a third-party app.

3. Auto Blur Background - Android - FREE

add more bokeh effects with  Auto Blur Background app

The Auto Blur Background app for iOS and Android is another free resource for creating an image with the Bokeh effect. The app allows users to select the size and desired amount of blur for your background, giving the user a lot of control over the outcome of their photo. It enables users to add overlays in addition to the bokeh effect to enhance the overall outcome.

To create the Bokeh effect in Auto Blur Background app:

  1. Import or take your photo on the Auto Blur Background application;
  2. Edit as desired using a variety of tools offered at the bottom of your screen, and add bokeh effect to the video;
  3. To export, select the Share icon in the bottom right hand corner;
  4. From this step you can either import directly to Instagram, or export to camera roll. If exported to camera roll, open Instagram app and add a new story, select photo from camera roll and hit add to story!

4. SnapSeed- iOS & Android - FREE

SnapSeed is one of the ultimate editing apps to help you achieve the Bokeh effect on iOS and Android devices. This app, owned by Google, provides an array of advanced editing tools to help improve your photography and editing capabilities.

To create the Bokeh effect in SnapSeed:

  1. Download the app in the app store and allow access to camera and camera roll;
  2. Import or take desired image and choose between a variety of filters;

add filters with SnapSeed app

  1. After selecting your filter, choose Tools and select the Lens Blur Option, and adjust your blur strength accordingly;

add  bokeh effects with SnapSeed app

  1. Export and save to camera roll or upload to a third-party site.

5. AfterFocus  - iOS & Android - $0.99

AfterFocus helps users achieve the Bokeh effect by letting you define the focal area and adjusting the blur of the surrounding regions.

add  bokeh effects with AfterFocus app

To create the Bokeh effect in AfterFocus:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll, and select the image given your options (camera, camera roll);
  2. Once you’ve selected your image, the app will prompt you to select whether you want to manually select the focus area or if you want their software to detect it for you;
  3. Several blurring tools will appear, use the focus selector tool to select the regions in which you’d like your image to be focused;
  4. Then use the background selector tool to select the background of your photo, and choose between lens, motion and zoom blur

6. Real Bokeh - iOS & Android - $2.99

Real Bokeh allows users on both the iPhone and Android to add Bokeh light features to their photos. It includes 36 Bokeh shapes, 33 light leak effects, 23 image filters and much more.

add  bokeh effects with Real Bokeh app

To create the Bokeh effect in Real Bokeh:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll and select the image given your options (camera, camera roll);
  2. Choose between different filters, shapes and effects to add to your image;
  3. Adjust the transparency of your bokeh effect on the sliding bar provided by the app, and export to camera roll or to a third party site.

7. Bokeh Lens - iOS - $0.99

This app, designed for the iPhone, is a magnifying glass for photos, allowing users to create their own Bokeh effect without the use of a DSLR camera. The Bokeh level on this app is also customizable, making it great if you’re looking to get detailed.

add  bokeh effects with  Bokeh Lens app

To create the Bokeh effect in Bokeh Lens:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll, and select the image given your options (camera, camera roll);
  2. Using the image below, follow the focus area tools, adjustable bokeh level and more to achieve your perfect photo, and then export to camera roll or third party app

8. Blur Photo - iOS & Android - FREE

Blur photo uses a one click method to achieve auto blurred backgrounds to help you achieve the Bokeh effect. It also allows you to manually adjust the settings to your own liking. Users can increase or decrease the blur effect, add filters to photos, and add emojis and text.

add bokeh effects with  Blur Photo app

To create the Bokeh effect in Blur Photo:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll, and select the image given your options (camera, camera roll);
  2. You are given a variety of image sizing options, once completed, select Blur, from here you are able to adjust the size and amount of blur and your image is blurred by using your finger to glide over desired areas;
  1. Upon completion, export and save to camera roll or third-party app.

9. PhotoDirector - iOS & Android - FREE

PhotoDirector is an app available on the iPhone and Android that offers extensive editing options, including the Bokeh effect. You can add animated overlays, animated decorations, sky placement, photo retouching, and much, much more.

To create the Bokeh effect in PhotoDirector:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll and then select the image given your options (camera, camera roll) ;
  2. To find and utilize the Bokeh effect, click the Live button, from there, choose where you want the image to focus, which Bokeh effects you want and how animated you want them to be;
  3. Upon completion, export and save to camera roll or third-party app.

10. Tadaa SLR - iOS - $3.99

Although this app is the most expensive on the list, it also offers some of the best depth-of-field and bokeh effects. It is ultra-precise and easy to navigate.

add bokeh effects with Tadaa SLR app

To create the Bokeh effect in Tadaa SLR:

  1. Download the app and allow the app access to your camera and camera roll, and then select the image given your options (camera, camera roll);
  2. Once image is imported, select the Mask tool, which you can use to select the portion of the image you’d like to keep in focus;
  3. You may then adjust the aperture, range, gloss and highlights via the modification tools provided at the bottom of the screen. 
  4. Adjust to your liking and export!

Part 3: Creating the Bokeh Effect Using the Portrait Mode Function on Your iPhone

If using a third-party app seems like too much effort, or you don’t find the app that achieves the exact blur to focus ratio you’re looking for, consider using the Portrait Mode feature available on newer iPhone models.

Portrait mode is a camera function that allows users to create the depth of field effect we know as Bokeh. When used, the focal image will be crisp and sharp, while the background will be blurred nicely so as to not cause a distraction to the focal point.

To achieve the Bokeh effect through Portrait Mode, you must:

  1. Open up your camera app and along the bottom of your screen find and select Portrait, and select from a variety of portrait mode options, including Natural light, studio light, contour light, stage light, stage light mono, high key light mono;

add bokeh effects with Portrait Mode on iPhone

  1. Portrait mode will then allow you to choose your focal point, and do the rest of the work when it comes to blurring the background to create the Bokeh effect;
  2. The different modes offered will allow users to achieve different types of blur.

Note: If you want to add the bokeh effect to video on the desktop computer, you should try Wondershare Filmora, which provides tilt-shift circle and tilt-shift linear effects for creating the bokeh effect, as well as some bokeh effect overlay. For more details, you can check how to add bokeh effects to the video with Filmora.

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Takeaway

Using the Bokeh effect can add a layer to your photography that takes it to the next level. While there are a variety of tools you can use to achieve this, I have covered the 10 best apps for iOS and Android users to accomplish Bokeh. And if third-party apps aren’t for you, don’t forget that iPhone user can also use Portrait Mode to achieve a great Bokeh outcome.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.