Google Pixel Portrait Light

Credit: Google
  • Portrait Light is one of the star photo editing features of the Google Pixel 5.
  • The feature allows you to alter the lighting around a subject’s face after the photo has already been taken.
  • Older Pixel devices can expect the feature starting today.

In our video review of the Google Pixel 5 (give it a watch here), we spent a good amount of time covering the Portrait Light feature. The novel editing tool allows you to alter the lighting around a subject’s face. You can do this with any photo — even one captured with a different phone or camera.

Today, older Pixel devices are starting to receive the feature. It arrives within the Google Photos app. Our Pixel 4 XL running Photos v5.15.0.337400196 already has the tool.

Portrait Light: A surprisingly useful tool

Google Pixel 5 portrait light 2
Google Pixel 5 portrait light 1

With Portrait Light, all you need to do is open up a photo. Tap on the tool and then start moving the scale manually or swiping around the photo subject’s face. As you go, you’ll see the lighting change magically, as if you were manually moving soft-box light rigs from one side of the room to another.

As with any other editing tool in Google Photos, you can play around with it until you get something you like and then hit Done. It will save an additional, edited version of the photo (depending on your settings).

Related: A beginner’s guide to Google Photos

Keep in mind that this feature will only work when there’s a very obvious face in the photo. For whatever reason, it will not work for changing the light around other objects.

Do you have Portrait Light on your older Pixel phone? Show off some of the cool stuff you’ve done with it in the comments below.