Instagram’s Focus Mode is a game-changing new feature that allows users to capture stunning portraits with a beautifully blurred background. Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device, this feature enhances the quality of your photos and videos, making your Instagram Stories stand out. In this guide, we will walk you through how to use Instagram’s Focus Mode, provide tips for capturing perfect portraits, and explore the creative possibilities this feature offers. So, let’s dive into the world of Instagram Focus Mode and transform your portrait photography.

How to use instagram focus mode for portraits

What is Instagram Focus Mode?

Introduction to Focus Mode

Instagram Focus Mode is a feature designed to enhance portrait photography by creating a blurred background effect, similar to the bokeh effect seen in professional cameras. This mode works by detecting a face in the shot and keeping it in sharp focus while softly blurring the background. This creates a pleasing contrast that makes the subject stand out.

Benefits of Using Focus Mode for Portraits

Using Focus Mode on Instagram has several benefits:

  • Enhanced Depth of Field: This feature mimics the shallow depth of field effect, making your photos look more professional.
  • Versatile Usage: Whether you’re taking selfies or using the rear-facing camera, Focus Mode can be used to create stunning portraits.
  • Increased Engagement: High-quality, professional-looking photos are more likely to engage your audience and increase your Instagram following.

Instagram’s Focus Mode is available on a variety of smartphones, including iPhone models starting from the iPhone 6s and Android devices like the Pixel 2. This ensures that a wide range of users can take advantage of this feature to enhance their Instagram Stories.

I recently started using Instagram Focus Mode to capture portraits of my friends during our outings. The blurred background effect really makes the subject pop, and I’ve noticed a significant increase in engagement on my Stories. One memorable instance was at a beach picnic, where I captured a photo of my friend with the ocean waves softly blurred in the background. The result was a stunning portrait that looked professionally taken.

How to Activate Focus Mode on Instagram

Step-by-Step Guide to Enabling Focus Mode

Activating Focus Mode on Instagram is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Open the Instagram App: Launch the Instagram app on your smartphone.
  2. Access the Stories Camera: Swipe right from your feed or tap on your profile picture at the top left to open the stories camera.
  3. Select Focus Mode: On the camera tray, swipe left until you find the “Focus” mode option. It’s usually in-between other modes like Boomerang and Superzoom.
  4. Find a Face: Focus Mode works best when it detects a face. As soon as there’s someone in the shot, the camera will automatically adjust to blur the background while keeping the face in focus.
  5. Take a Photo or Video: Tap the shutter button to take a photo or hold it to record a video. You’ll notice that the background softly blurs, creating a professional portrait effect.
  6. Add Effects and Share: After capturing your photo or video, you can add filters, stickers, and text before sharing it to your Instagram Stories.

Compatible Devices and Requirements

Instagram Focus Mode is compatible with a range of devices:

  • iPhone Models: iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone SE, iPhone X, and newer models.
  • Android Devices: Selected Android smartphones such as the Pixel 2 and others with a similar specification.

Ensure your Instagram app is updated to the latest version to access Focus Mode. If you do not see this feature, check for updates or reinstall the app.

As a budding photographer, I experimented with Instagram’s Focus Mode during a local street festival. The feature allowed me to take sharp, detailed portraits of performers while blurring the busy background. This not only highlighted the subjects but also conveyed the vibrant atmosphere of the event. Sharing these photos on Instagram garnered a lot of positive feedback and new followers interested in my photography.

Ensure your Instagram app is updated to the latest version to access Focus Mode

Tips for Capturing Perfect Portraits with Focus Mode

Best Practices for Using Focus Mode

To make the most out of Instagram’s Focus Mode, follow these best practices:

  1. Ensure Good Lighting: Good lighting is crucial for portrait photography. Natural light often works best, so try to take photos near windows or outdoors.
  2. Keep the Background Simple: Although Focus Mode blurs the background, a cluttered background can still distract. Choose a simple background to make your subject stand out more.
  3. Maintain a Steady Hand: To avoid blurry photos, keep your hand steady or use a tripod. This ensures the subject remains sharp while the background softly blurs.
  4. Use the Rule of Thirds: Compose your shots using the rule of thirds to create balanced and aesthetically pleasing photos. Enable the grid on your camera to help with this composition technique.
  5. Experiment with Angles: Don’t just stick to eye-level shots. Experiment with different angles to find the most flattering perspective for your subject.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using Focus Mode:

  1. Poor Lighting Conditions: Low light can make it difficult for the camera to detect faces and properly blur the background.
  2. Too Many Faces: Focus Mode works best with a single subject. If there are multiple faces, the camera might struggle to focus correctly.
  3. Ignoring Updates: Ensure your Instagram app is always updated to access the latest features and improvements.
  4. Overuse of Filters: While filters can enhance your photos, overusing them can detract from the natural beauty of your portrait. Use filters sparingly.

Instagram’s Focus Mode is a powerful tool for creating professional-looking portraits. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can capture stunning photos that stand out.

In 2023, Instagram reported that photos and videos using portrait modes and effects like Focus Mode saw a 35% higher engagement rate compared to standard posts, showcasing the effectiveness of these features in boosting user interaction.

Enhancing Your Instagram Stories with Focus Mode

Adding Effects and Filters

Instagram Stories offer a variety of effects and filters that can enhance your Focus Mode portraits:

  1. Filters: After capturing a portrait in Focus Mode, swipe left or right to apply different filters. Filters can adjust the color balance, contrast, and overall mood of your photo.
  2. Stickers and Text: Add personality to your stories by incorporating stickers and text. Tap on the sticker icon to access a wide range of options, including GIFs, emojis, and location tags.
  3. Interactive Elements: Use interactive stickers like polls, questions, and quizzes to engage your audience. These elements can make your stories more dynamic and encourage viewer interaction.
  4. Drawing Tools: Use the drawing tools to add unique touches to your portraits. You can highlight certain areas, draw attention to details, or just add some fun doodles.

Enhance your Focus Mode portraits

Creative Ideas for Stories

Here are some creative ideas to make the most out of Focus Mode in your Insta Stories:

  1. Before and After: Show the difference Focus Mode makes by posting a before and after series. Capture a photo without Focus Mode, followed by one with it enabled to highlight the effect.
  2. Tutorials: Create step-by-step tutorials using Focus Mode to showcase products, makeup, or fashion items. The blurred background keeps the focus on the subject, making it easier for viewers to follow along.
  3. Behind the Scenes: Share behind-the-scenes moments from your day-to-day life or special events. Focus Mode can add a professional touch to these candid shots.
  4. Story Series: Develop a series of stories around a theme, using Focus Mode to maintain a consistent and professional look. For example, you could create a daily outfit series or a travel diary.
  5. Interactive Q&A: Use the question sticker to invite your followers to ask questions and then answer them with photos or videos in Focus Mode. This personalizes your interaction and makes your answers visually appealing.

By leveraging these creative ideas and tools, you can enhance your stories and keep your audience engaged with high-quality content.

A 2023 case study by Social Media Examiner explored the impact of Instagram’s Focus Mode on user engagement for small businesses. The study followed a boutique fashion brand that incorporated Focus Mode into their Stories to showcase their products. The results were impressive: the brand saw a 50% increase in story views and a 40% rise in direct messages from potential customers, attributing this success to the professional quality of the Focus Mode portraits.


Instagram’s Focus Mode is a powerful tool that allows users to create stunning portraits with a beautifully blurred background, enhancing the quality of their Stories. By understanding how to activate and effectively use this new Instagram feature, you can significantly improve your portrait photography. Whether you are using an iPhone or an Android device, the Focus Mode provides an easy and accessible way to capture professional-looking photos and videos.

Remember to take advantage of good lighting, maintain a steady hand, and utilize the various creative tools available within Insta to add effects, stickers, and text to your stories. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this guide, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure your portraits stand out.

Stay updated with the latest app versions to access new features and improvements and explore the creative possibilities that Instagram’s Focus Mode offers. With practice and experimentation, you’ll be able to master this feature and create engaging content that captivates your audience.

Create stunning portraits with a beautifully blurred background

Frequently Asked Questions about Instagram Focus Mode

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Why isn’t Focus Mode available on my device?

Focus Mode is available on select iPhone models (iPhone 6s and newer) and certain Android devices like the Pixel 2. Ensure your Instagram app is updated to the latest version. If you still don’t see Focus Mode, your device may not be compatible.

Why isn’t Focus Mode detecting a face?

Ensure there is sufficient lighting and that the camera has a clear view of the face. If there are multiple faces, Focus Mode might struggle to isolate the subject. Try repositioning the camera or using a simpler background.

Why do my photos appear blurry?

Keep your hand steady when taking photos, or use a tripod. Poor lighting or a moving subject can also cause blurriness. Ensure the subject is well-lit and stays relatively still during the shot.

Can I use Focus Mode with the front-facing camera?

Yes, Focus Mode works with both the front-facing and rear-facing cameras, making it perfect for selfies as well as traditional portraits.

How can I add text and stickers to my Focus Mode photos?

After capturing a photo in Focus Mode, tap on the sticker icon or the text icon to add elements to your photo. You can customize the size, color, and placement of the text and stickers.

Future Updates and Features

Are there any upcoming improvements to Focus Mode?

Instagram regularly updates its app with new features and improvements. While specific updates to Focus Mode haven’t been announced, staying updated with the latest app version will ensure you have access to the newest tools and enhancements.

Will Focus Mode be available on more devices?

Instagram aims to expand the availability of its features across a wider range of devices. Keep an eye on official announcements for any updates regarding device compatibility.

Can I use Focus Mode in other parts of Instagram?

Currently, Focus Mode is primarily available in IG Stories. However, future updates might integrate this feature into other parts of the app.

How does Focus Mode compare to portrait modes on other apps?

Instagram’s Focus Mode is designed to be user-friendly and easily accessible within the app. While other apps might offer similar features, the seamless integration of Focus Mode into IG Stories makes it a convenient choice for users who regularly post on the platform.

Where can I learn more about using Instagram’s features?

You can find tutorials and tips on the official Instagram Help Center, various tech blogs, and YouTube channels dedicated to social media strategies.

Author Bio

Ellen Bartolino

As a seasoned author and communication expert, Ellen specializes in Instagram with a deep understanding of the platform. Her expertise has enabled her to produce captivating and impactful content for both businesses and individuals.

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