Instagram is adding a new option to help make your selfie images look better, called ‘Focus’ mode.
As explained by Instagram:
“When you open the camera, you’ll see “Focus” next to “Superzoom” under the record button. Take a selfie or switch to the back-facing camera to find a friend. As soon as there’s someone in the shot, you’ll notice the person stays in focus while the background softly blurs — making sure they stand out in a striking way. Simply tap to take a photo or tap and hold to record a video. When you’re done, you can add creative tools like filters, stickers and text to your photo or video before sending to your friends on Instagram Direct or adding to your story.”
The option has been in testing for the past few weeks. Apple offers a similar tool in later versions of the iPhone (7 and 8), but Instagram’s will work on a wider variety of devices by utilizing background segmentation and face detection technology.
It’s not a huge addition, but it will give Instagram another technological advantage over Snapchat, and may help bring more users to the app.
From a marketing perspective, there’s not a heap of immediate applications that spring to mind, but anything that make your images look more professional can only be a good thing, and there may also be ways to use the tool for product images and the like, through experimentation,
In addition to this, Instagram’s also rolling out @mention stickers on iOS.
“After you’ve taken a photo or video in your stories camera, open the stickers tray, tap the @mention sticker, start typing the name of the account you want to mention and select from the options that appear. You can then rotate, scale and place your sticker wherever you’d like.”
Users have been able to tag others in their Stories since 2016, but the new function enables this in sticker format, as opposed to using the text prompt, which can help make the mention stand out. Just last month, Snapchat launched user mentions in Snaps, and Instagram’s newer format could once again help keep them a step ahead. Again, not a major addition, but worth considering nonetheless.
Tagged users will be alerted to the mention via their notifications.
While all the focus has been on Facebook of late, and the way the company will handle concerns about data security, Instagram has slowly continued on its path, adding in new tools and working to further limit the growth of Snapchat. And while none of these more recent additions are ground-breaking (Instagram’s also testing ‘Nametag’, QR code type scannable images to connect to profiles), they all add to the whole, and give Instagram more options for future implementations and processes which could better enable both business and casual use.
The new updates are available as part of Instagram version 39.0 for iOS and Android. Focus will be available on iPhone SE, 6S, 6S+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X and select Android devices.