iPhoneography / Photography / Photography apps

Layrs: multi-layer photo editing on the iPhone

iPhone photography has become a huge phenomenon. There are entire magazines and blogs and even art galleries dedicated to the art. So it’s no surprise that there are not only some really awesome camera replacement and editing apps available on the app store, but also some really funky ones.

One of the new kids on the block, which made it to the Editor’s Picks, is Layrs.

Layrs allows you to separate your photograph into two layers and edit them – essentially helping you create a photograph with a strong foreground and a blurred background.


In the photograph above, all the lanterns were in focus, making it kind of boring, wouldn’t you agree? Layrs: Select foregroundWith Layrs, I can select the one in front and bring it into sharper focus than the rest.

It’s quite simple to do. When you open the app, you have two options – you can either take a photograph or load one from your camera roll. Once you’ve chosen a photograph, you are prompted to crop it into a square format. After that, you go on to select the foreground.

To do that, gently trace the part of the image you want as the foreground with your finger and the app will mark your selection. In case it selects portions that you don’t want (the area masked yellow), just swipe from outside the yellow area inwards and those portions will get deselected.

Once you’ve marked the foreground, the next screen lets you edit the background. Here, you can set the type – motion, focus and radial – and strength of blur – from 1 to 5 – simply by tapping on the name. Layrs - edit backgroundTo increase the strength, keep tapping until you’re happy with the effect. If you’ve gone up to, say 3, and don’t like it, you can tap clear all and it will go back to normal.

You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness of the image, and also change the hue of the background. Then, to make things more fun, you can apply a filter, which is a sliding panel above the blurs. Drag your finger up or down to increase or decrease the strength of the filter.

If you want to start over at any point, just click the Start over button and all the effects will be erased. But what if you’re happy with the blur and contrast, but just want to change the brightness? In that case, keep pressing on the brightness. Once it’s up to 5 it will automatically go back to the original brightness of your image. (It’s simpler when you do it yourself, promise!)

Once you’re happy with the background, click on the yellow arrow marked Foreground. Here, you have the same options to play around with. Once you’re done, you can share it on a couple of social media sites or save the image to the camera roll. And ta-da! Your plain ol’ photograph has got some “pop”!

Chinese Lanterns - edited with Layrs

And the best part? It’s free!

(Note: Click on the images for a bigger view)

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10 thoughts on “Layrs: multi-layer photo editing on the iPhone

  1. I love this! I will be following and paying attention. I am going to be trying this with some of my pictures.

    This is going to help me with my business I believe.

  2. Pingback: Photo Tweaking Across Two Layers | layrs

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