Smartphone cameras keep getting better, which is causing the change that analysts have been predicting: traditional cameras are becoming less important to consumers, and nowadays, anyone can be a photographer because we always have a camera on us. But that’s not to say that all our photos come out well, and people often take pictures that fail to impress. If this happens to you frequently, keep reading for some tips on how to fix blurry photos on iPhone and Android, and for recommendations on the best photo editing software available for each platform.
Why are my photos blurry?
Before we get down to business and explain how to fix a blurry photo, there’s an important question we must answer, one that might keep us from having to fix our pictures in the first place: why are my photos blurry?
There are many factors that can make a photo blurry, so it’s best to address them before you tap the shoot button. The first and perhaps most common issue is a dirty smartphone lens. Yes, you read that correctly. Having your camera lens covered in dust, dirt, etc. is enough to make a photo come out blurry. It’s that simple. To fix it, just clean the lens of your Android device or iPhone before you take a picture. But be careful: make sure to use a chamois cloth (like the kind you use to clean glasses) or a microfiber towel. Camera lenses can also be cleaned with other materials, but take care not to scratch the surface!
Another frequent mistake that leads to blurry photos is shaking the camera. The shakier your hands, the blurrier your images will be. It’s an equation that never fails. To remedy this, use a tripod when taking pictures. If you don’t have one, here’s an easy tip: hold your breath just before you snap your pic.
Finally, there is a series of other photography-related parameters to keep in mind. For example, when objects are in motion (a bird, a car, etc.), it’s harder to capture a still image of them (unless you adjust the camera settings). Likewise, lighting plays an important role: the dimmer the lighting, the likelier that your photo will come out fuzzy. So consider all these factors to determine if there’s a chance you might take blurry photos!
How to sharpen photos
To fix a blurry photo, you don’t need a magic class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but a good image editor. These tools, available on PCs for years, didn’t become popular on phones until recently, amid the rise of social media platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok.
Before trying to fix a blurry photo, there’s one truth to keep in mind: if a photo is extremely out of focus, no program in the world can sharpen it. There’s a saying in the audiovisual world that “you can’t polish a turd,” meaning that something inherently bad can’t be fixed. Therefore, if your photo is really blurry… it’s going to be hard to solve the problem. Now that we’ve explained this, let’s get down to brass tacks!
How to sharpen photos on iPhone and iPad
We’ll start our tutorial with Apple’s devices, which have a perfect app to make your photos sharper than ever: Adobe Photoshop. In their app stores, both Apple and Android offer the Adobe brand’s star app, a program that’s familiar to everyone and that can be used to retouch images.
To fix blurry photos in Photoshop, just go to “Filters” and click “Sharpen.” It’s that easy. Then the app will display a series of features you can use to make your image as sharp as can be, including movement and noise reduction, etc. These little features enhance the overall result, and you can even select a single area to sharpen while leaving the rest of the image a bit blurry.
Another great thing about Photoshop is its mobile version, which is really easy to use. Whereas the PC version has a learning curve, the smartphone edition can be used in just a few swipes of the finger. Fortunately it’s comprehensive and includes all the same tools as the PC version.
Best photo editors for iOS
If you like Photoshop, be sure to check out Adobe Lightroom. This “first cousin” of the Adobe suite can also be used to retouch and edit photos. What makes it unique is the fact that it’s oriented towards photography and newbies in the field.
In terms of sharpening photos, Lightroom gets the job done, but we prefer Photoshop. Again, it’s an incredibly competent photo editor, especially since you can apply “filter” packs that make everything easier.
If you’ve been on social media for a while, the name Canva will surely ring a bell. This app –or web service– stands out for its easy photo editing features. You can also create graphics, prints, presentations, layouts, backgrounds, and a long list of features.
One of the main characteristics of Canva is that it’s designed for infographics. So, if you want to create a spectacular design without using a more complicated photo editing tool (recommendable if you want a more professional result), this application will surely get you out of a pinch.
How to sharpen photos on Android
We’ve explained how to fix blurry photos on iPhone, but what if you have an Android phone, such as a Samsung or a Google Pixel? So far, all of the apps we have discussed are also available for Google’s operating system. In other words, you can follow the same steps to sharpen your pictures on Android. However, we would like to recommend a few more apps for you to discover, starting with XGimp.
Since time immemorial, this program has been the eternal competitor of Adobe Photoshop, and its claim to fame is the fact that it’s completely free. Since it’s so similar to Adobe’s program, it has many of the same specifications, so if you know your way around Photoshop, a lot of what you see on XGimp will probably look familiar to you.
To fix a blurry photo, just open the toolbar and select the corresponding brush. Then click “Blur/Sharpen” and adjust the values until your photo looks sharper. However, keep in mind that if you only select the area you want to improve, the program will only focus on that section, which ends up achieving a better overall result.
Best photo editors for Android
As we mentioned above, all the apps discussed in this article are available for both iOS and Android. That said, if you’re keen to discover other photo editors for your smartphone, keep reading, because there are two more. That will leave us with a total of six photo editors that can be used on any mobile operating system.
Adobe Photoshop Fix
You may be surprised to learn that Adobe has another program for smartphones called Adobe Photoshop Fix, and, as the name suggests, this app “fixes” all the typical problems you might be having with your photos. You can get rid of red eyes, improve the color, and obviously, sharpen your image.
This app is perfect for tweaks and one-off improvements, the kind of little flaws you need to correct quickly and easily. While the standard Photoshop app is more for advanced users, this one is intended to be simpler and more user-friendly. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad.
Our final pick in this roundup breaks the rules a bit, because it’s an application for PC instead of Android: Luminar. This image-editing software is becoming increasingly popular, to the point where many professional photographers have started using it in their work.
Luminar stands out for the fact that it was designed by experts in the field, which means all of its features have a real, direct application to photography. And you can use it to sharpen blurry images with ease.
So now that you’ve read about the programs out there, which one will you choose? Were you familiar with any of them, or is this your first foray into photo editing? Share your questions with us in the comments section!