How to blur the background in Photoshop Tutorial

Background blur (blur the background), sometimes known as “bokeh” after the Japanese word for blur, is most commonly associated with high-end cameras that use wide-aperture lenses. Portraits with a blurred background are popular, and many smartphones now offer “portrait settings” that resemble a blurred background – with some limitations. You can build stunning blur backgrounds in Adobe Photoshop even if you don’t have a high-end camera or portrait mode.

Choosing to add a blurred background in Photoshop can provide you greater control and flexibility over where the blur is applied and how it looks, in addition to giving you an ability you may not have had in-camera. The program contains a variety of tools for selecting and blurring the background of a shot, as well as numerous options for managing the blurred kind. Using Photoshop’s field blur tool, which creates realistic blur backgrounds without forcing you to spend hours in front of your computer, is one of the simplest methods to get from blah to blur.

What is bokeh or blur in photoshop?

Basically, bokeh refers to the quality of out-of-focus or “blurry” aspects of an image formed by a camera lens, not the amount of blur in the subject’s foreground or background.

The blur that separates a subject from the background that you’re used to seeing in photography is caused by a shallow “depth of focus,” and is frequently referred to as “background blur.” Photographers refer to the quality and feel of the background/foreground blur and reflected points of light as Bokeh.

Why is a blur so important? 

Motion blur or blur effect, like any other photography technique, aids in telling the tale to the viewer. It may frequently convey the atmosphere of a situation better than a static photograph. That is why blurring is so important. A snapshot of a race car that is frozen, for example, may appear to be good. 

Most others, on the other hand, would see the image as a “racing car.” However, by adding motion blur to the image, it now reads “racing vehicle” as well as “speed.” A landscape scene, for example, could be changed by adding motion blur to portray the sky moving rather than a static image. By combining multiple photographs in this way, you may offer your portfolio more diversity and make it stand out. That is why learning how to blur a picture is so important.

Related:- Image Masking Using Photoshop

Prior to getting started

There are a number of different ways to blur a background in Photoshop, each with a different level of control – and complexity. After experimenting with everything from specific choices to a full-fledged depth map, we discovered that the field blur tool produced the greatest, most realistic results in the shortest amount of time.

True lens blur is reliant on numerous elements, including the focal length of the lens, the shape and size of the aperture, and the distance from the subject, making it difficult to replicate in Photoshop. Getting the distance effect right is possibly the most crucial of these. To achieve a blur effect that seems like the real thing and changes with distance in Photoshop, you must tell the computer which items are closest and farthest from the camera. Those that are farther away from the subject should have more blur than objects that are closer. You could spend an hour making a detailed depth map, but the field blur tool allows you to get close with a lot less effort.

The field blur tool will easily simulate the blurring of a more costly lens, but Photoshop procedures are nearly always more work than creating the effect in the camera. Consider how a blur in a genuine image looks while you work. Everything on a two-dimensional plane in space is crisp when a lens focuses on it. 

The amount of blurring rises as you go away from the plane of focus — that is, away from the camera — but any objects in the same plane as your subject should stay in focus.

Related:- Photoshop Hair Masking Tutorial

In Photoshop, learn how to blur a background?


1. Select the field blur tool from the toolbox

Navigate to Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur while the image is open in Photoshop. You may choose which regions of your image to blur inside the field blur window, and you can manage the degree and type of blur with the blur tools on the right.

first blur pin

2. Place the first blur pin

The blur pins tell Photoshop how much and where to blur. Photoshop automatically puts the first pin when you opened the field blur panel. Drag the pin to the background, or the area farthest away from the focal point. Drag the blur slider to the right until you get the appropriate amount of blur. (You can also adjust the blur level by dragging on the partial circle outside the pin.)

This pin will have the biggest blur because it is the furthest point from the focus point. I chose a blur of 100 in the example image, but the numbers will change depending on the effect you want. By clicking on any pin, you can always go back and modify the blur.

blur pin at zero on the topic

3. Place a blur pin at zero on the topic

Your entire image will be hazy when you initially launch the field blur tool. By clicking on the topic and sliding the blur slider all the way down to zero, you may place a pin immediately on top of it. The background should now be hazy, and the subject should be sharp.

Place more blur pins on the subject, one at a time, until the entire subject is sharp. Use as few pins as possible, but don’t be concerned if the background becomes sharper as you set them.

Keep working on the blur

4. Keep working on the blur

To blur a picture or background, simply add more pins to rectify this and create a more natural result. Adjust the blur based on the distance from the initial background point – items closer to the background should have a blur that is closer to that point (in our case, closer to 100), but objects closer to the topic should have a much lower amount of blur (closer to zero).

Place more points and tweak the blur until the entire image is blurred depending on the distance from the topic. Don’t worry if this starts to interfere with the background blur; simply add more background points to keep the backdrop appropriately blurred. The background immediately to the left of the horse’s face was still a little sharp in our sample image, so we put another point there with the same blur value of 100.

If necessary, adjust the blur effects

5. If necessary, adjust the blur effects

Depending on your image, you may (or may not) choose to apply the blur effects options once you’re satisfied with the placement and intensity of the blur at various distances. What each one does is as follows:

  • To simulate lens bokeh, the “light bokeh” setting brightens the brightest points in the out-of-focus area. If you don’t have point lights in the background, stay away from these controls. The “bokeh color” option changes the color of those bright spots, while the “light range” option changes the tones that are included in the bokeh effect.
  • The noise tab will fix any blurred noise in the backdrop so that it matches the subject. You’ll need to use this option if you’re dealing with an image shot at a high ISO, for example, so that the subject doesn’t have more noise than the backdrop, which would look odd. Change the amount and size of the grain with the sliders to match the grain in the subject. You can leave this setting alone if there was no discernible noise in the original image.

When you’re satisfied with the blur, bokeh, and noise levels, click OK, and Photoshop will produce the effect.

There are several more ways to do a blur effect in Photoshop, but the field blur tool is a good place to start. It provides realistic effects without the need for complicated masks or depth maps. Let’s learn alternative ways to blur backgrounds in photoshop.



To create blurring, on your computer, launch Adobe Photoshop CC. Then, from the menu bar, select File. From the dropdown menu, select the Open option. Now select a photo from your collection to modify.



After you’ve chosen a photo, go to the menu bar and select Filter. Find the Blur Gallery option in the dropdown menu. When you click on it, a choice of blur possibilities appears. We recommend using Iris Blur to blur the background of your shot since it allows you to identify a focal point while blurring the rest of the image.



After selecting the Iris Blur option, a huge Blur Ring with a Pin in the center will appear on the image. There will be other dots all around the ring as well. The Blur Ring’s Pin functions as a target. The image would be sharp and clear at the target’s center, but it would get increasingly hazy as the distance from the center increased. You can now click the pin’s center and drag it to your subject. To place the pin, let go of your mouse.



There are four larger white dots inside the Blur Ring. The blur transition area is defined by these dots. When you move the dots closer to the focal point, the blur transition becomes smoother, and when you move the dots away from the focal point, the blur transition becomes sharper. To change the size of the blur transition area, click and drag the white dots.



The blur image preview has four little dots along the outside ring. Your cursor will transform into a bent arrow when you move your mouse over one of the dots. Move your mouse slightly clockwise to rotate this double-ended arrow. As a result, the blur area will grow. The blurred area will diminish as you move the arrow counter-clockwise. Instead of clicking and dragging the dots, you can click and drag the Blur Ring line.



The Blur Knob can be used to alter the blur amount. The knob is located in the center of the Blur Preview, around the Pin. The blur is enhanced by rotating the Blur knob clockwise and decreased by rotating it counter-clockwise. The Blur slider in the Blur Tools panel to the right of your screen can also be used to modify the blur.



By repeating the steps above, you can keep tweaking the Iris Blur. Simply go to the top of the Blur Gallery option once you’re happy with your background. Your changes will be saved after you click OK.

It might assist you to increase the focus on your subject by blurring the backdrop of your photographs in Photoshop or giving the background a slight out-of-focus look. It’s also a highly sought-after look that every wedding photographer should be able to achieve.

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Final words 

A photo that appears static can be transformed into something lively and unique with a blur effect. Always keep in mind that the most crucial aspect of the blur effect is that it must appear planned rather than accidental. The simplest approach to blurring is to make sure that some parts of the image are sharp so that the blurred areas are contrasted. 

It will take some work to master adding a motion blur effect to your images, but once you do, you will notice a significant difference. Hope this article will be helpful in teaching you how to blur the background of an image.

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