Skip to content

How to blur the background with Photoshop

Rate this post

How to blur the background with Photoshop: Have you taken pictures of your loved ones and would like to make them look more professional before printing them? How about opening Photoshop and to apply the blurred background effect (the so-called bokeh) that you see in so many photos in magazines and billboards? You may not believe it, but getting it is really a breeze, even for those who, like you, are new to photo editing.

Even if it will take some time and, above all, practice to learn how to master the tools integrated in the program, I am sure that you will be able to obtain results of the highest level. Follow the directions I am about to give you and I assure you that you too will learn how to blur the background in Photoshop in a very short time, both on the computer and on smartphones and tablets (where Photoshop is available in the form of practical apps).

So, are you ready to get started? Yup? Very well: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next lines and, above all, implement the “tips that I will give you. I am convinced that, following my instructions carefully and scrupulously, you will not have the slightest problem in completing your “business” today. I wish you good reading and, above all, have fun!

Preliminary operations

If you are reading this article, you have most likely already installed Photoshop on your computer. In case you have not done it, however, you can fix it immediately: go to the Adobe websitepresses the button Activate your free trial version and launch the software that is downloaded to your computer. Then follow the instructions given on the screen to create your Adobe account, which is necessary to use Photoshop and all the other programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

I remind you that, thanks to the trial version of Photoshop, you can use the program for free without any limitation for 7 days. After this period, to continue using the program, you will need to subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography planwhich starts from 12.19 euros / month.

If you find it difficult to install Photoshop or if you simply want to learn more about the subject, feel free to consult the guide in which I explain in greater detail how to download Photoshop for free. I am sure this reading will also be useful to you.

How to blur the background with Photoshop on a computer

If you want to learn how to blur the background in Photoshop using the desktop version of the famous photo editing software, the first step you need to take is to open the photo in which you want to make the background blurred (by selecting the File> Open… from the program menu) and activate the mode Edit in mask mode fastby clicking on the appropriate item in the menu Selection of Photoshop.

Then select the tool Brush from the side toolbar and “colors” the subject in the foreground in the photo (the one that must remain in focus). Try to make a selection as precise as possible – perhaps using a blended brush – but don’t worry about small smudges: afterwards you can remove them quite easily.

Once you have finished “coloring”, the subject should be highlighted completely in Red but rest assured, this is just a temporary highlight that won’t show up in the final photo. Now is the time to refine the selection of the foreground subject in the photo.

Then disable the Edit in quick mask moderemoving the check mark from the appropriate item in the menu Selection Photoshop, click the button Refine Edge (top) and use the adjustment rods that appear on the screen to try to make the selection made even more precise.

Now you can finally proceed with the background blur. To do this, go to the menu Filter> Blur program and select the option Gaussian Blur …. In the window that opens, use the adjustment bar radius to set the percentage of blur to apply to the background of the photo (I advise you not to overdo it, without going further 7) and click on the button OK to save the changes made.

If you prefer a motion blur to the “classic” background blur, select the item Motion blur (instead of “Gaussian Blur…”) from the menu Filter> Blur and use the adjustment rods present in the window that opens to adjust the effect you want to obtain on the image, changing itscorner and the distance of application. Once the changes have been made, press the button OK.

When the operation is complete, if there is any point in the image where the blur was not successful (e.g. near the subject’s arms or near his ears), select the tool Blurs from the toolbar (the icon of the drop) and use it gently on the part of the image that you want to blur.

Finally, select the item Save with name from the menu File Photoshop and save your photo with blurred background in the folder and file format of your choice. Did you see that it wasn’t that difficult to blur the background of a photo?

I remind you that there is also one online version of Photoshop, called Photoshop Express Editorwhich can be used for free on the main browsers with Adobe Flash Player support, but it won’t be useful for the purpose, as it does not include the tools necessary to blur the background.

How to blur the background with Photoshop on smartphones and tablets

You want to blur the background of your photos using one of the official Photoshop apps available for smartphone and tablet? In that case, I want to tell you right away that unfortunately none of these solutions integrate the advanced tools of the desktop version of the famous photo editing software. However, if you are satisfied with the “simple” blur effect offered by one of them, in this case by Adobe Photoshop Expressread on to find out how to use it.

For starters, install on your device Android, iOS or Windows 10 Mobile the Photoshop Express app, start it and press the button subscribe to create your Adobe account (alternatively, you can do this later by pressing the button Maybe later). Once you have access to the main screen of the application, locate the photo you want to work on and tap on its preview to import it into the application.

Once you have access to the Photoshop Express editor, tap on the icon with the adjustment rods located at the bottom of the screen and, in the menu that opens, scroll through the options at the bottom identifying the item BLUR (last on the list). After selecting the latter, presses on the item Radial and select the degree of blur by moving the cursor present on the appropriate adjustment bar. To try to exclude the foreground subject from the blur range, use the blur indicator that appears on the screen (i two circles with arrows that appear on the photo), moving it and enlarging / shrinking it according to the final result you want to obtain.

As soon as you are satisfied with the result you have managed to achieve, you just have to press the button Share (the icon with the three dots connected or of the arrow with square) which is located in the upper right corner of the screen and, in the sharing screen that opens, choose the save or share option from those available.