How to blur a photo background
Blurring a photo background is a great way to draw the eye to your subject and create a subtle focus in your photo.
It is particularly useful if you have distractions in the background of your image. You can use blur to smooth over these areas without completely changing the background.
In Photo Studio there are 3 options for adding blur to a photo. Radial and Linear blur provide a “template” that you can position on your photo and adjust. Custom blur gives you a free hand to blur any areas of the photo you like. The option you choose will depend on your preference, as well as the style and composition of your photo.
In this tutorial we will show you how you can use these 3 tools to blur a photo background.
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Where to find the blur tools
All blur options are located in the Photo Editor module of Photo Studio. First click the Effects tab in the right-hand panel, then select Creative Blur to access the tools.
Option 1: Linear Blur
Linear blur adds lines of blur to your photo with a sharp area in the center.
I chose linear blur for the photo above because the areas I wanted to blur are on either side of the main subject. If you wanted to blur more areas, it would be better to choose radial or custom blur.
Click linear blur to add the template to your photo. You can move, rotate and adjust the size of the template using the handles.
The middle of the template is the sharp area, this should cover the subject of your photo. The template gradually blurs the rest of the photo outwards from this central focus.
You can adjust the size of the sharp area using the Midpoint slider. You can also adjust the amount of blur in the blurred areas using the Blur slider. Finally, you can simulate brighter light sources in the photo by adjusting the Bokeh Brightness slider.
Option 2 : Radial Blur
Radial blur is similar to linear blur in that it uses an adjustable template to add blur.
I chose radial blur for the below photo because I wanted to create a soft graduated effect, blurring outwards from the subject. The areas I most want to “hide” are all at the outer edges of the image, for example the car in the window, and this is where blurring will be most intense.
Click radial blur to add the template to your photo, you can adjust size and position as before.
The central circle is the sharp area and should cover the subject of your photo. The outer rings are increasingly blurred to create a smooth, gradual blurring effect.
You can adjust the width of the circles using the Feather slider. Increasing circle width will make blurring more gradual, decreasing it will make blurring more “sudden”.
As before, you can adjust the amount of blur and simulate brightness using the Blur and Bokeh Brightness sliders respectively.
Option 3 – Custom Blur
Custom blur uses a paintbrush to add blur to specific parts of a photo. It gives you a lot of flexibility and control over the blurred areas but doesn’t provide the same gradual effect as radial blur for example.
I chose custom blur for the above photo because I wanted to focus only on the couple and hide all the other areas, especially the large kitchen area behind.
Click custom blur, this will add blur to your entire photo.
You will also notice that two circles representing the paintbrush appear. You can use this paintbrush to “un-blur” the areas that you want to focus on.
Areas touched by the inner circle of the paintbrush will be completely sharp, areas touched by the outer circle will be more feathered. You can adapt the brush using the hardness slider.
Use the brush size slider to adjust the overall size of your brush for more precision.
You can also change brush mode and add blur back to parts of the photo. This is useful if you “un-blurred” an area by mistake and want to correct it.
As before, you can increase or decrease background blur with the Blur slider. You can also simulate light sources with the Bokeh slider.
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