How to Add a Blurred Background to Any Photo in Photoshop

Learn how to create professional-looking photo with a blurred background in Photoshop! Easy steps to elevate your photos & make your subject shine.

Ever admired those stunning photo with a subject in sharp focus and a dreamily blurred background? This effect, often achieved with expensive lenses, can be recreated easily in Photoshop. It’s a fantastic way to elevate your photo and make your subject the centre of attention.

In this guide, we’ll break down the steps to create a professional-looking photo with a blurred background in Photoshop. Even if you’re a beginner, you can follow along and achieve impressive results.

Selecting Your Subject

The first step in creating a professional-looking photo with a blurred background in Photoshop is selecting your subject. This is crucial, as a clean selection ensures a smooth and realistic blur effect. Here are your options:

  • Quick Selection Tool: This user-friendly tool lets you paint over your subject to create a selection. It works well for simple backgrounds.
  • Object Selection Tool (Newer Photoshop versions): This AI-powered tool automatically detects your subject, making selection a breeze.
  • Lasso Tool: Offers more precise control, ideal for subjects with intricate details. However, it requires a steadier hand.

Tip: Once you’ve made your initial selection, refine it using the “Refine Edge” tool. This allows you to adjust the selection border for a flawless result.

Blurring the Background: Different Techniques

Now comes the magic! Here are two popular methods to create a professional-looking photo with a blurred background in Photoshop:

Method 1: Using Layer Masks

Duplicate your background layer. This creates a copy to work on without affecting the original image.

Apply a blur to the top layer. Go to Filter > Blur and choose your desired blur effect. Gaussian Blur is a good starting point.

Add a layer mask to the blurred layer. This mask controls where the blur is applied.

Paint black on the layer mask to reveal the sharp subject. Use a soft brush for a gradual transition from sharp to blurred areas.

Method 2: Using the Neural Filters (Newer Photoshop versions)

  1. Go to Filter > Neural Filters.
  2. Select the “Depth Blur” filter. This AI-powered filter automatically analyses your image and creates a depth map, blurring the background.
  3. Refine the blur using the sliders. You can adjust the blur intensity, focus area, and transition smoothness.

Experiment with both methods to see which one suits your workflow and image.

Fine-Tuning Your Photo (Optional)

For an extra professional touch, you can further enhance your photo:

  • Dodge and Burn Tools: Refine lighting and shadows to add depth and dimension to your subject’s face.
  • Color Adjustments: Adjust exposure, contrast, and color balance for a pleasing overall look.
  • Sharpening: Apply a subtle sharpening filter to your subject for extra crispness.

Conclusion: Take Your Photos to the Next Level

Creating a professional-looking photo with a blurred background in Photoshop adds a touch of sophistication and draws attention to your subject. With these techniques and a little practice, you can achieve stunning results that rival studio photography.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with different blur effects and adjustments. So, grab your favourite photo image and get started on creating captivating photos with Photoshop!

Additional Resources

How to select a subject with one click

Mastering Precision Editing: A Comprehensive Guide to Layer Masks in Photoshop

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