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How To Blur the Background In Photoshop


One of the best ways to feature the subject in an image more prominently is to blur the background. By transitioning one part of the picture into a blurry rendition and the other less sharp, you’ll have something that looks vivid while brilliantly highlighting the object or person in the image. 

Blurring the background in any image can instantly add more vitality to it, which is why this method is popularly used across several different types of formats such as wedding photos, magazine images, and in some cases, graphic designs. 

In light of this, we’re going to take a comprehensive dive into how you can blur a background in any picture in Photoshop, some neat tips and tricks, and some common mistakes you should avoid.

A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Blur an Image in Photoshop

Step 1: Make a Copy of the Layer

To do this, highlight the entire background of the image and make a copy. The fastest way you can whether you’re using Mac or Windows is by:

  • Pressing CMD+J on a Mac system.
  • Pressing CTRL+J on a Windows system. 

Step 2: Masking the Object or Person in the Image

The next step is to choose the subject (in this case, the happy family) and mask them on the layer above. To do this, right-click on the image and select the subject.

After that, open the “Layers” panel and add the subject selected as a mask icon. This is going to give you a black-and-white rendition or focus on person.

Step 3: Layering the Background

This is where you going to fill the layer in the background using “Content Aware”, removing the subject from the background. This is what you need to do:

  • Hide the layer on the top by clicking on the “eyeball” located at the left of the masked image.
  • On the keyboard, press and hold CTRL or CMD and click the masked image.
  • Then, press Select > Modify > Expand in the drop-down menu to slightly enlarge the image. The enlargement will primarily depend on how large or small your image is. 
  • Next, click on Edit then Fill, and select the function “Content Aware” from the menu.
  • Press CMD+D or CTRL+D to deselect the area.

Step 4: Background Blurring

It is now time for some Photoshop magic. You can also categorize the background of your image as a “Smart Object”, which is a good idea should you want to modify or change the image later.

  • To do this, right-click on the image’s background layer and select “Convert to Smart Object” in the drop-down menu.
  • Then, click on the “eyeball” that’s located at the left of the layered image and make the top layer reappear.
  • Now that you have selected the background layer, click on Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur.
  • You can also use the “Blur Slider” to make preferential adjustments. You can also apply a degree of “Grain” to the blur to make the image appear more realistic.

Finally, just click “OK” and save the image, and voila! The picture will have a blur effect!

Tips and Tricks

If you want to blur the background more quickly, here is a Photoshop trick that may interest you:

Step 1: Open the picture you wish to blur in Photoshop.

Step 2: Press CMD or CTRL + F and open the “Discover Panel”.

Step 3: While exploring the Discover Panel, click on “Browse” and access “Quick Actions” and then click on “Blur Background” in the drop-down menu.

Step 4: Finally, click on “Apply” and you’ll have a unique picture.

Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Using Photoshop

Don’t Use Plugins

While there are a slew of Photoshops plugins that you can choose from, selecting the right type of plugin to blur the background for a more professional look can be overwhelming. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, plugins may just cause workflow issues. So, it’s optimal to first edit the image yourself, and when you get the hang of it, you can research the best plugins to make life easier.

Failing to Mask Your Mistakes

It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced or new Photoshop user, you are going to make mistakes. However, it is not ideal to not hide those discrepancies in the process. So for example, if you’re blurring an image using masks, you can easily alter the blend mode to get rid of any inconsistencies within the image.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I blur an image in Photoshop using my iPhone?

If you’re using your iPhone to focus on the object and blur the image, you can do so by modifying the “Portrait Mode” by clicking on “Edit”. Alternatively, you can also use Adobe Photoshop Express to add a blur to your picture in the camera roll.

2. Is there an easy method to blur the background in Photoshop?

Yes. All you have to do is click on “Filter” and then select the type of blur you desire.

Bottom Line

So there you have it, a straightforward methodology to blur your image background in Photoshop. Sure, it’s going to take a lot of trial and error, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be acing the process in no time.


  • Vivi Designing

    Vivi Designing is a platform for people who are in love with design and are eager to learn for creativity and inspiration. We provide free design resources, articles, tutorials, techniques, and the latest trends in Adobe Illustration and Adobe Photoshop.

  • Derry Skinner

    Derry Skinner is a seasoned Adobe Illustrator virtuoso with a remarkable 14 years of experience. Derry's journey in the world of design has been marked by a commitment to excellence and innovation. Specializing in vector art and graphic design, Derry has a keen eye for detail and a talent for transforming ideas into captivating visuals. His extensive experience includes working on diverse projects, ranging from corporate branding to intricate illustrations. Derry Skinner is not just an expert in Adobe Illustrator; he is a trailblazer who combines experience with a passion for pushing the boundaries of visual design.

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