Whether you’re a budding street photographer, a wildlife aficionado, or just want to give your selfies a more professional look, the right photo editing skills can make all of the difference. One powerful way to make your images more eye-catching and professional is to blur backgrounds.
Luckily, you don’t need a Photoshop certificate to blur the background of a photo. Simply try one of these two-second hacks to get the job done.
If you have already taken a photo without a blurry background and want to change it, there is no need to panic. You can quickly learn how to blur photo background areas by using a free online editing tool.
Our top pick is the free tool by Adobe, which allows you to remove background from an image in just a couple of clicks. You can either blur the background, or take it out entirely and add in a new color, pattern, or image of your choice.
If like many photographers, your tool of choice is an iPhone, then the easiest way to blur photo background areas is to shoot in Portrait mode. Here is how to do it:
- Open the Camera App
- Swipe the turnstile until you reach ‘Portrait Mode’
- Choose your Portrait Lighting Mode
- Aim your camera and follow the instructions
- Hit the shutter button
You should also remember that, once your iPhone thinks you have the camera position just right, the lighting banner will become yellow.
Portrait Mode is largely thought of as an iPhone-only feature, and for good reason. Only a handful of Android phones, such as the latest Samsung Galaxy, offer an in-built Portrait function. However, you can use specific Android apps such as Judi Studio or Auto Blur to blur the background of photo files after you have taken them.
All you need to do is grant the app permission to access your photos, select the photo you wish to blur, and hit the “blur background” option.
For more seasoned photographers, the Photoshop tool is a great way to achieve the exact blur effect that you are looking for. The free version of Photoshop offers full blurring functionality, so you don’t need to splash out for a license. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the photo in Photoshop
- Select ‘Layers’ and then hit ‘Duplicate Layer’
- Choose the top Layer
- Hit ‘Filter’ then ‘Blur’ and select ‘Gaussian Blur’
- Select the ‘Erase’ tool
- Erase the areas that you do not want to be blurry
Remember, you can also use the ‘Opacity’ toggle to adjust the intensity of your blur.
If you have an older phone without background blur functionality, you can still take the photo in a way that blurs the background. You should stand about 4 feet away from the subject of the photo.
Tap the subject on your screen to bring it into focus, and make sure the lighting is sufficient. Keep trying different positions until you have the blur you are looking for, and then snap that photo!
When you know how to blur backgrounds, you can start taking photos that have the impact you are looking for. As you can see, you don’t need state-of-the-art tech or expensive software for the job. All you need is a little bit of photography wisdom.
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