Adobe Photoshop Tools: How to Blur the Photo Background

Photoshop is a powerful software when it comes to editing pictures. From altering photos to enhancing them, there are a plethora of Photoshop tools for you to work on your images and edit them to your liking. Here, we are going to explore one particular effect: blurring the background. 

Why Blur the Background?

The background blur is a technique that’s common with high-end cameras with wide-aperture lenses. The main reason why you would want to blur the background is so that the main subject of your photo is in focus, especially in the “portrait” mode. If you do not possess a professional camera, fear not; Photoshop tools can make your picture with a blurred background just as good.

How to Blur a Photo Background Using Photoshop Tools 

There are a variety of Photoshop tools and filters to achieve the blurred background effect, and it is up to you to play around until you are satisfied with the result. Let’s look at the most common ways of blurring a photo background with the following Photoshop tools. 

Blur Tool:

The best Photoshop tool to obtain a blurred background is the blur tool. The blur tool in Photoshop looks like a raindrop and can be found on the toolbar. Here are the steps to using the blur tool:

  1. Open the toolbar, click on the blur tool and select the brush size and stroke from the top of the screen.
  2. Choose the area of the image that you would like to focus on.
  3. Choose the blur strength i.e., how strong you want the blur effect to be.
  4. Click and hold your mouse down over all the parts of the image where you want to blur the background. Move the mouse in a circular manner.
  5. The blurred background image is ready.

Lasso Tool:  

Another Photoshop tool for blurred photo backgrounds is the lasso tool. There are three types of lasso tools: rectangular, polygonal (if the background has straight edges), and magnetic lassos (where Photoshop selects the foreground and background for you). Follow these steps to use this Photoshop tool:

  1. Select the appropriate lasso tool from the toolbar.
  2. Hold your mouse and draw a line around the area you want to blur the background. When you release it, the line will appear like marching ants.
  3. After marking the desired region, go to the Filter option from the menu at the top and select “Blur.” Choose any variation and select the parameters like blur radius and angle to get the desired effect.
  4. When you are happy with the effect, save the image.

Using a Ghost Layer:

Ghosting an image is an excellent Photoshop tool for a blurry effect. Horror film fans who want to lend their pictures a ghostly effect can use this Photoshop tool with the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the background layer in the layers palette (right of the screen) and select “Duplicate Layer” and rename it if needed (say, “blur”).
  2. Go to the Filter option from the menu and select Blur. Choose the appropriate blur style and set the parameters.
  3. In the layers palette, click the half-moon icon and select any adjustment layer option. Don’t move any of the sliders.
  4. Drag the adjustment layer below the “blur” layer. Press the Alt key and move the cursor between the two layers. When a double-circle symbol appears, click; the blur icon moves right.
  5. Click on the white rectangle in the adjustments layer. Press Alt+Del – the mask is removed, and the original image is visible.
  6. Select the brush tool and choose a soft-edged brush. Set