How to blur the background in photoshop

In this beginner photoshop tutorial I am going to explain the process of applying blur effects and fake lighting effects to make the whole picture look nicer.

Step 1: I open up a photo of my choice in photoshop and I duplicate the layer.

Having the first layer selected, I press “L” for lasso tool and at the same time I make sure that the feathering value is “250px” before making the selection like the pic below. ( The value of the feathering depends on the resolution of your photograph, the bigger the photo the higher feathering value you should set )

Then I press shift+ctrl+I to inverse the selection before going to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur and apply the first blur effect to the picture. I set the blur value to be about 15 and press ok.

I press and hold Shift while in lasso tool mode to add onto the original selection. This will make the centre circle smaller. Try to circle it around the lady’s face.

Now I use the same procedure to apply the blur filter, but this time using a smaller value. I used 8. Then I press ctrl+D to remove the selection and this is what we get.

At this stage we have achieved the blur effect that we want on the photograph. And now we want to apply some lighting effect at well. First we create a new empty layer on top.

Then we press B for brush and choose a soft edge brush by pressing the right mouse button within the canvas. In this case I choose 300 px for the brush size.

I make sure that the empty layer is selected and choose a light yellow color to paint over the areas circles in red below. This is to give the lighting in the photo a more dramatic make over, making it look softer so that it can help to set the mood better.

Then I press ctrl+L to bring up the level tool and move the control left to increase the high light intensity of the photo.

This is the final result we have. And I have put the two photos next to each other to see the before and after photoshop look. Hope you enjoy this photoshop tutorial on how to blur the background in photoshop.

This is part of the series of photshop tutorials for beginners. You can check out some of articles in the series here: how to change hair colors in photoshop, how to retouch photo in photoshop, how to make a collagen in photoshop and how to whiten teeth in photoshop.

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6 Comments | Write a Comment

  1. Electra says:


    I’m very glad that I found your blog!

  2. Julia Agnes says:

    Detailed and easy to foloow tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

  3. KBharath says:

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial its really helpful.

  4. faiyaz says:

    This is awesome. I think it is the best of all tuts.

  5. Zahidur Rahman says:

    This is a very useful tutorial. We need more

  6. Jasmine says:

    Thanks for the background blurring tutorial. The final result looks pretty cool! Who needs large aperture lens anymore?! Haha…

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