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How to Blur the Background of Your Photos

By Melanie Doncas | Photo Editor Tutorials

If there’s one thing the work of professional photographers has in common, it’s those beautifully blurred backgrounds that instantly transform a photo into a work of art. Aside from looking pretty darn good, blurred backgrounds work wonders at creating depth of field, placing the emphasis on the subject, or creating that dreamy bokeh effect we just can’t get enough of.

how to create blurred background in photography

Before you start researching camera lenses in search of the perfect way to control the amount of blur in your photo background, we've got the best news for you: BeFunky’s Photo Editor has everything you could need to blur image backgrounds the way you want – in a single click! Powered by our very own A.I. technology, our collection of Blur tools will instantly isolate the subject in your photos and blur the background behind it. Forget fancy equipment – creating professional-looking photos has never been easier!

Blur Backgrounds Like Never Before

In the past, blurring backgrounds in the photo editing process was a tedious task that required painting the blur effect around your subject. Depending on the shape of your subject and your painting skills, the results could vary widely. To give you more precision than ever and save you a tremendous amount of time, our team at BeFunky developed A.I.-powered technology to do the hard work for you! Just choose your favorite Blur tool (there are five to choose from with this tech), click the Isolate Subject button, and watch the background blur while your subject stays crisp and clear.

Keep in mind that in order to automatically detect the subject in your image, there needs to be a strong main subject to detect. This technology works amazing with portraits, products, pet photography, and any image where there is a main subject to be emphasized. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

Create Depth of Field

Depth of field is simply a photography term that refers to the illusion of distance between the background and the foreground. This is achieved when the background of a photo is blurred and the subject in the foreground is sharp and in focus.

You too can easily achieve this look by using the Blur tool with the Isolate Subject feature to create a realistic-looking depth of field.

how to blue background photo editing
caterpillar

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Emphasize Your Subject

Whether you’ve captured a portrait, a product, or something else, blurring backgrounds can quickly and easily get rid of distractions lingering in the background.

With a combination of the Blur tools and Isolate Subject feature, you can keep your subject crisp and clear, while letting any other distractions blur into oblivion.

blur photo tool by BeFunky Photo Editor
Pedestrian, Person, Human, Clothing, Apparel, Road

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Add Drama

Nothing is quite as dramatic as a colorful, light-filled cityscape captured at night, but if you want to turn up the drama even more, the Lens Blur tool can be used to transform light sources into intriguing bokeh.

A bokeh background is perfect for portraits, pet photography, and any kind of image where you want to emphasize the subject on the dreamy background.

how to blur background of photo in BeFunky Photo Editor
portrait at night

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Tilt-Shift Effect vs. Background Blurring

There's a lot of reasons why you'd want to use a blur effect on your photos. We’re going to introduce you to the two most common uses: tilt-shift and background blur.

Firstly, what is the "tilt-shift" effect? It’s a look that’s achieved when photographers use a large aperture lens, creating a shallow depth of field (a.k.a., the perceived distance between a scene’s foreground and background). This effect sharply focuses on a certain element in the foreground, while blurring everything in the middle ground and background to make them appear further away. 

Plant, File, Flower, Blossom, Electronics, Webpage

Blur plays an important role in achieving the tilt-shift effect (remember how areas of the image must be blurred to create depth of field, a vital element in the tilt-shift effect?), but here’s the thing: being overzealous with the Blur tool will create an entirely different effect.

Sure, there are times when you will need to blur your entire image. For example, when you want to overlay an image with a quote or business logo for social media, but want to remove hard lines and distracting detail to truly make these elements pop. However, if it’s the tilt-shift effect you’re after, the trick is to choose a focal point in your image. Subtle blurring around this point then adds dimension and creates the illusion of everything else fading into the distance.

File, Webpage, Electronics, Monitor, Display, Screen

Creating a Tilt-Shift Effect Using Funky Focus

For those wanting to create depth of field or a tilt-shift effect in a jiffy, the Funky Focus tool is just the thing! You’ll find it in the Edit menu of the Photo Editor, under the Blur & Smooth section. Not only does it come with some pretty nifty pre-made templates to help you take your focal point to a whole new level, but it also offers unique photo editing options to make your images look like they were taken with an expensive camera lens.

Funky Focus gives you the option to blur images using Radial mode (for a circular-shaped blur) or Linear mode (perfect for when you want to blur the background or other panes such as middle ground or foreground). You can select these options directly above the Blur Amount slider. They’re the first two symbols on the left.

Using these templates makes it super simple to add depth of field. Here’s a quick tip: for shallow depth of field, select a narrow point of focus in your target. For deeper depth, simply widen your focal point. To do this, you adjust the target’s size by clicking on the blue circles and dragging them with your mouse inwards (to make smaller) or outwards (to make larger). You can also reposition the target so the area you want to remain completely in focus is in the center of this shape. Your photo will then gradually fade out of focus from the point you selected. Creating that popular blur background effect has never been so easy!

Additionally, editing options such as Blur Amount and Opacity can be adjusted by sliding the toggle left and right until you achieve your desired look. You can also flip which parts of your image remain in focus or blurred by clicking on the Reverse icon (it looks like two overlapping squares).

How to Blur Backgrounds With the Blur Tool

By this point, you’re probably wondering “how do you blur the background on BeFunky?" To get started, head to the Photo Editor and upload a photo of your choice.

Step 1: Select the Blur Tool

In the Edit tab on the left, scroll down to select the Blur tool (located in the Blur & Smooth section). When you click on the Blur tool, you'll notice that the entire photo becomes blurred. Fear not – we'll show you how to add the blur effect to the background only and keep the subject sharp.

blur image tool by BeFunky

Step 2: Isolate Your Subject

Click on the Erase tab in the Blur tool menu, followed by Isolate Subject. Instantly, a preview appears showing the subject our A.I. detected with the background masked in red. Click the blue checkmark button.

how to blur image backgrounds in BeFunky

If there are areas in the preview that need to be touched up, you can always use the Keep and Remove buttons and paint the details in after clicking the blue checkmark to confirm.

how to mask objects in BeFunky

Step 3: Adjust the Blur Effect, If Necessary

With the subject in your image isolated, the background should now be blurred and the subject should remain sharp. You can navigate back to the Adjust tab and use the Blur Amount slider to either increase or decrease your desired blur effect. Simply hit the blue checkmark to apply the effect.

how to blur photo background in BeFunky

Step 4: Save Your Image

If you don’t want to add any further effects to your photo, you can click the Save button at the top of your screen to save your work to your Computer, as well as Facebook, Dropbox, and more.

how to blur background in BeFunky Photo Editor
how to create depth of field in BeFunky Photo Editor

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How easy was that?! You can also repeat this step-by-step process using BeFunky’s other blur tools, to achieve a dreamy background while isolating your photo’s subject.

How to Blur Backgrounds With the Lens Blur Tool

Alternatively, you can blur your photo’s background using the Lens Blur tool. While this tool works on any kind of photo, it particularly shines on photos taken at night featuring lights, as it has amazing bokeh-producing powers.

To access this tool, head to the Photo Editor and upload a photo of your choice.

Step 1: Select Lens Blur

In the Edit tab, navigate to Lens Blur. The entire image will blur into beautiful bokeh, but we'll show you how to add the effect to only the background.

Lens Blur tool by BeFunky

Step 2: Isolate Your Subject

Click on the Erase tab, followed by Isolate Subject. Instantly, a preview appears showing the subject our A.I. detected with the background masked in red. Click the blue checkmark button.

how to add bokeh background to photos in BeFunky

Remember, if there are areas in the preview that need to be touched up, you can always use the Keep and Remove buttons and paint the details in after clicking the blue checkmark to confirm.

how to mask subjects in BeFunky Photo Editor

Step 3: Modify Your Blur Effect, If Necessary

You’ll notice you have more options in the Adjust tab for this effect, giving you greater control over your blur. You can modify options such as Blur Amount, Bokeh Intensity, Blade Curvature, and Blade Count in the Adjust tab.

how to add bokeh background to photos with BeFunky Photo Editor

The Blur Amount slider will help you increase or decrease the amount of blur. Increasing the Bokeh Intensity will create more intense light orbs, while decreasing will create less intense orbs. The Blade Curvature controls the shape of the bokeh – adjusting the slider to the left gives your bokeh sharper edges, and to the right gives you circular edges. And finally, the Blade Count refers to the number of blades you would find on a camera lens that controls the aperture. The higher the blade count, the softer the bokeh will appear.

how to blur image background with bokeh in BeFunky Photo Editor

Experiment with each of these settings to create a stunning blurred background effect that’s perfect for your photo. Finally, click the blue checkmark to apply.

Step 4: Save Your Image

Once you’re happy with how your photo looks, click on Save at the top of the screen and choose a destination, whether it’s your computer, Facebook, Dropbox, etc.

how to save images in BeFunky

Final Results

Thanks to BeFunky’s Isolate Subject tool, creating beautifully blurred backgrounds has never been easier!

blur image background tool by BeFunky
background photo editor by BeFunky

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Forget carrying around bulky camera lenses or expensive equipment. You can now achieve this look in as little as a few clicks of your mouse. Try it for yourself!

Blur Images With BeFunky


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