Learn > Advanced Photo Editing

Bokeh & Blur Backgrounds With Lens Blur

By Whitney DePaoli | Advanced Photo EditingPhoto Editor Tutorials

The right camera lens can transform the background of your image into beautiful, buttery bokeh while keeping your subjects in the foreground nice and sharp. Although these lenses cost a pretty penny, there’s never really been a way around achieving the look without them. Until now, that is!

blur background photo tutorial

Now in the Photo Editor, you’ll find a shiny new Lens Blur tool that can replicate the “bokeh depth of field” look in just a few swipes! It senses the light sources in your shots, turning them all into beautiful bokeh, all the while allowing you to fully adjust the shapes and sizes of said bokeh. Best of all, you can easily create depth of field and control which areas of your image remain sharp and in focus. We’ll show you how!

Lens Blur Inspiration

Located in the Edit tab of our Photo Editor, Lens Blur joins an array of photo editing tools we have to help you blur photo backgrounds. The difference with Lens Blur is that it’s ultra-dramatic, helping create beautiful bokeh in your images that is typically only seen when you capture a photo with a fancy camera lens. This tool gives you that same brilliant effect in the editing process, and it’s easily adaptable and adjustable to suit whatever your photo blur needs may be. Here are a few examples of what Lens Blur can do:

Create Bokeh Backgrounds

Most photo editing tools can help you blur photo backgrounds, but the Lens Blur tool takes it beyond blur! It transforms the light sources in your images into insanely gorgeous bokeh, allowing you to control the intensity and shape in the process.

how to blur photo background in BeFunky
before lens blur

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The Lens Blur tool will default to blurring the entire image, but you can use it in Paint Mode to create a beautiful bokeh background while keeping the foreground super sharp. The best part is, with the right Lens Blur techniques you can create totally seamless depth, just like you would get with that expensive camera lens.

Create A Dramatic, All-Over Blur

The Lens Blur tool defaults to a gorgeous all-over blur, turning your photo into a bokeh masterpiece. It looks particularly amazing with night photography like cityscapes and Holiday lights.

how to blur photos
city at night

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There are so many settings you can adjust with Lens Blur to get the perfect intensity of your bokeh and blur. That way, you can always control the outcome.

Blur Photos Selectively  

Like we mentioned before, Lens Blur can be used in Paint Mode to selectively blur the background of your image. The cool thing with Paint Mode is you can selectively add bokeh and blur anywhere you’d like! You’re not limited to the background, so if you want to get a little creative with Lens Blur, you can selectively add it anywhere you’d like.

how to add bokeh to photos
holding lights

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Now that you’ve got some visual inspiration for your next photo editing session, we’ll show you how easy it is to create depth of field and beautiful bokeh with your imagery. It’s easier than it looks!

How To Blur Backgrounds With Lens Blur

To get started, head to BeFunky’s Photo Editor and upload your image using the Open button at the top of the page, or simply drag-and-drop your image file into the interface. Next, click on the Edit tab (the mixing board icon) in the menu on the left and scroll down to the Blur & Smooth category to select Lens Blur.

Lens Blur tool by BeFunky

When you click on Lens Blur, you’ll notice that the entire photo transforms into a bokeh blur. If this is the look you want, you can easily adjust the sliders to control it. The Blur Amount slider will help you increase or decrease the amount of blur. The Bokeh Intensity will create more intense light orbs if you increase the amount and less intense orbs if you decrease the amount. The Blade Curvature controls the shape of the bokeh orbs - adjusting the slider to the left gives your bokeh sharper edges, and to the right gives you circular edges.

how to blur photos in BeFunky

The Blade Count refers to the amount of blades you would find on a camera lens that control the aperture. Standard DSLR camera lenses have 7 blades, while film cameras have 6 on average. The higher the blade count, the softer the bokeh will appear.

how to blur background with BeFunky

If you want to create depth of field in your image, keeping the subjects in the foreground sharp and blurring the background only, click on the Paint tab (next to Adjust). Keep the Brush Hardness and Brush Strength at 100% and adjust the Brush Size to your liking, then paint around the subject in the foreground. Don’t worry about being too meticulous at first, it’s better to paint slightly outside the lines around your subject for this part. After you’ve painted around your subject, don’t press the Apply button just yet - we’re going to do a few rounds of painting at different strengths to blend everything together seamlessly.

how to create depth of field in photo editing

Next, zoom into your subject by adjusting the Zoom bar at the bottom of the screen. Decrease the Brush Hardness to about 55% and the Brush Strength to about 70%, then click the Erase icon and adjust your Brush Size to fit the areas around your subject that need to be filled in with the Lens Blur tool. Carefully click and drag to paint around your subject to blend the outer edges in, while maintaining the sharp edges of your subject. Zoom out when you’re finished, but don’t click the Apply button just yet.

blur photo backgrounds in befunky

Pro Tip:

To move around your image while you’re zoomed in, hold the Space bar while you click and drag to a new view point. You can continue using your photo editing tool once the Space bar is released.

Finally, we’re going to paint less blur in the foreground to make the Lens Blur effect look like it seamlessly fades into the background. Increase the Brush Size all the way to its largest setting, then decrease the Brush Hardness to about 25% and the Brush Strength to about 10%. Uncheck the Erase button. Swipe the Lens blur tool in broad strokes over the foreground of your image to make it appear more in focus than the background. When everything looks seamless, click the blue checkmark to apply your edits.

how to blur background of photo

From here, you can keep on editing your image with other tools and effects, or click the Save button at the top of the Photo Editor to save your photo.

Before and After

The results of this Lens Blur tool are seriously unbelievable! Just look at how it transforms the light sources in the background into big, beautiful bokeh:

how to blur photo background in BeFunky
before lens blur

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With the Lens Blur tool, there’s no need to buy an expensive camera lens to create those buttery backgrounds in your photos. Click the link below to turn your favorite photos into something phenomenal!

Photo Editing, Simplified.

Photo Editing. Simplified