Background blur

Blurring the background on images is a highly effective technique that is unfortunately often forgotten by content creators. The technique can reduce the overall image size and help people see the photo as intended.

Portrait photos or photos that were taken in full profile are often good examples of images where a blurred background can help to bring forward the person in focus. With the right amount of blur, you will focus on the person and reduce the image size.

Benefits of blurring the background on images

It is not all images that will benefit from a blurred background. Portrait photos are great for gaussian blur, but photos of nature tend to be better with a very light blur. When you add a blur to an image you will en general experience:

  • A better general understanding of the image.
  • A significantly reduced image size.
  • A more professional feel.

When you add a blur to an image, you reduce the sharpness and details in the image, reducing the number of details being saved. Fewer details equal a smaller image. Exactly how much an image can be reduced in file size depends on several factors such as the size of the image, bits, file type, and compression. Therefore it is not possible to give an exact estimate of how much you can reduce the overall size by adding a blur.

How to add blur to a background

Adding a background blur to an image has become easier over the years. In the earlier days of using Adobe Photoshop, you had to manually blur the background with a brush which was time-consuming. Today the process is much easier since software such as Adobe Photoshop has tools to separate layers so that you can add blur to specific sections or layers. Also, certain image-processing apps have developed AI to analyze the image and automatically apply a blur effect without manually working with layers.

Adding background blur (General process)

If you are not familiar with the process of adding blur to a background, then the task can be time-consuming and demanding. Below you will find a simplified process description of how adding a blur is done in most image-processing software

#1 Chose your image-processing software

The first step is to choose an image-processing software that you can use to add the blurred background. Not all software has this feature, so you will have to investigate a bit before you spend any unnecessary money. Many content creators work with software such as Adobe Photoshop since it contains most of the advanced features in image-processing.

#2 Mask object in the image

The next step is to mask objects in your image. Most modern software has this feature which will automatically locate objects and add them to a new layer. If the software you are using doesn't have this feature, then you will have to manually select the object you want to move to a new layer.

#3 Arrange the layers

Once you've moved the objects into separate layers you can arrange them in the order you want. The layers that will receive the most blur should be at the bottom/in the back, and the ones you want to be in focus should be on top.

#4 Add the blur

Start by selecting the layer you would like to add a blur, and then go ahead and play around with the Gaussian blur. Gaussian blur is usually the easiest one to work with, and it will give your photos a professional look if applied correctly. Too much blur will make your photos look bad, but the right amount will improve the image significantly. When adding the blur there is no real preset. You will have to manually test the settings to find the right amount of blur for your image.

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