One of the first things any aspiring photographer wants to know is how to blur a photograph. Also known as low depth of field, this effect takes a certain part of the image and makes it out of focus or blurry.

Blurring a photo background is a look that is especially loved by portrait photographers because it makes the subject’s face the focal point of the image. In fact, blurring a photo as opposed to having everything in focus can give a photograph an entirely different feel.

On the other hand, done incorrectly, blurring a photo can also ruin an image. There’s a great difference between purposefully blurring a photo and creating misplaced blur because you have not achieved sharp focus.

Blurring the background of a photo takes great skill and takes quite a lot of practice, however, if you are less interested in learning the art of photography and simply want a quick fix, these days you could use a blur photo app to do the job for you. There are many tools available online to achieve this and your first step would be to google keywords like blur picture, blur image, blurring app or blur photo app and see what results you get.

There’s no doubt that blurring a photo in a specific way can create a more beautiful and interesting image. What a skill to be able to create blur in a certain part of an image to create more focus in another.

If you are searching blur picture, blur image or looking for a good blurring app, here are a few must-have techniques:

Use A Blur Image App for Apple Devices

Whether you are using an iPad or an iPhone, you don’t necessarily need a computer to achieve blurring a photo. There are answers online that can help you to make the most of this brilliant technique.

You could use a blur photo app like Skitch which allows you to almost magically achieve blur.

Your first step is to download the blurring app onto your chosen devices. Next, go to your iPhone or iPad photography app. Select the settings button on the photo and Skitch will appear.

If this sounds like fun, keep reading for your road map on how to use Skitch, the blur photo app.

On the bottom right-hand side, you will see a small arrow. Clicking on this will open up an icon with small squares. Next, use your blur picture tool to right-click on the bit of the image that you want to blur. Confirm your selection and watch your image be transformed!

One of the greatest advantages of this blurring app is that you can always undo the transformation if you don’t like it!

Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Blurring a Photo on PC

blurred photo of woman in tunnel
Learn how to blur images correctly to make them more interesting. - Source: Rathaphon Nanthapreecha on Pexels

When using Windows, using a blur picture app, it is incredibly easy to achieve a low depth of field effect and there are many ways to do this.

On a PC, there is a blurring app that will allow you to edit or retouch photos by making certain sections of an image blurrier. This technique is good for blurring a photo background too.

Start by importing your photograph into your chosen blur image programme, then click on “Draw” which you will find at the top of your screen. You can then colour in the section of the image where you want to not show something. For instance, you could use this method to remove a cigarette butt on the path. This blur image technique is also effective in programmes like Paint, for example.

The second method is more specialised and involves using a blur photo app called “Evernote”. Similar to “Skitch”, this programme is convenient for rapidly and successfully editing photos.

In this blurring app, which is free, you simply drag your images into the programme window. After that, select the image that you want to blur and you will see a small “@” at the top right of the image.

Click on the symbol and it will take you to the blur picture tool. Again, like Skitch, the photograph will open on the left and your next step is to simply select “Pixelate image” to create blur.

Once you have got the results that you are after, remember to save the image into a destination folder of your choosing so that you can easily find it again!

Isn’t it incredible that in just a few clicks you can do with a blur photo app what professional photographers are trained to do!

Of course, there is no real substitute for creating this effect yourself from scratch, but for this, you would probably need the help of a photography tutor to give you lessons on exposure and the important relationship between your aperture (f-stop) and your shutter speed!

Blurring a Photo Background in Editing Software

Editing or retouching a photograph can also be achieved using a software package. For instance, adding Gaussian blurring to a happy snap with editing software like Photoshop can be done to the entire photo or a precise area.

So what on earth is Gaussian blur?

Gaussian Blur

Gaussian blur is a popular blur image tool that is available in editing software. It allows you to achieve a low depth of field to a background by using this incredible tool that mathematically works on every individual pixel in your selected area.

You can choose whether to use Gaussian blur to make a whole image blurred or simply use this clever tool to add depth of field to your image.

Gaussian blur can be used in two different editing programmes: Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

photo of purple flower with blurred out background
Gaussian blur can help you blur an entire image or simply add depth of field. - Source: Unsplash

In Photoshop

  • Open a new layer.
  • Choose the “luminosity” mode.
  • Click on “Filters” then “Blur”, and then “Gaussian Blur”.
  • Then you can actually choose just how blurred you want your photo to be.
  • Remember to save the results into a destination folder once you are happy with them.


  • Open the photo.
  • Select the area you want to blur.
  • Choose how much of a blur effect you would like.
  • Apply the blur by selecting “Filter”, then “Blur”, and then “Gaussian Blur”.
  • Again, save your image once you are satisfied.

These are two very basic methods to produce great results. You could also apply these techniques to remove a lamp pole or add a low depth of field to your image.

Other types of filter for blurring a photo include lens blur, motion blur, and blur radius.

Blurring With Your Lens and Camera

With a good digital SLR camera,you can get an outstanding blurring effect on your images using settings that will create a low depth of field.

You can achieve this by blurring the background of a photo while keeping the sharpness in the foreground.

photographer adjusting camera settings
Did you know that you can create a blurring effect using your DSLR camera? - Source: Unsplash

To do this, and assuming that you understand the basics of photography already, there are a few basic rules to follow:

  • Make sure that you zoom in on your subject.
  • Try and use a zoom lens, for instance, anything from 200mm-500mm for example.
  • Choose a low aperture or f-stop, something between f/1.8 and f2.8 would be great, but even f4.5 can work for blurring the background of a photo.
  • Ensure that there are at least two metres of space behind your subject.

Of course, unlike using a blur image tool or blur photo app, the low depth of field that is created by your camera cannot be undone with the click of a mouse!

The Blur Image Tool on a SmartPhone  

The blur image capabilities on smartphones these days are unbelievable.

The blur picture tool on your phone can also be called the portrait mode and using this is really simple.

  • Open your phone’s camera.
  • Select the “Portrait” mode.
  • Note of the tips that pop up on your screen.
  • Take your photograph as you normally would.
  • Blurring the background of a photo is this simple in a blur image app!

These days most modern smartphones, like the iPhone come with not only a portrait mode but a plethora of other functions too!

Whether you use a free blurring app or pay for an editing programme, there are many ways to add blur to an image and when done correctly it can really turn a snap into a professional-looking image

If you need help achieving a low depth of field, or blur, to a photo, consider finding a tutor on Superprof where you can find face-to-face or online tutorials depending on what suits you.

When it comes to learning anything new, there is no doubt that private tuition will fast track your progress and hone your skills in ways that are seldom achieved in group settings. And at an average fee of R256 per hour, this is an investment that could truly pay off.

Furthermore, Superprof tutors usually offer their first lesson for free which is a wonderful way to find out if your potential tutor is someone you could actually connect with or not. Why not look one up near you today?

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Niki is a content writer from Cape Town, South Africa, who is passionate about words, strategic communication and using words to help create and maintain brand personas. Niki has a PR and marketing background, but her happiest place is when she is bringing a story to life on a page.