How to Blur Background in Lightroom

In Lightroom Tutorials by Stefano Caioni Leave a Comment

Are you wondering how to blur background in Lightroom?

You may have often found yourself in a situation where after taking a photograph, you feel a background blur would be fantastic. You may either not have the appropriate lens that helps you bring about this effect, or you aren’t in a position to retake the shot. This article is incredibly helpful in these situations and will help you understand how to blue background in Lightroom.

Related: How to Edit Photos in Lightroom Like a Pro

Why Blur Background in Lightroom

Blurred backgrounds, if done correctly, can make a photograph look spectacular.

Hide Unwanted Elements

Certain details in the background may look gorgeous from a distance, but much less so when looking at it closely. A soft blur can be really helpful in removing some of the unpleasant details.

Impart a Timeless Look

A heavier background blur can add a timeless style to an image. Using the right amount of blur, however, is crucial. Too much can make your photograph seem like it was shot by an amateur.

Bringing Focus to the Subjects

With many types of photography, the subjects are often the highlight of any photograph. Regardless of how nice the background or setting is, they must not take the attention away from the subject. A background blur can help out precisely in this regard.

How to Blur Background in Lightroom Step-by-Step

Import Your Photo

Import the photo into Lightroom. Be sure to use the ‘Develop’ module to start making all the changes. Note that in Lightroom, background blur must be applied separately to different images. Using the same blur or groups of photos, although possible, is extremely unlikely to give you the result that you want.

Create a Background Mask

You must create a custom mask to apply the blur to the background of the photograph. There are two popular methods that you use to achieve the blur effect: brushes and filters. Brushes offer the best directed control while making use of the Lightroom brush effect. Use the brush tool to paint over the exact parts of the background that you want to blur. A much faster option is using radial filters. The only challenge with such filters is that you can only apply to some variation of a circle or an oval. A graduated filter brings the best of both worlds: the control of brushes and the ease of radial filters.

Adjust the Blur Effect


You can choose from a number of brush effects by controlling the settings on the brush panel. The feather and flow sliders are mainly what you must be looking at. Adjust them to get the appropriate effect. Change the size of the brush to get the appropriate precision that you desire, and be careful; not to select the areas that need to be in focus.

A great tip is setting the flow to around 40 and then painting multiple layers for additional blue. As you paint over the background. you will see these sections get highlighted in a translucent red. The darker this red, the more the blur applied to that region. You can always undo the blur action in Lightroom as you would with any other action.


As already mentioned, there are two types of filter that can be used to blur backgrounds in Lightroom. They are radial filters and graduated filters.

Radial Filters: As the name suggests, radial filters appear in the shape of an oval or a circle. They are a great option if you want to blur everything around your subject in a photo. The blur is applied evenly to all the selected areas. Just like with the brush, you can adjust the feathering as desired. Keeping it at around 50 is great for s smooth transition from the sharper to the blurred areas of the picture. Then select the appropriate area in the frame of the photo. Click and drag your filter until the main subject is in its center. You can change the size and shape as desired. Finally, adjust the clarity by using the slider. Apply the effect and see how the blur effect appears on the photo. You can make the appropriate changes as you see fit.

Graduated Filters: These can be horizontal, vertical, or any type of diagonal. You can also rotate them using the centerline. There are three lines that will appear when you use a graduated filter. The closer these lines are to each other, the more abrupt the transition. You can duplicate your filter using the filter dot.

Before You Go

With these simple steps, you can easily blur out the backgrounds of your photographs whenever you want!

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