How to Blur Background in Lightroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Blur Background in Lightroom: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing software widely used by photographers to enhance and manipulate their images. One popular technique in photography is creating a blurred background, also known as "bokeh," to make the subject stand out. In this article, we'll walk you through the process of blurring the background in Lightroom using simple and effective steps.

Step 1: Import Your Photo

1. Launch Adobe Lightroom.
2. Click on the "Library" module located at the top of the screen.
3. Import your photo by clicking the "Import" button or simply dragging and dropping your image into the Library module.

Step 2: Develop Module

1. Switch to the "Develop" module by clicking on it in the top-right corner or by pressing "D" on your keyboard.
2. Locate the "Basic" panel on the right-hand side.

Step 3: Create a Mask

1. Scroll down to the "Adjustment Brush" panel within the Develop module.
2. Click on the "Adjustment Brush" icon (it looks like a paintbrush).
3. Once the brush options appear, set the "Flow" and "Density" sliders to around 50-70% for a gradual effect.
4. Ensure that the "Auto Mask" option is unchecked.

Step 4: Brushing the Subject

1. Adjust the size of the brush using the "[" and "]" keys or by dragging the "Size" slider.
2. Carefully brush over the subject you want to keep in focus. Be precise, but don't worry if you go slightly outside the subject's edges.

Step 5: Refine the Mask

1. If you make a mistake or want to refine the mask, use the "Eraser" brush option found in the Adjustment Brush panel.
2. Brush over any areas you want to remove from the mask.

Step 6: Background Blur

1. After creating the mask around your subject, scroll down to the "Effects" panel.
2. Adjust the "Amount" slider under the "Post-Crop Vignetting" section. Increasing the negative value will blur the background. Start with a value of around -30 and adjust to your liking.
3. You can also fine-tune the "Midpoint" and "Roundness" sliders to control the vignette's shape and size.
4. For more advanced users, consider using the "Dehaze" slider in the "Effects" panel to further enhance the background blur.

Step 7: Refine as Needed

1. Zoom in on your photo to check for any imperfections or areas that need further refinement.
2. Use the "Brush" and "Eraser" options in the Adjustment Brush panel to touch up your mask and background blur as necessary.

Step 8: Final Adjustments

1. Once you're satisfied with the background blur, you can make additional adjustments to your photo in the "Basic" panel or other sections of the Develop module.
2. Fine-tune settings such as exposure, contrast, and color to enhance the overall image.

Step 9: Export Your Photo

1. After making all the desired adjustments, navigate back to the "Library" module.
2. Select your edited photo and click on the "Export" button to save it in your preferred format and location.


Creating a blurred background in Adobe Lightroom can significantly enhance the visual impact of your photos, making your subjects stand out. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can achieve professional-looking results with ease. Experiment with different settings and refine your technique to master the art of background blurring in Lightroom.

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