Filed under: Photo Editing, Tech News

How to Blur Background in Lightroom

This is an in-depth and step-by-step guide on How to Blur Background in Lightroom.

From this guide, you can learn the three easiest but effective ways to blur the background to make the subject pop up.

The photo editing tricks are:

  • Blur the Photo Background Using Brush Tool
  • Make Background Blur With Radial Filters
  • Blur Background Using Graduated Filters

Apart from these, you can also learn how to make background blur in Lightroom mobile.

Indeed, we will break down everything you need to know about blurring photo backgrounds.

So, let’s get into this guide right here.

How to Blur Background in Lightroom [2023]

Getting a dreamy blur background that will help to focus on the subject is not a challenging task. But if you are new to Lightroom, it will be daunting then for you.

Today, we will make that difficult task simple by breaking down three simple methods of blurring the background in LR.

Here we go.

Method 1. Blur the Photo Background Using Brush Tool in Lightroom

Making background blur with the Brush tool is the most accurate way. Here how you can use this tool to get the blurry effect.

Step 1.

Begin with importing a photo on which you want to apply the blur effect.

To import an image, go to File > Import Photos and Videos. It will bring you to a browser where you can pick the picture you want to edit.

Once you select the picture, tap on the Import option.

Step 2.

After importing the photo into the Library Module, it’s time to head over to Develop Module. From here, you can find every editing tool to control your retouching workflows.

You can find several adjustment tools from the top side of the editing panel. Pick the Brush tool from the top of the list and tap on it to activate it.

At the bottom, you can find different customization options to control how the Brush will bring changes to your photo.

Step 3.

Now, it’s time to fine-tune your adjustment brush tool. Move the Size slider from left to right to get what size brush tip you want to get.

Then, customize the Feather slider by moving it right to left or the opposite. It helps you to alternate the hardness of the brush.

Step 4.

The playing part comes. Play with the brush tool and draw the background with it to change.

To see which part of the background you are painting, tick mark the Show Selected Mask Overlay box.

If you paint the background accidentally, don’t feel sorry. You can erase the part. To do so, go back to the brush panel and tap on the Erase tool.

Then, adjust its hardness and softness and brush over the area where you don’t want the blur effect.

Step 5.

Go back to the Brush panel again and find the Sharpness slider. Then, move it right to left to blur your background.

Method 2. Make Background Blur With Radial Filters

Radial Filter is another great tool to blur the photo background in Lightroom. Though you don’t get better control over it, you can do the task effortlessly.

Step 1.

Import the image you want to edit by going File > Import Photos and Videos.

Select the photo and click on the Import button to open it in the Library module.

Step 2.

Switch to Develop Module and pick the radial filter.

Step 3.

Create a selection by clicking on the middle of the subject and drag it outwards to make a circle.

You don’t need to be super precise in this case as you can fix it later.

Step 4.

Adjust the selection you made by clicking & dragging the edges. If you fail to make the circle around, probably you aren’t in the center of your subject.

So, move the center pin by dragging and place it in the center.

Then, move the Feather slider from right to left or the reverse to enlarge or lessen the changing area. To see what area of your image you are painting, check the Show Selected Mask Overlay box.

Step 5.

Back to the adjustment panel and find the sharpness slider. Then, move it from left to right to apply the blur effect.

Method 3. Blur Background Using Graduated Filters

Using Graduated Filter is one of my favorite tricks to blur a photo background. Here how you can achieve the desire blurry effect using this tool:

Step 1.

Open the picture you want to apply the blur effect.

To import a photo, head over to File > Import Photos and Videos.

Then, select the image and tap on the Import button.

Step 2.

Go to the Develop Module and choose the third tool (Graduated Filter) from the Adjustment Tools.

Note: You can’t see any slider on the screen as you can customize this directly.

Step 3.

Once you activate this tool by clicking on it, now tap on and drag the part of the image you wish to blur.

When you click on the image, you can see three lines. Drag them from the frame’s outside edge toward the center. The graduated filters may be vertical or horizontal.

Step 4.

Adjust the three lines. The closer the lines will be, the harder the blur effects you will get.

On the other hand, the more apart the lines from each other, the softer the blur effect you will achieve.

Step 5.

Finally, return to the Adjustment tools panel and use the Sharpness slider. Move it from left to right to make your photo background blur.

How to Blur Photo Background in Lightroom Mobile App?

The three tools we use to make the photo background blur, you can find the same tool in Lightroom mobile app. Indeed, following the same steps, you can apply background effects using the mobile version app.

Here we let you know how to use Radial Filter on Lightroom mobile to blur the background.

  • Open your Lightroom mobile app.
  • Choose and import the photo you want to edit.
  • From the menu, choose the radial filter that looks red.
  • Place it in your photo. Position it in a way so that it can cover the object you wish to turn it into focus.
  • Resize the filter according to your requirements.
  • Check the Details box.
  • Finally, decrease the sharpness to apply the blur effect.

Best Lightroom Presets to Blur Background

What if you can blur the background without doing anything? Do you want to make your photo background blur with a single click?

Then, you are no longer away from bringing your dream into reality.

Using a Lightroom preset, you can apply the blur effect within a second. And Background Blur from Preset Love is one of the best LR presets to blur the background.

The best part is- it’s completely free to use. So, follow the above link and download it for applying a blurry effect in your photo with a single click.

After downloading it, if you trouble installing presets in Lightroom, check out this guide.


Is there a blur tool in Lightroom?

Yes, you can find several blur tools including Brush Tool, Radial Filter, and Graduated Filter to blur the background in Lightroom.

Can you blur the background in Lightroom mobile?

Using the mobile version of Lightroom, you can blur the background using the Radial Filter and Brush tool.

How do I blur a face in Lightroom?

Select the brush tool from the Adjustment tools in the Develop Module. Adjust the feather of the brush and start painting on the face. Then, use the Sharpness slider to apply blur effect in the face part of your photo.


On the above, you highlight three alternative ways to blur the background in Lightroom.

Every editing method I mentioned is simple and easy to follow. Among them, I love the Graduated Filter editing process to apply a blur effect on the photo.

However, you can try out any methods to achieve the desired effect.

Now, it’s your turn.

Which editing method are you going to apply to blur the background? Do you have any questions about this term: How to Blur Background in Lightroom?

Let us know by stopping in the comment box.