blur a background

Published on November 23, 2021

How to blur a background in Lightroom?

In this blog I’ll show you a super fast way to blur a background in Adobe Lightroom (Classic).

I’m using a feature that was added in the latest big update (October 2021). If you haven’t updated Lightroom yet, you have to update it first to be able to use this new feature.

If you’d rather watch the video tutorial of this process, click here or scroll down to the end of this page. If you want to download the image I used for this explanation, click here.

Step 1: Mask the background

First we need to select (mask) the background. To do that, select ‘masking‘ and then use the ‘select subject‘ feature. If you’re using an older version of Lightroom, the ‘select subject’ option isn’t available and you have to mask your background manually.

Lightroom will now select your subject. Select ‘show overlay’ to see the masked area. We want to blur the background and not the subject, so we have to mask the background. To do that, click ‘invert’.

The background is now masked, which means that the adjustments will only apply to that area. My selection looks good, but Lightroom can make mistakes too. If you want to add an area to your selection, click ‘add‘. To remove an area from the selection, click ‘subtract‘. You can use all kind of tools to add or subtract, but using the brush tool is probably easiest.

Step 2: Blur the background

When your background is masked properly, you can start editing. To blur or smoothen a background, I decrease the texture and clarity. I decrease them both to -100, but you can use different settings. In addition to that, you can lower the sharpness and remove the noise.

You can see the before and after image below. These simple adjustments created a nice and subtle blur.

Tip: press the \ key to switch between your before and after image and press the Y key to see the before and after image next to eachother. This way you can easily compare your original image to the edited image.

blur a background

And that’s how you quickly blur a background in Adobe Lightroom. Want to know more about Lightroom? Check out my other blogs or take a look at my YouTube Channel.

You can find the video tutorial of this process below!

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