Background Blur: how to fake a shallow depth of field in 15 minutes

How to blur background detail in Photoshop Elements: Step 10

When shooting a portrait you can flatter your subject by switching the camera to Portrait mode. This opens up the lens’s aperture to a wide value such as f/4.5. As a result of this wide aperture value the subject’s face will look nice and sharp, while allowing you to blur background and foreground details.

Background Blur: how to fake a shallow depth of field in 15 minutes

When capturing a wider shot of your subject, you’ll need to step back or zoom out to fit them into the frame.

However, if you use the same wide aperture setting it can be more difficult to get the person looking sharp while keeping the background blurred.

You’ll also get less background blur when shooting while zoomed out, allowing the eye to become distracted by background detail.

In this Photoshop Elements tutorial we’ll show you how to take control of your shot’s bokeh (background blur), so you can hide distracting details and draw the eye to your main subject.

We’ll show you how to create a realistic background blur by using the Selection Brush to isolate particular regions and then masks to stop the rest of the frame from blurring.

This enables you to apply different blur amounts to specific areas depending on their distance from the lens, mimicking the look of a lens-induced bokeh effect.

You’ll also learn how to use masks to control the behaviour of Adjustment Layers, so you can target and reduce the intensity of the distracting specular highlights without adjusting the exposure in the rest of the shot.

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