Portrait photo style is quite popular among the young generation. The feature is built right into the top smartphones. But what about your old photos or standard images? Thanks to the default Photos app and several third-party apps, adding a background effect to a photo doesn’t take more than a few minutes on Windows. Let’s check the top ways to apply a professional-looking background blur to photos.
Thanks to the growing demand from Windows users, Microsoft has added a neat trick to apply a background effect in the default Photos app. If Microsoft’s solution doesn’t get the job done, use third-party apps like Lightroom to edit your photos like a pro.
1. Use the Photos App to Add Background Blur
Microsoft has completely redesigned the Photos app on Windows. Over the last few years, the software giant has added handy add-ons like iCloud Photos integration, editing tools, and more to the default gallery app on Windows. It has come to a point where you won’t need any third-party alternative to manage your photos on the desktop.
The latest Photos app supports the ability to apply background blur. Before we check it in action, update the Photos app to the latest version from the Microsoft Store. Follow the steps below.
Step 1: Launch the Photos app on Windows.
Step 2: Check your OneDrive and iCloud photos from the sidebar. Head to Folders and select ‘Add a folder’ to import one from the device storage.
Step 3: Open a photo you want to edit. Click the edit icon at the top.
Step 4: Select the Background Blur tab at the top.
Step 5: Use the slider to set the blur intensity and let the Photos app apply the magic. The app detects the main subject in the photo and blurs the background based on the intensity.
Step 6: Hit Apply. Your edited photo is ready to share. Click Save as copy and save to a preferred location on the PC.
While the Photos app does a commendable job, the app may struggle in photos with too many layers and subjects. Thankfully, Microsoft offers an option to enable and select the background area with a handy brush tool. Let’s check it in action.
Step 1: Open an image in the Photos app and go to the default editor (check the steps above).
Step 2: Select the Background blur tab. Enable the Selection brush tool toggle.
Step 3: Use the slider to select the brush size. Use the brush to mark the background area in the photo.
Step 4: You can also hit Deselect and mark the main subject in the photo to blur out the remaining portion.
When satisfied with the final results, apply the blur effect, and save the photo on your PC.
2. Use Third-Party Apps to Add Blur Effect to Photos
Lightroom is one of the best third-party apps on Windows. If you have one of the compatible Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions, download the Lightroom app from the official website and sign-in with your Adobe account details.
After you settle with Lightroom, give our dedicated guide a read to add blur effect to photos using Lightroom on Windows.
3. Try Web Tool
Not everyone uses a professional photo editing tool like Lightroom for their workflow. If you want a free solution to add portrait effects, use Canva or Fotor. Let’s start with the former first.
Step 1: Head to Canva on the web and sign in with your account details.
Step 2: Create a new design and upload your photo from the PC.
Step 3: Click Edit Photo at the top.
Step 4: Select Auto Focus. Canva automatically detects the main subject and blurs the background. You can tweak the blur intensity using the slider.
Step 5: Click Share at the top and select Download.
While Canva is a graphic design tool, Fotor is a dedicated image editor on the web.
Step 1: Head to Fotor on the web and import a photo you want to edit.
Step 2: Select Adjust. Scroll to Advanced Edits and hit Background Blur.
Step 3: Use the slider to adjust the blur effect to your preference and click Apply.
You can also manually select an area to blur in a photo. Click Retain/Erase at the top and select the Brush tool to mark up an area.
Select Download to save the edited image on your desktop.
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Since the latter two are web-based tools, you can use them on your Mac, ChromeOS, or Linux desktop. Most users should be completely fine with the Microsoft Photos app. Lightroom offers much more freedom to tweak the photo for minute details.Most users should be completely fine with the Microsoft Photos app. Lightroom offers much more freedom to tweak the photo for minute details.
Last updated on 30 October, 2023
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