How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

If you were not living under a rock, you’d know that portrait mode, aka bokeh, is a sought-after photography trick. Previously, capturing pictures in portrait mode was only possible with DSLRs. However, thanks to advanced smartphone cameras, the game has changed. Phones now come with a dedicated portrait mode, which automatically blurs the background of a picture.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Just in case your phone doesn’t have a dedicated portrait mode, worry not, we are here to assist you. Photo editing tools like Snapseed have numerous features and filters. And, unsurprisingly, one of Snapseed’s tools allows you to achieve the perfect bokeh effect. All you need is a little patience. So, let’s get started.

Method 1: Using the Lens Blur Tool

Step 1: Before we begin, let’s enhance the photo. Use a filter or the Tune Image tool to adjust saturation and contrast.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Step 2: For landscape photos with a busy background, cropping helps to focus on the subject.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

To crop an image, go to Tools and select Crop. Adjust the borders to your preference and save the settings.

To add a blur effect, open the Tools window and select Lens Blur. Choose a shape, such as linear or circular. I chose oval/circle for my picture.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Adjust the outline to match the subject’s shape. Increase the area by pinching out on the image, but try to keep the outline of the circle as close to the subject as possible.

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Step 4: Unlike other photo editors, Snapseed includes a transition effect (the second outline) that creates a smooth blur as it moves away from the subject.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

To lower the transition area, swipe up on the photo to access the submenu. Select Transition and drag left.

Step 5: Now, with the transition set, it’s time to adjust the blur strength.

Want a strong blur? Swipe up on the photo and choose Blur Strength. Then, drag the slider right.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Similarly, you can add a slight Vignette effect to the photo edges. Alternatively, if you want the edges to remain in their original color, set the Vignette slider to zero. That’s all you need to do. Now, save your edits and export the photo to your phone’s gallery.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

The above method is easy but has one major flaw. It doesn’t allow for adjusting the blur based on the subject’s shape. For example, in the picture above, the area between my hair and shoulders is not blurred.

While these gaps may not be noticeable in some photos, they can detract from the quality of close-up portraits, giving the impression of an incomplete result.

Fortunately, Snapseed has an additional feature that allows you to select the specific areas you want to blur. This hidden tool, called View Edits, offers you more control over the blurring process.

Pro Tip:

Method 2: Through Advanced Edits

Once you crop the image and add filters, select the Lens Blur tool. Reduce the blur area by pinching in. See the screenshot above.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Hit the Save button in the lower right corner when finished. Step 2: Now, you’ll see an Undo icon next to the Information icon. Tap it, and a sub-menu will appear. Select View edits from the list.

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How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

All the filters you’ve applied will appear at the right. Tap on Lens Blur and select the Stacks Brush icon.

Step 3: Start drawing with the Lens Blur parameter set to 100, drawing a mask layer over the subject denoted by red.

So why draw on the subject instead of the background? We plan to reverse the selection afterward, saving time.

The trick now is to draw as close to the subject’s edge as possible. Magnify the image by pinching out for a finer brush. Once you’ve drawn the outline, start filling the insides as shown.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

The process is long and tedious, but the results are worth the pain. Click on the Reverse icon and save the changes to achieve portrait mode.

How to Blur Backgrounds Using SnapseedHow to Blur Backgrounds Using Snapseed

Just export the image and send it to Instagram.

Create Great Photos

In photography, things don’t always go as planned. Some days, you may have someone photobombing your portraits or find that the background isn’t as impressive as the foreground.

If you don’t want to remove these elements from your photo, you can use the blur tool. Snapseed also has a healing tool to easily remove small and unwanted objects.

Next: Need help fixing overexposed photos? Check out the post below.

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