Published on November 16th, 2013 | by Dylan Lott

Quick Tip: Creating A Depth of Field Effect in Photoshop

Today I’ll be showing you how to create an image with a blurred background. This is for editing pictures that don’t have a blurred background already if you didn’t have them created when you

You’ll have 3 layers of the background total. 1 of those layers will be layer masked, the other one won’t be layer masked, and the third will be the original.

1. Layer mask the foreground

Layer mask the parts of your image that you want to keep in focus (read: untouched by the blur filter).
In this example, we’re doing a band promo picture, so we want the background to be blurred and we want to keep the band members in focus. Layer mask the members so that when you apply

2. Blur the background.

Use the 2nd background copy (the one that isn’t layer masked) and blur it using Filter > Blur > Motion Blur. Set it to taste.
We’ll be setting it to 300 in this tutorial, but you can and should vary the amount of blur you use depending on the situation and what you think looks best for your use. Certain scenarios might only require a slight hint of blur, where others might warrant much heavier blurring.

3. Clean it all up.

Make it look natural. 

Use the brushes to tighten up the layer mask you created and make it all look flowing evenly. Your goal here is to create something that looks like it was done using the actual camera lens, not a Photoshop effect.

4. Apply other effects.

If you have any other editing effects you want to use, this is the time to apply them. Black and white, color enhancement, etc…

5. Experiment with other types of blurs

We used motion blur in this tutorial, but you can use other types as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Photoshop is very forgiving in this aspect. Save a couple different copies of your project and mess around with a copy. Try new effects out, different types of blur, different amounts of blur, different color enhancements, etc…

Experience is the best teacher!


Have some other tips for making or editing a band promo picture? Let us know in the comments!

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