Blurred Backgrounds

with 21 Comments

Blurred Backgrounds
by Jenifer Juris

Learn how to quickly create a dreamy background that you can use to highlight your favorite quotes, phrases, scriptures, and songs.

One of the things about being online with social media is that you see gobs of quotes and phrases. When I come across one that jumps out at me, I feel compelled to share it with those around me.

In this tutorial I’ll show you one way to create a shareable image that is easy to read, yet beautiful.

Step One: Open a Photo

  • Open a photo (File > Open) that has colors you enjoy.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose File > Duplicate. (Photoshop: Choose Image > Duplicate.)
  • In the dialog box, click OK.
  • Close the original photo (File > Close).

Step Two: Crop The Photo

  • Get the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  • In the Tool Options, click on the New Selection icon. Set the Feather to 0 and the Aspect to Normal. (Photoshop: Set the Style to Normal.)
  • On the document, click and drag out a selection around the portion of the photo you wish to use. To constrain proportions, hold down the Shift key while dragging. To reposition while dragging, press and hold the Space bar.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Image > Crop.


Step Three: Blur the Photo


Adobe Photoshop (CS6 and earlier) and Photoshop Elements:

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Blur > Surface Blur.
  • In the dialog box, set the Radius to 100 and the Threshold to 255.
  • Click OK.


The above image is what my photo looks like after running the Surface Blur filter once. If you want to achieve a dreamier background, you can run the same filter multiple times. Doing so will give your photo a look that more closely resembles the Field Blur option found below.) Depending on your photo and the look you are going for, you may decide to use more or less of the Surface Blur. Play with the numbers and see which effect you like best.

Here is what my photo looks like after running the Surface Blur filter five times:


Note: After running this filter many times, I found that after the fifth time it didn’t really change much. While your photo might vary slightly, I’m guessing this will be similar for you, as well.

Adobe Photoshop CC Only:

  • In the Menu Bar, choose Filter > Blur Gallery > Field Blur.
  • In the Blur Tools, set the Field Blur number to 500 or a lower number if you prefer.
  • In the Blur Effects, set the Light Bokeh to the strength of your choice.
  • Feel free to play with the other Bokeh effects to get a blurred background that you enjoy.
  • In the Options Bar, Click OK.

Note: Running this filter will take a LONG time. Like go-to-the-restroom-and-then-get-yourself-a-cup-of-coffee long time.


Take It A Step Further:

Now that your background is ready, it’s time to be creative!

  • Add text to showcase your favorite words.
  • If you like, use a vignette around the border.
  • Consider using a font ornament or two to add style to your type.
  • Blend the photo into a light background paper for added texture.
  • Add a stroke outline for a border.

Here’s my final image using the Surface Blur Filter:


Here’s the final image using the Photoshop CC Blur Gallery Field Blur:


Some more examples:


For the above image, I used the same Surface Blur filter, but I brought down the Radius to 53 and I only ran it once. It was just enough blur to make my words legible.


For the above image, I used the Surface Blur filter one time with the Radius set to 53. Because the quote refers to sunsets, I wanted to make sure the sunset in the photo was visible. For that reason I didn’t go too crazy with the blurring.


For this last image, I used the Field Blur filter in Photoshop CC. It might be hard to believe, but this photo started as a close up shot of my teal dutch oven. The flash reflecting off the lid is what gave me the light bokeh you see.

The beauty about using the blur filters is that your photos don’t have to be perfect. So dig into your photo stash and have fun creating some beautiful images. Also, don’t be afraid to share them. The world can always use more beauty and positive words in it. Just make sure to give credit when necessary.



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Jenifer JurisAuthor: Jenifer Juris | Contact Us
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21 Responses

  1. jhon
    | Reply

    good idea. am a beginner on photography editing

  2. Ingrid
    | Reply

    Thank you Jenifer. I will also use this method to create a base for background textures.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thanks, Ingrid! That’s a GREAT idea! I hope you’ll post your creations in the gallery so I can see them!! 🙂

  3. Barbara Gandy
    | Reply

    Jennifer, what font did you use for “when I wake up”?

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Barbara, that font is Glamour Brush. 🙂

  4. Barbara Gandy
    | Reply

    Have tried twice to get the download link for the tutorial, but haven’t received it yet in my inbox? What’s the trick? Don’t want to miss it!!!

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Hi Barbara! I’m sending you an email shortly so we can sort it all out. 🙂

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Barbara, I just sent you an email. If you didn’t get it, I’m wondering if your junk mail filters are preventing you from getting them… Let me know if you didn’t get my email.

      • Barbara Gandy
        | Reply

        Got your email, but in all my attempts to get the PDF, I never get anything from Digital Scrapper.

        • Jenifer Juris
          | Reply

          I’m so glad you got my email and I’m so glad Mary was able to get you a copy of the PDF! 🙂

  5. Nann Dalton
    | Reply

    Awesome awesome tutorial Jenifer! You are so brilliant.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Thanks so much, Nann!! 🙂

  6. Charlene Reeves
    | Reply

    Thanks again beautiful girl.

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      You’re so welcome!! 🙂 🙂

  7. Evie
    | Reply

    Thank you for the tutorial, Jenifer. Is Glamour Brush a free font?

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Hi Evie! You’re very welcome!! 🙂 I don’t believe glamour brush is free. I obtained it in a CU Font bundle some time ago.

      • Evie
        | Reply

        Thank you Jenifer.

  8. Martha
    | Reply

    How do you convert the black word art to white?

    • Jenifer Juris
      | Reply

      Hi Martha! There are multiple ways to do this. First, you could just fill the layer with white by making white your foreground color and pressing Shift Alt Backspace (shift opt delete on a mac) when you have the word art layer selected in the layers panel. Second, you could create a new layer just above word art layer and fill this new layer with white by pressing Alt Backspace (when White is the foreground color) (Mac: Opt Delete). Then clip this layer to the word art layer by choosing Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Please let me know if you have other questions! 🙂

      • Martha
        | Reply

        THANK YOU, so much.

        • Jenifer Juris
          | Reply

          You’re so welcome!! 🙂

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