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5 Best Apps to Blur Pictures on iPhone & Android

Last Updated on Apr. 8, 2022 – by Jayed Miah
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5 Best Apps to Blur Pictures on iPhone & Android

Aperture, depth-of-field, and fast prime lenses are all keywords bandied about by photographers when they explain how to blur the background of a picture. But achieving a blur effect needn't be so difficult. In fact, you can recreate the same effect using your smartphone.  

Blur effects are fantastic at creating a focal point, adding depth, and driving attention to the photo's subject. When you blur the background of a photo, the subject of your picture remains sharp and in focus while removing distracting elements. The blur effect is a great stylistic technique to produce striking, professional-looking images. 

This article will review the top five background blur apps that seamlessly add a beautiful blur effect to your images.

5 Best Blur Effect Apps on iPhone & Android

1. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector App - Blur Effect

Compatibility: iOS, Android

PhotoDirector is an all-in-one photo editing app available on both iOS and Android that has a very user-friendly interface that’ll help you blur photos like a pro.

This free app is a great choice if you want to blur a photo background to highlight the picture's subject. PhotoDirector offers an excellent collection of blur styles with customizable blur focus area and intensity. Better still, the blur tool can automatically detect the subject of your image and seamlessly blur the photo background. Users will find it effortless to create artistic shots and can experiment with different light sources to enhance the photo background.

You can create stunning bokeh images with just one tap. Bokeh filters can blur and soften the background of pictures, much like blur effects. Where they differ is bokeh filters also apply light effects to the blurred background. The bokeh effect is especially striking when a light source is a primary subject, such as a candle, campfire, or light bulb. PhotoDirector has a wide range of bokeh filters you can add to any photo. You can fully customize the filters through the bokeh settings to get the exact look you want.

PhotoDirector App - Bokeh Effect

PhotoDirector goes above and beyond by including the ability to create and add animations to any image. This consists of an animated bokeh effect. Instead of just adding the effect to a photo, you can transform your image into a video or animated GIF with moving, sparkling bokeh lights.

When it comes to photo effects, PhotoDirector is the app to beat. It’s the ideal choice to create stunning imagery to share with your friends, family, or followers.

Reasons to Recommend:

2. Tadaa SLR

Tadaa SLR interface

Image credit: Tadaa SLR

Compatibility: iOS

Tadaa SLR is a camera app for iOS that includes basic photo editing options, including a bokeh effect. The app allows you to change the aperture settings, which relates to the intensity of the depth of field effect. You can also tap anywhere on the image to adjust the focus, even after taking a picture.

This app includes masking with edge detection and tap-to-focus, allowing for quicker editing. Tadaa SLR will enable you to adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation but lacks almost all other editing features. It is an excellent option if you just want to blur a photo. However, this is not the best option for you if you’re looking for an editor with more features.

Pros
  • Offers smart focus area selection
  • App is translated into 26 different languages
Cons
  • More time-consuming than other apps
  • Not available on Android

3. AfterFocus

AfterFocus interface

Image credit: AfterFocus

Compatibility: iOS, Android

AfterFocus is another specialized camera and photo editing app primarily used for adding blur to the background of a photo. There are three different options for selecting the focus area of an image which is the best feature of this app. AfterFocus allows you to create DSLR-style background blurred photos with effects including Lens Blur, Motion Blur, and Zoom Blur. There are also predefined depth effects for both still images and videos.

Other editing tools include vignetting, sharpening, and color masking. You can select from over 20 filters that can be applied to the whole image or just the background or foreground. You have the option to save your final product as an animated gif and share it directly on social media, via email, or through a messaging app. Unlike PhotoDirector, however, this app doesn’t offer any options for graphics, overlays, or stickers, which makes its functionality very basic.

Pros
  • App can automatically identify the focus area for an object with a unique shape
  • Works great on smaller screens
  • Able to save progress and finish editing at a later time
  • Free version available
Cons
  • Less user-friendly than other photo editing apps

4. RealBokeh

Real Bokeh interface

Image credit: Real Bokeh

Compatibility: iOS, Android

Real Bokeh is a bokeh-specific photo editing app that allows you to add and customize bokeh light effects and shapes in your photos. With this app, you can choose from up to 36 unique bokeh shapes to add to your images.

One unique aspect of this app is adding multiple bokeh shapes to one image by simply drawing them on with your finger. Then you can use the color picker to choose between 28 colors.

Once you have added a bokeh effect, you can change both its size and opacity to create the perfect blur photo. The app introduced newly designed Christmas bokeh shapes and beautiful light effects in a recent update.

In addition to the bokeh effects, the app offers a limited number of additional features. It has 33 light leak effects and 23 image filters to apply to your photos. The app also has an easy-to-use undo and clear all.

Real Bokeh is designed chiefly for creating bokeh effects, so please be aware you will have to download another photo editing app to create additional effects or use other editing tools.

Of all the bokeh-focused apps on this list, this app stands out as a good blur photo app companion to PhotoDirector as it has a few unique bokeh effects.

Pros
  • Offers a wide range of colors for light effects and a color picker option
  • Can add multiple bokeh shapes to one image
Cons
  • Small image size
  • Limited features
  • No free version

5. Bokeh Photo Editor

Bokeh Photo Editor interface

Image credit: Bokeh Photo Editor

Compatibility: iOS

Bokeh Photo Editor for iOS offers a full range of graphics and overlay options and a blur effect. With the free version, you can use 60 different effects, including rings, swirls, and fireworks, layered onto a single photo. You can customize your image even more and reposition or rotate effects and graphics with just your fingertips. The app also allows you to instantly share via Email, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Bokeh Photo Editor is designed for both iPhones and iPads. Unfortunately, many of the features are only available on the paid version, and the app is not available for download on Android.

Pros
  • Paid version includes 200 different effects
  • Can change the opacity or brightness of the bokeh effects that are applied
Cons
  • Free version is extremely limited
  • Even with the paid version, some features cost extra
  • Not available on Android

How to Create a Blur Effect on iPhone & Android

Since PhotoDirector is our top choice for adding a blur effect to a photo, you can follow our easy step-by-step instructions below to create a blur effect right from your smartphone.

  1. Open PhotoDirector and tap on the Edit button, then either select a photo from your library or one of the stock photos offered by Shutterstock, iStock, and Unsplash.
  2. PhotoDirector - Effects
  3. After you’ve selected a photo, go to the Effects icon and tap on the Blur tool icon.
  4. PhotoDirector - Blur Tool
  5. Tap on your preferred blur effect style from the available options on the bottom of the screen and customize the focus area using your fingertips.
  6. PhotoDirector - Blur Circular
  7. Once you’ve created the desired effect, click on the checkmark on the top right-hand corner to save it as a video or a still image.
  8. PhotoDirector - Blur Brush

For a more in-depth look at creating bokeh effects and how to customize them on your phone, check out our article How to Create Bokeh Effect.

Download PhotoDirector: The Best & Easiest App for Creating Blur Effects

Adding blur effects to your photos is a great way to quickly give your photos an aesthetic style, and you don’t need to be a professional photographer to do it. You just need the right app.

PhotoDirector is the best blur effect app because you can quickly apply the effect and choose from various styles. Plus, you can create animated bokeh effects and export them as animated GIFs or videos perfect for sharing on social media. And the app is packed with other fantastic features and creative content, including AI-powered tools that will save you time and effort when editing.

You can download the app on iOS or Android to use on the go. Alternatively, get the Mac or Windows version if you prefer doing your image editing on a large screen.

Download and try PhotoDirector for free.

Blur & Bokeh Effect Apps FAQs

1. What is Bokeh?

Bokeh is a creative effect that increases the artistic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus areas of an image. In photos with a light source in the background, the bokeh technique will change the shapes of the points of light behind the subject. 

The bokeh effect can be produced through photo editing software without technical expertise. Adding a bokeh effect to an existing photo will give the illusion that the points of blurry light are objects that are displayed as shapes, such as hearts or stars.

2. Is Bokeh the Only Blur Effect for Photography?

There are two main types of blur effects in photography: motion and focus blur. 

When the subject or the camera is moving while a photograph is being taken, it creates a motion trail, known as motion blur. Focus blur, or selective focus, is the other type that involves creating a shallow depth of field. 

There are also several photo editing techniques to achieve a specific style of blur, including Gaussian blur, field blur, radial blur, and lens blur, to name a few.

3. What Other Features Should I Look for in a Blur Effect App?

  1. User-friendliness
  2. Color correction and filters
  3. AI assist tools
  4. Content-aware editing
  5. Photo animation
  6. Retouching
  7. Color effects
  8. Light effects
  9. Overlay abilities
  10. Variety of share options

4. What is the Best Photo Editing App for iOS and Android?

  1. PhotoDirector
  2. Pixlr
  3. PicsArt
  4. Snapseed
  5. Adobe Photoshop Camera
  6. Werble
  7. Canva

Check out our article on 7 Best Free Photo Editing Apps for iPhone & Android in 2022 for a full overview of our top 7 choices.

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