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How to Blur a Photo for Free [Windows, Mac, App & Online]

Last Updated on Dec. 30, 2021 – by David Morgan
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How to Blur a Photo

There are many reasons you might want to add blur to a photo.

Blur the background of a photo to make the subject stand out. Blur a license plate or face for privacy. Add blur to an action shot to imply motion.

Adding blur will not only clean up your photographs but can give them a professional feel.

In this article, you will learn how easy it is to add blur to your photos on your smartphone, desktop, or online.

How to Blur a Picture on iOS and Android

The simplest way to add a blur to a photo on your phone or tablet is by downloading a photo editing app. The easiest app to use for adding blur to a photo is PhotoDirector. It is available for free on both the Apple App and Google Play Store.

Once you’ve downloaded the PhotoDirector app on your iPhone or Android device and follow these simple steps.

Step 1: Tap Edit and choose the photo you want to blur.

PhotoDirector App - Edit Your Photo

Step 2: Choose Effects from the list of editing tools along the bottom.

Step 3: Open the on Blur Tool.

PhotoDirector App - Edit, Blur Tool

Step 4: Choose either Circular, Linear, or Brush.

Step 5: For Circular or Linear, move the lines until you have the blur where you want it.

PhotoDirector App - Blur Tool Options

For Brush, use your finger to brush the part of the screen you don’t want to be blurred.

Use the Object Detection tool that looks like a tree cutout to blur everything but the main subject or subjects in the photo.

PhotoDirector App - Brush Blur

Step 6: Click the checkmark in the top right to save the blur effect.

You can continue editing the photo or save it to your camera roll. You can also upload directly to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, messages, and more

Now let’s look more closely at the specific blur tools.

Circular

Circular means the focus area will be radial. This is great for items in the middle of a shot you want to stand out. Take your fingers and make the focus area larger or smaller, or move the entire circle by moving the dot in the middle. The inner-circle will adjust the focus area, while the outer circle adjusts the blur degradation.

Linear

With Linear blur there are a set of lines down the middle of the image, with the middle section in focus. The two outer lines indicated a gradient range. Everything outside the lines will be blurred. You can adjust the intensity of the blur using the slider.

You can move the lines up or down or tilt them at an angle. You can also widen the focal range to allow more of the image to be in focus.

Brush

With Brush, the entire photo starts out blurred. Use the slider to choose the degree of blur, then use your finger to unblur parts of the photo. This is a good tool for blurring a face in a crowd. Use the green circle above the slider to make the brush thinner for more precision. Use the two hands above the slider to go back and forth between blurring and unblurring with the brush.

How to Blur a Picture on Windows and Mac

If you prefer working on a computer there is a free Windows and Mac version of PhotoDirector you can download to easily add blur to your photos.

After you download PhotoDirector on your Windows or Mac desktop and follow along:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Open Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Under Photo Effects, choose Blur Tools.

PhotoDirector - Blur Tools

There are three options: Circular, Linear, or Brush.

Step 4: Set the focus area and gradient range.

PhotoDirector - Blur Options

Step 5: Choose Blur Type

Blur Type options are Soft Focus, Bokeh, Radial, or Motion Blur.

Step 6: Use the slider to change the intensity of the blur.

PhotoDirector - Blur Types

You can also use the Compare Mode to see the unedited photo vs. the blurred photo.

PhotoDirector - Brush Blur

Step 7: Save the blur effect and continue editing or export the photo.

Now let’s take a closer look at the blur tools.

There are three options for setting the focal zone: Circular, Linear and Brush.

Circular

With the Circular blur tool, a radial will appear in the center of your image. The inner-circle will be in focus. The outer circle shows the gradient range from clear to blurry. Everything outside the circle will be blurred.

Adjust the radial location and size, then choose a blur type from Soft Focus, Bokeh, Radial or Motion Blur.

Linear

With Linear blur, there are a set of lines down the middle of the image, with the middle section in focus. The two outer lines indicated a gradient range. Everything outside the lines will be blurred. You can adjust the intensity of the blur using the slider.

You can move the lines up or down or tilt them at an angle. You can also widen the focal range to allow more of the image to be in focus.

When you are satisfied with the focal area and gradient range, unclick the check the box that says Show Mask to remove the lines so you can preview the photo. You can also use the Compare mode to see the photo before and after adding a blur.

Blur types for Linear blur are Soft Focus or Bokeh.

Brush

The Brush tool gives you complete control over where to blur your photo. You can blur something small, like a license plate in the background, or blur everything but one face in the crowd.

With Brush, the entire image starts off blurred. Use the brush tool to paint things into focus. Set the size, feather, and intensity of the brush, or use the eraser to reblur.

Use the Object Detection tool that looks like a tree cutout to blur everything but the main subject or subjects in the photo.

The Brush tool comes with blur types of Soft Focus, Bokeh, and Motion Blur.

Soft Focus

Soft Focus adds a light blur to your photo and implies a shallow depth of field. It focuses on just the part you want to emphasize, leaving the rest of the photo blurred.

Bokeh

Bokeh (from the Japanese word “boke” meaning “blur”) is an out-of-focus blur effect that comes in different shapes: Round, X-shaped, Heart and Star. Each shape works best for different types of photos. The star shape is good for a glistening effect during lowlighting or nighttime shots.

Radial

Radial blur adds a circular motion effect to photos. The blur swirls around the image implying movement.

Motion Blur

Motion Blur draws focus from the image, giving the perception of speed and motion. This blur effect is great for action shots of people, animals, or vehicles.

How to Blur a Photo Using an Online Tool

Raw.pics.io is a RAW file and image converter. It allows you to take raw files from your DSLR camera and convert them to online formats such as JPEG or PNG. You can also convert PDF, ORF, PEF, DNG and many more into a variety of online-friendly formats.

The site also allows you to view, resize or edit your files.

Here’s a step-by-step for adding blur to your converted image:

Step 1: Open your photo on the site by hitting Start.

Step 2: Click Edit found on the left panel.

Step 3: Click on Blur found in the right toolbar.

Step 4: Continue hitting Blur until you reach the desired effect.

Step 5: Save blurred image.

Best Software to Blur a Photo Free Download

There are many reasons to add blur effects to your photos. You can fade out a distracting background, blur private information, add implied motion or make the subject pop.

It couldn’t be easier to add professional-looking blur effects with PhotoDirector. Play around with multiple blur tools for a custom look, or use the Object Segmentation tool to adjust your blur effect automatically.

With so many features available, PhotoDirector is surprisingly easy to learn and use. You can download the app for free on Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows.

How to Blur Image FAQs

1. How Do I Blur the Background of a Photo?

Here’s a step-by-step look at how to blur the background of a photo using the PhotoDirector app on iOS and Android:

Step 1: Hit Edit and choose your photo.

Step 2: Choose Effects from the list of editing tools along the bottom.

Step 3: Click on Blur Tool.

Step 4: Choose Brush.

Step 5: Use the Object Detection tool that looks like a tree cutout to blur everything but the main subject or subjects in the photo. This will make the background blurry.

Step 6: Click the checkmark in the top right to save the blur effect.

On Windows and Mac:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Hit Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Under Photo Effects, choose Blur Tools.

Step 4: Open the Brush tool.

Step 5: Use the Object Detection tool that looks like a tree cutout to blur everything but the main subject or subjects in the photo. This will make the background blurry.

Step 6: Choose Blur Type and use the slider to change the intensity of the blur.

Step 7: Save the blur effect and continue editing or export the photo.

2. How Do I Blur Something in a Photo?

Using PhotoDirector on iOS and Android:

Step 1: Tap Edit and choose the photo.

Step 2: Choose Effects from the list of editing tools along the bottom.

Step 3: Open the Blur Tool.

Step 4: Choose Brush.

The entire image will appear blurred.

Step 5: Use your finger to erase the blur from everything in the photo except the one item you want blurred.

Step 6: Click the checkmark in the top right to save the blur effect.

On Windows and Mac:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Open Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Under Photo Effects, choose Blur Tools.

Step 4: Choose Brush.

The entire photo will appear blurred.

Step 5: Choose Blur Type.

Step 6: Use your mouse to erase the blur from everything in the photo except what you wish to remain blurred.

Step 7: Use the slider to change the intensity of the blur.

Step 8: Save the blur effect and continue editing or export the photo.

3. How Do I Blur Part of a Picture?

Using PhotoDirector on iOS or Android:

Step 1: Hit Edit and choose the photo you want to blur.

Step 2: Choose Effects from the list of editing tools along the bottom.

Step 3: Click on Blur Tool.

Step 4: Choose either Circular, Linear, or Brush, depending on the part of the picture you want to blur.

Step 5: For Circular or Linear, move the lines until you have the blur where you want it.

For Brush, use your finger to brush the part of the screen you don’t want blurred.

Step 6: Click the checkmark in the top right to save the blur effect.

On Windows and Mac:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Hit Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Under Photo Effects, choose Blur Tools.

Step 4: Choose the blur tool that reflects the part of the photo you want to blur.

Step 5: Set the focus area and gradient range.

Step 6: Choose Blur Type.

Step 7: Use the slider to change the intensity of the blur.

Step 8: Save the blur effect and continue editing or export the photo.

4. How Do I Add Motion Blur to a Photo?

Using PhotoDirector on Windows or Mac:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Click Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Under Photo Effects, choose Blur Tools.

Step 4: Select Brush.

Step 5: Under Blur Type, choose Motion Blur.

The Motion Blur effect will be added to the entire photo.

Step 6: Use your mouse to deblur the main focal point.

Change the size, feather, and strength of the brush tool, or use the Object Segmentation tool to deblur a person or vehicle.

Step 7: Use the Direction Dial to change the direction of the motion blur.

Step 8: Save the blur effect and continue editing or export the photo.

5. How Do I Deblur a Photo?

Using PhotoDirector on Windows or Mac:

Step 1: Import photo to PhotoDirector.

Step 2: Click Guided from the bar across the top.

Step 3: Choose Deblur under the Improve or Remove tab.

Step 4: Click Apply.

Step 5: Use the slider to adjust the intensity or enter a numerical value.

Step 6: Save your image.

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