Blurring background in Photoshop

Using the lens blur tool to its full potential

Take this image Ever seen those photos with the perfectly blurred out backgrounds, and no matter how hard you may try to replicate them, you open your aperture, push in tight, you still can't get that longed for look. Well thats where photoshop comes in!

As you can see, there are loads of distractions in the background, taking your eye right away from the subject.

Of course with photoshop, nothings ever simple, this is how to get from A-B with the lens blur filter.

First, lasso your subject (Personally I like to use the magnetic lasso, others may use the pen tool, others will use the normal lasso)

If you have photoshop CS5, I heavily recommend you use the refine edge tool, this will really help out in making the lens blur look real, especially around the hair.

Now duplicate the selection (ctrl+J)

Duplicate your background layer as well.

With the background duplicate layer selected, go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur, and add your desired blur effect.

Once you've applied the lens blur filter, you'll see that the originally duplicated subject is still in focus, but notice the really bad 'halo's' around the subject, well fortunately there is an incredibly simple way around this!

With the background duplicate layer selected, select the clone tool, then, alt+click on an area outside the edge of the halo and simply clone in that bit where the halo lies, and, as you have the selection of your in focus subject in its own separate layer, it wont be affected in the slightest!

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