Want to create beautiful, blurry backgrounds in your photos? Blurring the background of pictures on the iPhone can be tricky. But in this tutorial, you’ll discover three simple methods for creating professional-looking photos with blurry backgrounds. Read on to learn how to blur the location on your iPhone camera when taking a picture. And learn how to edit your photos with realistic blur effects.
Use portrait mode to create beautifully blurred backgrounds.
Do you want to take professional-looking portrait photos where the background is out of focus?
Portrait mode in the Camera app on iPhone offers an easy way to blur the background of your photos.
What is portrait mode?
Portrait mode is a shooting mode in the built-in Camera app on iPhone. It uses depth effect software to create soft, blurry backgrounds while your subject stays in focus.
As the name suggests, portrait mode is ideal for taking portraits of people and pets. But you can also use it to blur the background behind other objects.
Portrait mode is beneficial when the background is not pretty or distracting. Blurring the ground creates a more excellent image and helps the subject stand out.
Portrait mode is available on the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max. You will also find it on iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, и iPhone 7 Plus.
Unfortunately, Portrait Mode is not available on iPhone 8, 7 or later. But the methods in this article show you how to create blurry backgrounds on any iPhone.
To learn how to blur the background without portrait mode, keep reading.
How to Blur the Background of iPhone Photos with Portrait Mode
Portrait mode makes it easy to create photos with dreamy, blurry backgrounds.
Open the Camera app on your iPhone and select portrait mode at the bottom of the screen.
The subject must be at a distance of 70 centimetres to 2 meters from the camera. And there should be plenty of light (portrait mode doesn’t always work in low light).
Compose the photo and wait for the words Natural Light (or Depth Effect on iPhone 7 Plus) to turn yellow.
It indicates that the depth effect is working and you are ready to take the photo.
Look at the viewfinder and see if the depth effect function produces good results. Your subject should be sharp and the background blurry. Now press the shutter button to take a beautiful portrait.
Edit or remove background blur in portrait photos
Sometimes portrait mode photos don’t turn out quite the way you wanted them.
Maybe you want the background to be out of focus. Or perhaps you want the experience to be a little less blurry.
Sometimes the camera does not correctly determine which areas are the background and the foreground. For example, it can blur part of the foreground or leave the background in focus.
But the great thing about portrait mode is that you can make adjustments to the background blur after you’ve taken the photo.
On iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XS, XS Max, and XR, you can adjust the amount of background blur.
Start by opening the desired photo in the Photos app, and then tap Edit.
Click on the f/number icon in the top left corner.
Now move the depth slider (below the photo) to the left or right to increase or decrease the strength of the blur.
On older iPhones, there is no way to adjust the strength of the blur. But you can turn off the depth effect entirely, bringing the photo back to the original without blurring the background.
To remove the blur, tap the yellow portrait icon at the top of the editing screen. You can turn it back on at any time by pressing the portrait.
Another cool feature in portrait mode is Portrait Lighting (not available on iPhone 7 Plus). Portrait Lighting lets you apply studio lighting effects to your photos.
To experiment with the portrait lighting options, tap the portrait lighting icon in the top left corner of the editing screen. Then swipe across the portrait lighting icons.
Natural light is the default portrait lighting setting. This option does not apply any lighting effects to your photo.
Studio light brightens the subject. Contour light creates shadows for more defined facial features.
The stage light makes the background completely black. B/W Stage Light is similar to Stage Light but turns the photo black and white. And Light Key B/W creates a black and white photo with a white background.
After selecting the portrait lighting effect, you want to use, move the slider to adjust the strength of the impact.
Get close to your subject to blur the background.
Want to know how to take blurry background photos on iPhone without using portrait mode?
It’s straightforward! And you can do it on any iPhone – even older models that don’t have portrait mode.
It would be best if you got closer to the object.
Get close to your subject.
This little-known technique is a guaranteed way to create unique blurry backgrounds in your photos.
The closer you get to the subject, the more blurred the background becomes.
To test this technique with your iPhone, find the subject you want to photograph.
Make sure the subject is not too close to the background. Otherwise, the background will not look blurry. The farther the background is from the issue, the more blurry it will appear.
Start by holding your iPhone a few inches away from your subject. Now slowly move your phone closer to the object. Notice how the background gradually becomes blurrier the closer you get.
If you get too close, the camera will not focus. When this happens, the object will appear blurry. It would be best to be far enough away to make the subject look sharp but close enough to blur the background.
Also, make sure there are details in the background that are blurry. If you’re photographing against a plain white wall, there won’t be anything for the camera to blur.
Manually set the focus point.
When shooting close-ups, the depth of field is negligible. Its means that only a tiny part of the photo’s foreground is in focus and the rest of the scene appears blurry.
Therefore, you must tell the camera which part of the scene to focus on. If you don’t, the camera may focus on the wrong part of the scene, and your subject will be blurry.
To set the focus point on the subject, touch the desired area of the screen. The yellow square will indicate the focal point.
Moreover, focus can be locked. It will allow you to take multiple shots of the subject without setting the focus point each time. To lock focus, press and hold for a few seconds until AE/Focus Lock appears.
If the background doesn’t look blurry after focus is set, try moving closer. Make sure you reset priority each time you change the distance between the camera and your subject.
Approaching portrait mode
The approximation to our theme works with any camera, including all iPhone models.
Why? Because the shallow depth of field is created optically by the lens, not by software.
If your iPhone has portrait mode, it’s tempting to use it whenever you want a blurry background. But in some situations, it is better to use the “approach” technique.
The main advantage of getting closer to the subject is that you don’t have to rely on software to decide what should be in focus and blurry. You will get good results every time as long as you are close enough to the subject and set the direction correctly.
Another benefit of getting closer to the subject is that you can easily change which part of the scene is in focus.
So if you want the background to be in focus and the foreground blurred, tap on the background area.
Or try clicking somewhere in the middle to set focus at that point. The foreground and background appear blurred in the photo below, while the pebbles in the middle are in sharp focus.
Use the AfterFocus app to blur the background while editing.
Have you ever taken a photo and wished it had a blurry background? Maybe the background looks terrible, and you wanted to hide it. Or perhaps the object doesn’t stand out very well.
In such cases, you can use an editing app to blur the background on your iPhone after you have taken a photo.
Below you will learn to blur a photo on your iPhone using the app AfterFocus.
Open the AfterFocus app, click Select Photo. Open the album with the photo you want to use. Find a picture and tap to open it.
The first time you open a photo in AfterFocus, there are some helpful tips. Swipe your finger across the screen to read each clue, then tap the X in the top left corner.
Select manual selection mode
There are two modes for selecting the areas you want to blur: smart selection mode and manual selection mode.
The intelligent selection mode allows you to select areas in focus or blur quickly. Draw lines to indicate which area is the background and the foreground. You don’t have to be too precise. The app will do its magic to blur the background while keeping the foreground sharp.
In manual selection mode, you need to be precise. You must “paint” over all the areas you want to keep in focus. If you mistake and select part of the background, erase that part of the selection.
Often you will need to use a combination of both methods. It’s best to start with an intelligent selection to roughly select background and background areas. Then use the manual section to tidy up the edges where the brilliant selection is not perfect.
How to switch between innovative and manual selection modes? Click on the pencil icon in the top right corner to switch to manual selection mode. Or click on the wand icon to switch to intelligent selection mode.
Please note that you will lose the selection if you switch back to smart mode if you are using manual mode.
Use smart selection mode to specify background and foreground.
Make sure you are in Smart Select mode. In smart selection mode, you will see a pencil icon at the top of the screen.
Click on the focus icon at the bottom of the screen. With your finger, draw a line inside the area you want to keep in sharp focus. It will usually be the foreground theme.
Now click on the background icon at the bottom of the screen. Draw a line around the inside of the background.
The foreground area appears in a red mask when you release your finger. It indicates a size that will not be blurred. The white line indicates the area you want to keep in focus. The black line indicates the area you want to blur.
If necessary, draw additional lines to define the foreground and background areas.
There is also a middle icon at the bottom of the screen. You can use it on photos with a clear definition of foreground, mid-range, and background.
Lens blur is the type of blur you get when you photograph with a shallow depth of field. Motion blur is the kind of blur you get when there is movement in a scene or when the camera moves while shooting. In most cases, you will want to select Lens blur.
Use the slider to control the strength of the blur. Move to the left for less blur or to the right for more blur.
Check the Edge Feature checkbox. This ensures a smooth transition between in-focus and blur areas.