Lesson 107: Putting The Blur Into Your Image

Before we get started, grab a hold of your smartphone, open the camera app, and follow along.  All smartphone cameras will have the functionality I describe, yours might look different. If you know the functionality exists, you can find it, figure out how to use it, then practice it so it becomes an action you can take when the great picture you want to take presents itself. 


After all the previous lessons detailing how to get clear, sharp images, why would you introduce blur? 

Adding blur to the background of your image can produce a WOW photograph by focusing the viewer's attention on your intended subject. Using this effect will allow your portraits to pop! 


  • Minimizing distracting elements in the background
  • Makes in-focus areas appear sharper and stand out even more 
  • Removes the identity of people or objects in the background 
  • Creates a dreamy, serene mood 
  • Adds depth to the image by blurring the background 

Ready to give it a try? 

Open your camera app.  Near the bottom of your camera screen, you should find PORTRAIT. This is the mode allowing you to blur the background of your photograph.  

Your smartphone uses software to determine where to apply background blur. You use the associated slider to increase or decrease the amount. If the blur also impacts your subject, move your cell phone closer to your subject. 

The blur effect slider all the way to the left produces no blur. The blur effect slider all the way to the right produces maximum blur.


Position the subject of your portrait in the light with a dark background. Then blur the background.  The combination of light/dark contrast and background blur will allow your subject to virtually pop.