7 Photo Blur Effects to Edit Photos Into Works of Art

Banish the assumption that all blur is bad! We say that slightly out-of-focus pics can look majorly out-of-this-world great. Think gently blurred landscapes, or softened photo backgrounds to make your subjects stand out, and don’t forget glittery points of bokeh lights—we’re all for adding blur to parts of a picture. has tons of specialized tools that will help you create gorgeously blurred photos with that just-right amount of softness. Let’s learn how to photo blur seven ways!

1. How to blur an entire photo with one click

Blur effect to soften a whole photo

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Blur the background photo to make text stand out

Let’s start simple and blur the whole pic. Soften effect gives a subtle, downy fuzziness to images. You can use it to add an all-over blur to any image in a single click— sweet, you’re done! See you next time. Or, if you want to be a leeeeettle bit choosier, you can also use Soften like a micro-targeted laser beam of blur, using the Erase & Brush palette and following section number two below.

softness effect

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Pro tip: Use the Softness slider to either seriously blur your photo, or dial back the fuzziness. If it’s super-mega-ultimate blurriness you seek, layer on another coat of Soften after you click Apply.

2. Blur the background of a photo

Blur certain parts of a photo

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Here’s the lowdown on how to selectively blur parts of your photo (like the background), instead of blurring the entire thing:

  1. Open your image in the PicMonkey editor.
  2. Select the layer that you wish to soften.
  3. In the Effects tab under Basic, select Soften (or another photo blurring effect) and click the paintbrush icon.
  4. When the Erase & Brush palette appears, click the paintbrush tab at the top.
  5. Say you want to blur everything except your beautiful self, select the blur tool and brush only over yourself. Seems backwards, we know, but check it: click Reverse effect and voilà, everything but you is blurred.
  6. If you accidentally blur too much, switch your paintbrush to an eraser, and de-blur the desired area.
  7. When you’re done, click Apply.
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