I got my first proper camera back in 2016 while studying at the University of Edinburgh. Back then, I had just started blogging and my Instagram game was not super strong. So, in 2016, I turned 24 and received a camera. Although it was relatively good, the lens was not detachable, the zoom not very precise and the macro mode nonexistent. The portrait mode was very hard to come by and working once out of thrice. Not so great for product photos.
I use my iPhone 8S for product photos now. The portrait mode is amazing. See for yourself here.
For outfit photos, however, I barely use my iPhone. I use the automatic mode of my camera. Turns out, the photos are pretty good. Not good enough to my liking though. Unfortunately, I could not afford a super good camera with a super powerful lens. Thus, I had to improvise and find another way to achieve that blurred background most professional photos have.
How you may ask? With Photoshop of course! And now that I have found a way, I am going to teach you. Sure it may take some time to get along with the technic but at least, it’s gonna be cheaper than investing in a super expensive camera.
How to create a faux depth of field with Photoshop
Tutorial 1 – Creating a faux depth of field
Step 1 – Open a photo in photoshop. Unlock the photo in the layer tab. Select the “quick selection” tool and adjust intensity of reach (in red on the photo). Select the zone you want to work on, here the body, to create a silhouette. Zoom in and out and adjust the tool’s radius to correct the outline of the silhouette so that it fully embraces the body shape and all details. Ignore hair in the wind or any rebel hair when drawing the outline.
Step 2 – At the bottom of the layer tab, select “new fill layer” (circled in red). Create a new fill layer in “solid color” (circled in yellow) and choose the color black (code 000000).
Step 3 – Then, create a second new fill layer (circled in red) in “gradient” (circled in yellow) and choose the color white (code ffffff). The gradient will allow the background to gradually blur out for a more natural look. The further away, the more blurred out. Drag the solid color layer above the gradient layer. Select both layer with Ctrl then press Ctrl + G to merge in a group.
Step 4 – Go into the “channels” tab (“couche”, circled in yellow) and unselect all channels. Pick any one of the channels (circled in blue), click right and duplicate. Name it “depth map” (circled in green). Unselect the newly created channel and select back all the others. Go back to the layer tab. Unselect all layers BUT the original photo (selection is shown by the little eye as circled in orange on the photo).
Step 4 – Click on the “filter” (filtre) menu at the top of your window and select “blur” (flou) then “lens blur” (flou de l’objectif).
Step 5 – A new window opens. Change the radius (rayon), circled in green, and shape (forme), circle in yellow, to your liking. Both shape and radius help determine how blurred the background will be. The intensity and where the blur starts on the photo. Click “OK” when you’re happy with the result.
Step 6 (optional) – Edit lighting, colors, exposure, saturation, etc.
Tutorial 2 – Creating a faux focus
I am a firm believer that the background does not matter so much, as long as the foreground is interesting, and most important of all, in good focus. Of course, a good background does make a picture more attractive. However, when it is blurred out, what we grasp from the photo are the colors rather than the elements.
Creating a faux focus works better on mid-shots or portraits. It also depends on the angle of the photo. But selecting the silhouette and blurring the areas around it, you basically “move forward” the body, which gives the impression that it is in the foreground. Although all elements of the photo are technically on the same level. The steps to follow to create a faux focus are basically the same as the ones for a faux depth of field. Except that, after creating a solid color layer in black for the silhouette, instead of creating a gradient layer, you will choose “solid color” again. When doing so, choose white (code ffffff) for the background.
Drag the black silhouette layer above the white layer. Press Ctrl + G to join in a group. The following steps are once again, the same as a faux depth of field. However, when choosing the radius, I’d make it higher (around 50) to really mark the difference between foreground and background
I hope you will find those two short tutorials useful. Do send over your work! I’d be interested to see what you get from it! I know Snapseed has a focus option but it is imprecise. Basically a big oval around the person in the photo.
Do you use Photoshop to edit your photos? What do you usually do? Have you already blurred out a background photo with Photoshop? What other tutorials would you like to see?
Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon, love, Corinne.