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How to Blur the Edges of a Photo in Photoshop

Published: 02/06/2021

Blurring the edges of an image, known as vignetting, is an effect commonly used to increase the appeal of photos. Adobe Photoshop CC is the best image editing software to add that blurring effect to your photos effortlessly. Learn how to blur the edges of a photo in Photoshop to improve your image editing skills. 

How to Blur the Edges of a Photo in Photoshop Using Multiple Methods

For beginners, image editing using Photoshop may seem challenging. However, once you get the hang of it, you will find that it is extremely user-friendly and provides several methods to carry out functionality. The same is the case with blurring the edges of a photo.

Among several intuitive ways to blur the corners of an image, we are going to describe four methods which are the quickest and easiest of all. Before explaining these techniques, make sure to duplicate the images you use to ensure non-destructive editing.

Let us dive into the four easy methods of softening the edges of your images in Photoshop. 

Method One: Feather Adjustment

Adjusting the feather is the method that is most commonly used to make the edges vague. It involves making a selection using any of the basic or advanced selection tools and then increasing the feather amount to soften the edges.

  1. Launch Adobe Photoshop CC.
  2. Load the image into Photoshop using File > Open.
  3. Remember to convert the background layer into a smart object by selecting it in the layer panel. Right-click on it and select Convert to Smart Object.

Make a Selection

  1. Decide which selection tool you are going to use to select the edges. You can use the Rectangular or Elliptical Marquee Tool or the Lasso Tool to make a freehand selection. 
  2. Here, we are using the Rectangular Marquee tool. Grab the tool from the toolbar, and drag out a selection on the inner areas of the edges. (It’s up to you to choose a larger or smaller selection.)

Select Feathering Value

  1. After making the selection, make sure the layer is selected in the Layer panel.
  2. Go to the Select menu, and from the Modify submenu, select Feather.
  3. Choose a moderate level of Feathering first. If you feel the effect is not enough, you can increase the amount later. 
  4. Click on ok. 
  5. You will not see the fading edges yet. Don't worry. Go ahead with the next steps to complete the process. 

Copy Selection Onto a New Document

  1. You can now copy the selection that you made earlier. Press CTRL+C on Windows or CMD+C on Mac. 
  2. Open a new document in Photoshop by going to File > New. 
  3. Choose the appropriate canvas size for the new document and click on Create.
  4. Paste your selection on the new document by pressing CTRL+V (Windows) or CMD+V (Mac).

Fill the Background

Your selection with its faded edges is now visible. You can choose the background layer in the end and fill it with any solid color or gradient that you like.

Method Two: Vignette

Photoshop has a vignette filter in its Camera Raw Filters tab, which allows you to add beautiful faded edges to your images.

  1. Open the image on which you want to apply the blur edges effect in Photoshop.

Convert Layer For Smart Filters

  1. Select the background layer. Go to the Filter menu and select Convert for Smart Filters. This will let you apply the Camera RAW Filter for Vignette and make sure that the process is non-destructive.

Open Vignette Filter

  1. Now go to the Filter menu once again and open Camera Raw Filters.
  2. In the dialog box that opens, choose the FX option from the right panel.
  3. Scroll down to Post Crop Vignette. 

Adjust Vignette Settings

  1. Adjust the Vignette by increasing the Amount.
  2. Adjust the Feather slider to the desired level. 
Adjusting an image using Vignette Settings
Edited image

Method Three: Gaussian Blur

The Gaussian Blur feature adds a faded edge to your image. The technique involves three very simple steps, and you can learn and practice it to quickly soften the edges.

  1. Import your image in Photoshop.
  2. Duplicate the Background layer by pressing CTRL + J on Windows or CMD + J on Mac.
  3. Select the duplicate layer in the layer panel.

Select Edge Area

  1. Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the toolbar, make a selection of the border area of the image.

Inverse Selection

  1. Inverse the selection to choose the borders instead of the inner side of the selection. Press CTRL + SHIFT + I (Windows) or CMD + SHIFT + I (Mac).
Editing an image using Inverse Selection

Apply Gaussian Blur

  1. Go to the Filter menu, and hover to the Blur option. From the submenu, select Gaussian Blur.
  2. In the dialog box that appears, choose a medium value of radius to add a subtle blur to the borders. For a strong effect, increase the radius. 
Image edited with Gaussian Blur

The Gaussian blur feature adds a very smooth transition between the edges and the image, making it a perfect method to merge two or more images beautifully.

Method Four: Add Inner Glow Using Layer Style

The last method that we are mentioning adds a white glow around the edges, adding a dreamy feel to the images. 

  1. Open the image in Adobe Photoshop CC.

Duplicate Layer

  1. Make a duplicate layer of the Background by right-clicking on it and select “Duplicate Layer.”
  2. Select the Duplicate layer to work on softening the edges.

Open Layer Style Options

  1. Double click on the layer to launch the Layer Style panel. This panel lets you add a variety of effects to the layers. 

Choose Inner Glow Settings

  1. In the Layer Style panel, choose the Inner Glow from the left side. 
Inner Glow Settings
  1. Choose the Screen blend mode and increase the Opacity slider.
  2. From the Elements section, click on Edge and increase the Size slider.
  3. You can also add some noise for a dramatic effect by increasing the noise slider slightly.
Image with blurred edges

What Other Tools Can Be Used to Blur Edges in Photoshop?

Besides the four methods that we have described above, the Photoshop interface has other options as well to let you add the blur effect to your images.

You can use the Opacity Slider for layers to fade a border selection. Just make a selection of the borders and put them onto a separate layer using CTRL + J (Windows) or CMD + J (Mac). after that, decrease the opacity slider to add a blurry effect to the borders.

Or, you can use the Blur tool or the Median Filter to apply the hazy effect on image boundaries.

When to Blur the Edges in Real Estate Images

Photographers use the blurring technique for several purposes. This effect helps you create better real estate photos in some cases. Below are a few reasons why real estate photographers should consider blurring the borders of their images.

  1. To help the focus area stand out in a shot filled with details.
  2. To add a dreamy effect to photos and make properties look more desirable.
  3. Hide unwanted details in the borders, which may be distracting otherwise.
  4. Remove hard edges when combining two or more images for a beautiful comparison or collage.
  5. To achieve a seamless blending of the image with a different background.
  6. To enhance the depth of field around a property’s exterior view.
  7. A great way to add some eye-pleasing shots to property listings. 

Conclusion

All the techniques that we have laid down for edge blurring give a different kind of effect. You can try and practice these methods on your images to decide which one portrays your desired effect in the best way. With practice, you will ace this editing feature to perfectly achieve your image styling goals in Photoshop.

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