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How to Add Blur to Your Photos with Image-Editing Software

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Who says that a blurred shot doesn't make for a great photo? Most image editing software packages, among them Photoshop, Paint.NET and Picasa 3.9, include a variety of blur options for photographs. Blurring options are effective for photos that have moving objects, or even those that are more static. These are a few of the editing options for blurring your photographs.

Motion Blur

Motion blur is a standard editing option included with photography software. Motion blur is the apparent streaking of rapidly moving objects. Let's suppose that you have a photograph of an aircraft in the air, perhaps then a touch of streaking motion blur could be added.

To apply motion blur to your photograph with Paint.NET, first open the image by selecting File and Open. Then click on Effects, Blurs and Motion Blur. That should open a small Motion Blur window.

From this window you can add the motion blurring. Drag the distance bar a little to the right to add some blur to the photo. Note the angle circle with which you set an angle for the blurring. That should match the angle of the moving subject. Click OK to apply the editing. 

Zoom Blur

An alternative to motion blurring is focal zoom. That is also a fairly standard option included with packages. This option adds zoom blurring around a central point of the photo, as if zooming in toward the image. Focal zoom can give the photograph a little more pizzaz and impact. To be effective, the photo must have a clear central point to zoom into. For example, the center of a flower petal might be suitable as shown below.

Flower Photo

Open that photo with a software package such as Picasa 3.9. Select the image for editing, and then click on the fifth tab. From there select the Focal Zoom option.

With this option you should then place a cross in the center of the picture overlapping the central point. Drag the Focal Size bar left or right to increase or decrease the size of the central point that is not blurred. Drag the Zoom bar right to increase the amount of zoom blur around the central point. Drag the Fade bar a little to the right so that the blurring blends with the background. Click Apply to add the editing to the photograph.

Soft Focus

Google Picasa 3.9 also has a Soft Focus option that is similar, but not the same. The option softens, and blurs, the photo around a central point. As such, the surrounding photo is only a little blurred and out of focus. It is added to blur out the surrounding background, whilst keeping the center in focus.

To add this to a selected photo, select the first brush tab from Picasa's editor. From that tab click on the Soft Focus option. That option includes a size and amount bar. The size bar can be dragged right to increase the size of the central point that is not softened. When you drag the amount bar to the right, it will increase the blur around the center of photo.

In the center there is a cross that you can drag and drop to alternative positions. However, it should remain close to the center of the photograph. If it's too small expand the circle with the size bar. Click Apply to add the editing to the photo, or Cancel to close without applying.

Radial Blur

The radial blur editing option is one that adds a circular blur to the photograph. It is ideal for photos that include rotating circles such as the cartwheel firework photograph below. You can add radial blur to your photos with thePaint.NET software package. Select Effects, Blurs and then Radial Blur. Adjust the angle of the radial blur by increasing or decreasing the angle number. Click OK to add the radial blurring to the photograph.

Those are just four of the various blurring options that can be added to photographs. Add them to give central points in photographs more impact, or to highlight motion of moving objects.

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