Blur The Background And Direct The Focus To The Subject
Pro portrait photographers love fast-aperture lenses for their ability to achieve a shallow depth of field, producing a soft, dreamlike background. We can simulate this effect in Photoshop, too.
Go to Filter > Convert For Smart Filters, then select Blur > Gaussian Blur.
Blur the image until you’re pleased with the background blur. Don’t be concerned with the blurred main subject.
In the Layers panel, click on the Layer mask and, with black selected as the foreground color and with a soft-edged brush selected, mask out (paint out) the area over the main subject.
For a smooth transition from the sharp to the blurred part of your image, reduce the Brush Opacity as you move from the sharp to the blurred parts of the image.
Start with the Opacity set at 100% when painting over the main subject and end with the Opacity set at 10% or even 5%. Cropping the picture tight also will help to draw more attention to the main subject.
Soften Skin In An Instant
Few are born with perfect skin. Fewer still are able to avoid the effects of sun and age. Nearly everyone can use some softening for a more flattering portrait. Start this technique by creating a duplicate layer of your background (Layer > Duplicate Layer). Change the Blending mode to Overlay. Then go to Filter > Other > High Pass.
Don’t panic. Your image will look a bit wacky after you apply this filter. Also, experiment with the Radius slider. The higher the resolution, the higher you should set your radius. After you click OK, press Cmd/Ctrl+I to invert the image. This is very important. After you press Cmd+I, your image should have the desired soft touch. If it looks too soft, reduce the opacity of the layer in the Layers panel.