Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial

Gaussian Blur, also called Gaussian smoothing, is a great filter to use on photographs where you want to smooth out imperfections in the skin, create a dreamlike appearance, or just soften the image in general. This is one of my favorite filters. I use it all the time so I thought I’d do a Gaussian Blur Photoshop tutorial so you can enjoy it too.

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Sleeping Baby

Step-By-Step Gaussian Blur Tutorial

If you like glowy, dreamy photographs, this filter effect is for you. Here’s how to do it:

1. Begin by opening a photograph you want to soften and smooth. Notice the one I have of the baby above.

2. At the top of your screen, go to “Layer” then “Duplicate Layer” underneath that. You won’t see any noticeable change at this point.

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Adding a Layer

3. Now go to “Filter,” then, “Blur,” then “Gaussian Blur.”

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Blur Filter

4. You’ll see a little box come up with “Gaussian Blur” at the top. I set my radius to around 17-20 pixels.

You can play around with this when you get familiar with the effect. It’s the opacity in the next step that makes the biggest difference. Press “OK.”

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Adding The Filter

5. Next go to your “Layers” box. See below.

Play with the opacity until the photograph has the effect you want. I left my opacity at 61% for this photograph. If it’s an adult with their eyes open, I typically leave it around 20%.

6. Now flatten your image. You can continue editing over the filter if you want. You can also save it as a psd file for future editing.

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Changing Opacity

Note the difference in the before and after versions of the images below:

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Image Without Filter

This is with the filter applied:

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - Image With Filter

The Gaussian Blur mimics that lovely bokeh look you get when using a wide aperature. Give it a try. Watch the video tutorial I made below for a better understanding of the steps.

How do you soften your photographs? Have you used the Gaussian Blur before? Let me know in the comments:)

Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial - KUVRD Camera Banner

2 thoughts on “Gaussian Blur Photoshop Tutorial”

  1. Wow, I have never heard of this filter before, but I like what you can do with it. Your article is very clear and informative and I am sure many will benefit from reading and watching.

    Have you used Photoshop for years? Is it good for newbies?

    Anyway, a good read, well written, and will be helpful to many.

    • Hi Luke,

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my tutorial. The Gaussian Blur is awesome. I’ve used it for years for a variety of applications. It’s amazing for portraiture and for newborn photography. 

      A friend of mine taught be how to do it. I remember being so excited, and have now used it for years. I’ve been using Photoshop for quite some time, but the Gaussian Blur is not too advanced so newbies to the software should be able to execute it with no problem. 

      Thank you so much for your input!


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