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How to blur face on Lightroom?

How to blur face on Lightroom?

As photographers or digital content creators, we sometimes need to protect the identity of our subjects or add a dash of mystery to our images. Blurring faces can be an effective way to achieve this. While Photoshop offers excellent tools for this, I always prefer to do all my editing in Lightroom. Although Lightroom doesn’t have a direct blurring tool like Photoshop, you can still blur faces using a clever combination of available tools. Let’s dive into the process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Blurring Faces in Lightroom

Step 1: Select the Photo

First, import your photo into Lightroom and select it in the library for editing. For this example, I’m using one of my photos from China, which is precisely the image of four older adults sitting in front of a restaurant in Beijing. If we wanted to blur the face and hide the identity of one of these individuals, this is how we would do it. You can view the image [here].

Step 2: Open the Develop Module

ic:Select a photo you want to blur the face

With your photo selected, hit up the Develop Module. Click ‘Develop’ at the top or press ‘D’ on your keyboard.

Step 3: Create a Mask and Select Brush

ic:Create a Lightroom mask with an adjustment brush

In the Lightroom Classic, you’ll need to create a mask first. Click on the Masking tool icon (circle icon) in the toolbar on the right. Then select ‘Brush’ from the options.

Step 4: Configure the Mask Settings

ic: Lightroom Clarity and Sharpness are set to -100

Before you start painting over the face, adjust the mask settings. Set Clarity and Sharpness to -100. This will blur the area you paint over. However, you might find that the blur isn't enough, even at -100 Clarity and -100 Sharpness.

Step 5: Paint Over the Face

Now, paint over the face you want to blur. A red overlay will indicate where the adjustments are being applied. If you make a mistake, hold down the ‘Alt’ key (the Option key on Mac) and paint over the area to erase. 

Step 6: Duplicate the Mask for More Blur

ic: Duplicate your first mask to double the effect

If the initial blur isn’t sufficient, you can duplicate the mask to increase the effect. Right-click on the mask (named ‘Blur Face’) in the Masks panel and select ‘Duplicate.’ You can do this multiple times. In my case, I duplicated the mask twice, creating ‘Blur Face Duplicate’ and ‘Blur Face Duplicate 2’ to achieve the desired level of blur.

Step 7: Apply the Changes

Once you’re happy with the blur, click the “Done” button below the image. Your changes will be applied and saved.

ic: Completed Blur on the one individuals face

Blurring faces in Lightroom is not just a technical process, it's a creative one. By creating a mask and adjusting Clarity and Sharpness, you can add a touch of mystery or protect the identity of your subjects. Remember, a single pass might not be enough, so duplicating the mask can enhance the blur. With practice, you’ll gain better control and create the perfect blur effect. Don't be afraid to experiment with different settings to find what works best for your images. Photography is an art—embrace the creativity and enjoy the process!

While this tutorial focuses on blurring faces, there's more to explore in Lightroom. You might also be interested in learning how to blur backgrounds or create bokeh using the AI tools. Check out my tutorial on adding bokeh in Lightroom for more details. Remember, I'm here to guide you through your photo editing journey.

My beginners Lightroom editing tutorial, which you can find, provides a general guide to using Lightroom to edit photos. It covers a wide range of editing techniques, including blurring faces, adjusting exposure, and enhancing colors.


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