Lightroom Presets – Focal Point with Blurry Backgrounds

A few weeks ago I released some Focal Point Lightroom presets that basically help you draw focus to one part of a photo by darkening other areas. Well, I was messing around with the presets the other day and realized that you could also do the same thing by blurring the background too (with negative clarity). When you add the darkening effect along with the blurred background you have a really cool way to draw attention to parts of your photos, while giving the background an softer effect.

If you haven’t seen the other presets, it’s worth checking them out and reading the post because you’ll get an idea of where they came from and how I created them. Just like last time, I’ve created 8 different presets that each use the Graduated Filter to take focus away from certain parts of the background. 4 of them are for Portraits (or portrait oriented images) and 4 of them are for landscape oriented photos (top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right). Enjoy ‘em and let me know what you think!

Here’s the before/after:

Have a good one!

  • susan

    Thanks for more great presets Matt. I have a question for you though. Is it possible to mask out a part of a preset? For example, if I wanted to use a BW preset, but wanted to “erase” part of the preset and leave that part of the image colored, is this possible? Selectively remove part of a preset might be a good way of describing it.

    • Matt Kloskowski

      Nope. You could always paint on settings with the adjustment brush to certain parts of the photo but you can’t do it with presets.

  • Johnathan Lyman

    Awesome! I’ve been using negative sharpness… I’ve been doing it all wrong! ;)

  • Mike

    Hey Matt, great preset and I installed in and loved the effect on a couple of shots…but here’s my really big question on this post. What is that AWESOME before / after plug-in or script you are using on this particular post. It ROCKS ! I would love to install this on my website blog as well….is it built in-house by the guys, or is it a plug-in I can get and install??? I’ve got a WordPress site setup (in Ubuntu) so I’m hoping its something I can get my hands on.

    As always, really enjoy following your stuff regardless of what the content is. And better yet, in the couple of years I’ve followed you and posted 2 or 3 questions – you ALWAYS got back to me….what more could anyone want :-)


    • Matt Kloskowski

      Hi Mike,
      It’s a shortcode that gets installed automatically with my theme from I don’t know of any other way to get it.

      Thanks :)

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