How To Fix Blurry Photos & Pictures

If you don’t want to pay for Photoshop or don’t think you would use it enough to justify the cost, there is always Paint.net. It’s free, easy to use and my go-to application for simple image manipulation. You can even fix blurry pictures in Paint.net, which is what this tutorial is all about.

I take a lot of pictures as I live in a beautiful part of the world but a photographer I am most definitely not. I also use a smartphone camera instead of dedicated hardware so often have to compensate for my poor technique and average hardware with a little post-processing. Most of the time, if sharing images on Snapchat or Instagram, a little blur makes no odds, but if you are using them for something else, it can make a difference.

How to fix blurry pictures in Paint.net2

Sharpen blurry pictures in Paint.net

Fortunately, Paint.net has a couple tricks up its sleeve that can help mitigate some of my poor photography skills. One of which is the ability to sharpen an out of focus or blurry image.

  1. Open Paint.net and open the image you want to edit.
  2. Select Effects, Photo and then Sharpen.
  3. Use the slider to sharpen the image. Slide from left to right to sharpen.
  4. Find the level that works best and select OK.
  5. Save the image.

There will be some sliding back and forth to find the right level but you will know it when you see it. Go too far and the image becomes distorted and color may disappear. Don’t go far enough and your image will remain slightly blurry.

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Blur the background while keeping the subject sharp in Paint.net

Conversely, there are times when purposely blurring an image can work wonders. For example, blurring the background of an image makes the subject pop out and can have quite the artistic effect. In this context, the subject is the centerpiece of the image, the part you want to remain sharp while all else is blurred.

  1. Open Paint.net and open the image you want to edit.
  2. Press Ctrl + A to select all.
  3. Press Ctrl + C to copy all.
  4. Press Ctrl + Shift + V to paste all into a new layer. You should see a new layer box appear in the bottom right, Layer 1 (or Background) and Layer 2.
  5. Select the eraser from the tools menu on the left.
  6. Resize the brush width to be able to cover the subject of the image comfortably.
  7. Select the little check box next to Layer 1 or Background to deselect it.
  8. Erase the subject by using smooth erasing moves to include all of the image. You will see a gray and white box where you erase, don’t worry this is fine.
  9. Select the little check box next to Layer 1 or Background to select it. The subject should now return.
  10. Select Effects, Blur and Gaussian Blur.
  11. Use the slider to select a level of blur and see how much of the subject you covered.

A little experimentation will be necessary to capture all of the subject and offer enough blur to the image to make it stand out.

Tips for taking sharper pictures

While image editing tools are very good at what they do, they aren’t magic. We as photographers do have some kind of responsibility to take good shots. Here are a few tips I got from a professional photographer friend of mine for taking sharper pictures.

Hold the camera/phone properly

Camera shake is one of the biggest culprits of blurry pictures. Hold the camera in both hands, try to support yourself on something like a wall, tree or whatever and do what you can to remain still. In an ideal world you would use a tripod but that isn’t always possible.

Shutter speed

If you do use a camera and not a phone, using the correct shutter speed can go a long way to improving picture quality. The faster the shutter speed the lower the chances of blurry pictures.

Aperture

If you use a fast shutter speed, you also need to make your aperture larger. Experiment to find a happy medium between shutter speed and aperture for your style of photography.

Image stabilization

Many newer camera phones and standalone cameras use image stabilization which helps reduce camera shake. This will need experimentation as it comes with compromises.

Focus

Finally, focus is has quite the impact on blurriness of pictures. Auto focus is great but it isn’t perfect. Give the camera a second to get good focus if possible and then take the shot. If you have manual focus, practice, practice, practice!

Posted by Jamie on May 18, 2017

One thought on “How To Fix Blurry Photos & Pictures”

Mazino says:
Paint.net is really a cool web tool for those who can’t afford photoshop. I think I will try this in my recent photos. Except one is using a very expensive phone with a high pixel, photos might not just be sharp as wanted. With this, there is a solution. Thanks for sharing.
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