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How to Create a Bokeh Effect Photoshop Action

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Recreate the bokeh look with a quick Photoshop Action for all your portrait or landscape photography. This tutorial will show you how to make that beautiful bokeh effect achieved by out-of-focus photography. Learn how to use a custom brush, layer styles, and more to achieve this look!

Browse our incredible selection of Photoshop Actions available on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements for more great effects.

Prefer to follow along via video? Check out our lesson over on the Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel:

Tutorial Assets

The following assets were used in the production of this tutorial.

1. How to Create a Bokeh Effect Photoshop Action

Step 1

Start by creating a custom brush. Hit F5 to bring up the Brush panel. Using a Hard Round Brush, adjust the Scatter to 1000%, and then Save your custom brush so that we can use it later for the action.

Custom Photoshop Bokeh Brush

Step 2

Now go to Window > Actions and set up a new bokeh Action in the Actions panel. When you're ready, click Record to begin recording the next steps.

Open your photo in Photoshop. Here I'll be using this Woman Stock.

Woman Stock via Pixabay
Quick tip! Build layers of blurred bokeh with various levels of depth or choose a photo with a background that's already blurred.

Step 3

Copy (Control-C) and Paste (Control-V) two backgrounds from this Noise Blurred Backgrounds set above your image. Select both layers and lower the Opacity to 20%, and then set the Blend Mode of the first one to Hard Light and the second one to Screen.

Add overlay blurred backgrounds

Step 4

Create a New Layer and use the custom Bokeh Brush we created earlier to apply a few bokeh. Set the Layer Blend Mode to Overlay, and then Right-click and go to Blending Options, adding a quick Inner Glow with the following settings:

  • Blend Mode: Color Dodge
  • Opacity: 53%
  • Choke Size: 2 pixels
  • Quality Range: 40%
Add an Inner Glow Layer Style

Step 5

Duplicate (Control-J) the layer, bringing the copy down slightly, before going to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and blurring it with a Radius of 5 pixels.

Set a New Layer to Color Dodge. Paint soft brown colors (or use the Eyedropper Tool to select dark colors from the photo) for more intensity. Lower the Opacity to 22%. Follow up with a New Adjustment Layer for Exposure, setting the Exposure to 1 and the Opacity to 20%.

Add a Color Dodge Layer for the Bokeh Effect

Step 6

When you're finished, remember to click the Stop button on the Actions panel to use this action for future photos.

Here is the final effect.

Bokeh Photo Effect Photoshop Action Tutorial

Experiment with this action on more images for awesome results!

Bokeh Photo Effect
Woman Stock via Pixabay


Bokeh effects can add magic and wonder to your work! I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comments below. And be sure to browse our wide range of Bokeh Photo Effect Actions available on GraphicRiver and Envato Elements.

Learn how to create more photo effects from our experts! Check out the following tutorials below:

How to Make a Bokeh Photo Effect in Photoshop

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Need a great set of bokeh effects? Check out this collection of phenomenal premium Photoshop actions below! Use them for posters, social media posts, and photo effects!

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Bokeh Photoshop Action

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Need a cool way to add bokeh to your work? Consider a Photoshop action! This next action creates amazing effects for text, shapes, path and images. Included in this download are 10 bokeh effects that are fully customizable. Get it for just under $10!

Bokeh Lights Photoshop Actions

Dual Light Photoshop Action

This dual light Photoshop action blends two trendy effects into one. Enjoy an awesome duotone effect along with a beautiful bokeh look. This action has been tried and tested on Photoshop versions CS3 and above.

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