Lightroom Presets

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!



  1. renee 4 November, 2014 at 18:09 Reply

    Is there a way to manipulate the focal point of this preset? For example some of my subjects are center and that is offered with this preset….so I’d love to move the focal point…..

  2. Katie 30 September, 2012 at 21:33 Reply

    Your tips are usually great but I don’t agree with this one. Reducing background clarity is fine (along with bringing down sharpening in the same adjustment), but the darkening looks unnatural especially on the left of the frame – like a bad burn-in job. It’s having the opposite of the intended effect on me: it’s drawing my eye directly to the dark areas on the left (unusual, I know; the eye is normally drawn to the brightest areas), and the darkening isn’t feathered enough. Also, the boy’s legs are too dark now; the skin tone on his legs doesn’t go with the rest of him. I’d instead use a mild post-crop negative highlight vignette instead; if it’s going to be obvious that darkening effects were used (whether by reducing exposure, burning-in, or whatever), it’s better to make it uniform and subtle in an image like this, adjusting the midpoint as appropriate. IMHO. 😉

  3. Xavier 30 September, 2012 at 10:25 Reply

    Hi. I’m just starting on photography. I have just always play with this kind of software, so haven’t used in a “pro mode”. I’m seeing now that to improve the workflow there are some presets that you have saved, so you can use them later, without have to reset all those option. I’m understanding this well? Anyway, on any photo you need to readjust a little your preset?
    Until now i’m doing adjustments everytime for each photo. Thanks. I will be passing to learn.

  4. Steve Densley 26 September, 2012 at 16:54 Reply

    Thanks so much for your great work! I have all of your Lightroom 3 presets. Some work with LR4 and some don’t. Do you think you could post a list of the ones that work the same way in LR4 as they did in LR3?

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