Here’s a tip for more realistic background blurs in photos. Often, people copy the subject to a new layer and then blur the Background layer. The problem with this approach is the subject is still on the Background layer so it gets blurred as well, which produces a halo around the extracted subject. The solution is to remove the subject from the Background layer before blurring it. 

After you’ve selected the subject and copied it to a new layer, reload the selection by Command-clicking (PC: Ctrl-clicking) its layer thumbnail in the Layers panel. Now click on the Background layer in the Layers panel to make it active, choose Select>Modify>Expand, enter a few pixels in the Expand Selection dialog, and click OK. Once you have this selection, press Shift-Delete (PC: Shift-Backspace) to open the Fill dialog, set the Contents drop-down menu to Content-Aware Fill, and click OK. This removes the original subject from the Background layer. 

Press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to de-­select. Now when you blur the background there are no weird-looking edges and your subject won’t have a glowing halo. 

Without Content-Aware Fill

With Content-Aware Fill

This tip originally published in Colin Smith’s “Photoshop Tips” column in the March, 2023 issue oPhotoshop User magazine.