I took pictures with a digital camera and I didn't notice that the blur setting is on so the pictures that were taken were all blurred. The camera has no edit feature. Is it still possible to fix it using Photoshop?

I followed this tutorial on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpWDihBHRqM which uses Photoshop, but with no luck. As much as possible I want to see the output that is close to a picture that is taken without the blur setting on.

  • 7
    What is a "blur setting"? I've never seen that on a camera. Could you supply an example? – slhck Dec 11 '12 at 9:39
  • I've never played with such a setting, but I believe it's a "soft focus" setting, intended for shots such as your classical prom or wedding photo. – Daniel R Hicks Dec 11 '12 at 20:32

Assuming you're looking for a perfectly clean photo: it's not possible. Information that wasn't captured, isn't there, and cannot be magically reconstructed by any means. It is simply missing.

Sharpening tools in graphical suites like Photoshop will modify the image, but will never be a solution when working on the original layer. This depends of course, on what you're aiming to achieve...

  • What you are saying makes sense, but the user asked if there is a way to have a final result that is as close as possible as a blur-free picture, and this is possible, even if the result is not guaranteed. – user1301428 Dec 11 '12 at 16:41
  • 2
    Define as close as possible to blur-free. You're kind of contradicting yourself. In my understanding he wants exactly that: a blur-free picture. "Almost blur-free" does not equal blur-free, as you would get without the "blur setting". Hence my answer: not possible. – pleinolijf Dec 11 '12 at 19:01
  • Reread his question then, especially this part: As much as possible I want to see the output that is close to a picture that is taken without the blur setting on. He's explicitly saying "as much as possible", and that is possible indeed :) – user1301428 Dec 11 '12 at 19:05
  • Even if it's impossible, that would be "as much as possible". – Daniel R Hicks Dec 11 '12 at 20:30
  • Fair enough. Either way, it's always going to be subjective, especially without more specific info and/or examples from the OP. – pleinolijf Dec 12 '12 at 7:15

It is possible, even if there is not a "one-click" way to do it, meaning that you have to experiment a bit yourself to get a good result:

  1. Go to Image -> Mode and select Lab Color
  2. Select the Lightness layer
  3. Go to Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharp Mask...
  4. Play with the values a bit, until you reach a satisfactory result
  5. Select the Lab layer and go back to RGB Color

Right, as you've got answers which say either yes or no, my answer is maybe!

It's very relative; you can only work with what you have (as per pleinolijf) is correct, but it doesn't mean you can't fix it. Fixing a blur is subjective - what is the end result, does it have to be perfect or just recognizable (for example, give me a blurred picture of a brand name on a can of drink I can probably work out the brand name).

So, if the blur is strong/drastic then I think you can't fix it;

If the blur is fairly subtle then it may be possible to at least improve it. However, the fact you are asking this question suggests you don't possess any digital graphic skills in this area and as such may be un-realistic.

So, if you can, re-take the picture. If not, then you could quickly try some free online tools to get an idea of what can be done quickly (in a search engine, type "auto fix blurring online tool"). Or, you may want to search for graphic designers and get some prices.

  • True, I assumed he was going for a perfect shot (like without the "blur setting", whatever that may be). I'll edit this in my answer. – pleinolijf Dec 11 '12 at 11:12
  • @pleinolijf - I don't think you need to; your answer is very good (the +1 was from me) and very relative (but up to you :) ). – Dave Dec 11 '12 at 11:17
  • the fact you are asking this question suggests you don't possess any digital graphic skills in this area and as such may be un-realistic this may not be true, with modern image-processing programs you can achieve good results without being a professional artist. In fact, there is a very simple way to try to solve this problem, as explained in my answer. – user1301428 Dec 11 '12 at 16:43

Theoretically, if you run the image through the "inverse" of the "filter" that caused the blurring, the blur will be corrected to a degree. However, since information has been lost, noise replaces the blurring -- eg, lettering may be more legible, but the picture will be "grainy" and not as "attractive".

When you see the cop shows apply a filter to a street camera image to read a license plate, this is theoretically what they're doing. Of course, it works much better on TV than it does in real life (but it does work surprisingly well in real life).


I can think of a few ways to minimize blur in Photoshop, but as more than one person has said, if the zeroes and ones aren't there, there's really no way to rebuild true sharpness in an image. Blur can be minimized by using features in PS or PSE that "sharpen the edges," that, is, in areas with the greatest change in contrast in the smallest space. In newer versions of PS and PSE, there is generally a filter for sharpening edges: it may require some digging, depending on version and package. In newer versions of the Creative Suite, there is a feature called context-sensitive sharpening, and a sharpening brush.

In any version, there are the standbys: unsharp masking and—more powerful and useful—a high-pass filter. Search the help file for the high-pass filter, and remember that it can be applied several times at a reduced opacity in different levels.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.