Now that Zoom has become a household name, countless customized virtual backgrounds are available to everyone. With so many options, you might expect a blur feature like the ones offered in Google Meet.

Unfortunately, Zoom hasn’t added this feature yet. But if you want to blur your own background, all you need is a webcam (or phone) and a free editor called Kapwing. In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to take a picture, add the blur and get it on Zoom in just a few steps. Let’s get started:

  1. Take a picture of your background
  2. Add a blur effect in Kapwing
  3. Upload the new background to Zoom

Get Started Now: Upload your background photo to the Kapwing Studio to make your blurry Zoom background.

1. Take a Picture of Your Background

Since Zoom doesn’t have a blur effect built in, take a picture of your background to apply the blur effect inside another app. For this step, use your webcam or a smartphone camera -- just make sure the phone is positioned where your webcam would be. To take a picture with your webcam, use the Camera app on Windows or the Photo Booth app on Mac.

The icons for Photo Booth and Windows Camera, common camera apps on computers.

Now, you’re ready to snap the picture. First, make sure there’s good lighting and move your chair out of the frame. Next, set a timer on the camera and get out of the way. After the photo is taken, you can move onto the next step where we’ll add the blur effect.

A screen recording showing how to take a photo of your blank background.

2. Add a Blur Effect in Kapwing

First, go to Kapwing.com in your browser and click Start Editing to open the Kapwing studio. Here, press Click to upload to add your background picture. Once it’s uploaded, select the picture and open the ‘Adjust’ tool from the right menu. Inside, you’ll see the option to adjust the blur at the bottom. Slide the scale to the right to increase the effect. I recommend a blur of 5 for Zoom backgrounds.

A screenshot showing how to add a blur effect to an image in Kapwing.

Finally, click Export Image in the top right to process the picture. Once that’s done, download the background and you’re ready to upload it as your Zoom background. If you're not signed into a Kapwing account, sign in or sign up using your Google or Facebook account – once you've signed into a Kapwing account, the watermark in the lower right corner will be removed from your final image.

3. Upload the New Background to Zoom

Now, open the Zoom app and click the ‘Settings’ icon in the top right. Inside the menu, open the ‘Virtual Background’ tab. Here you can click the plus sign icon to add your picture and you’ll instantly see the blurred background in the preview.

Screenshots showing how to update a virtual background in Zoom.

If you have a green screen, check the option ‘I have a green screen’ to get the highest quality background.

Screenshots demonstrating how a blurred background looks in Zoom.

Now you know exactly how to blur the background to give your Zoom call a professional but natural look. If you're interested in more tips and tutorials on creating great digital content in 2021, check out the Kapwing YouTube channel, where we post multiple new videos every week.

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