I’m looking for online resources, image libraries, Photoshop actions, tools, or any other means of getting or designing bokeh images (those highly blurred pictures, with colorful circles) for use as backgrounds in web design.
Here are some relevant use cases for the aesthetics I want to recreate. One example from that site:
I tried searching these bokeh-like pictures on Google, Flickr, Dribble, Stock Image, but most of them have very low resolutions. I’m looking for pictures that share the same attributes as those relevant cases I linked above: not too bright (just so I can use any kind of text on top of that layer and still manage to make it readable) and with people on it, although highly blurred.
Make them yourself!
I don’t know what your strengths are or what kind of software you use, so this answer might not be what you’re looking for. I dabble in photography and I do graphic design for a living, and I don’t typically purchase stock photography. So when I look at that gallery of blurred backgrounds, I start to look at how I can make it myself.
So, if you have access to a DSLR, this site shows how you can create custom bokeh shapes. Bokeh light tends to be round or polygonal because of the shape of the aperture mechanism (thanks, Wikipedia), but you can change it by fashioning a lens cover in the shape of something like a heart. This site links to Flickr images of some custom bokeh, as well as a gallery of people who experimented with this. There’s even a kit for sale!
Taking good photos is much better than taking mediocre photos and making them work in Photoshop. But some of us are mediocre photographers or can’t find exactly the right photo we want to work with, so why not find an image you like and try to get the effect you want? There are lots of blurs to work with (Lens blur is probably what you want), and if you study good bokeh, you can work to duplicate the effects. Stock photography tends to be a one-size-fits-all solution anyways, so it’s good to customize.