How to Change Background Color in Photoshop

Step By Step: How to Change Background in Photoshop

Photoshop altered the way that people edit their photos. With a plethora of tools at your disposal, design selections are practically unlimited. One common edit is to remove the background in Photoshop. The process has several steps. And while it might look complicated at first, learning how to change the background in Photoshop is easier than it seems.

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How to Change Backgrounds in Photoshop

Our step-by-step guide helps you with removing and change the background with Photoshop in any background. You can shoot the photos at home, then make a selection of adding a new background or image of your choice.

Step #1: Highlight the Quick Selection Tool

This Quick Selection Photoshop CC tool looks like a paintbrush with a dotted oval behind it. The Quick Selection Tool is the first tool you use to remove background photoshop images.

Step #2: Choose the Select Subject Option

If you have the 2019 version of Photoshop CC, you use the quick selection tool called the “Select Subject” button instead of the “Select and Mask” button. This gives you the option to outline the subject of the image quickly. Once you have chosen this tool, begin outlining the subject.

Step #3: Refine Your Outline

After you have fully outlined the subject, take a few moments to ensure you have everything of the selection you want. If you need to make changes, use the quick select brush. Use the brush to clean up the outline. Click on the parts of the outline you want to adjust, then use the alt/option key to deselect areas of the outline.

When refining the selection for your new background, look for areas that have too much of the original backdrop in them. Those background selections will stand out against the new one you choose.

Step #4: Choose Select and Mask

When you click on the quick selection tool called Select and Mask, set the opacity to 100% so you cannot see through the subject. Then set the backdrop color to white so you can see everything that you might have missed in step 3.

Step #5: Click on Show Edges

When you do this step, you will see the image disappear, and the edges of the outline will show. You will have the option to adjust the radius so you can see the line of the subject.

After you see the edges, turn off the Show Edges tool. At this stage, you will notice if you need to refine edge areas of your image.

Step #6: Clean Up with Refine Brush

The most challenging part of changing the background is adjusting the outline around the hair. Select the Refine Brush, then use the refine edge brush tool to circle the areas that need to be refined.

When you complete the circle, the Refine Brush tool will soften the refine edge areas and remove most of the original background.

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Step #7: Use Layer Mask and Create a New Layer

This selection tool will change the backdrop to the checkerboard pattern that designates a PNG image. It will remove whatever background you previously had so you can place your subject on your desired background. Select the output to “New Layer with Layer Mask.”

Step #8: Open the Background

At this point, you are ready to open the new backdrop image. Be sure you can see the new background image tab at the top of Photoshop.

Step #9: Open the Foreground Subject

At this point, you return to the cutout image of your subject. Then you drag the subject to the tab of the new background image. Do not wait for the image to open when you have your cursor on the tab.

Your subject will be there. Once you let go of the subject on the new background tab, you can open the new image and see your new background.

Step #10: Transform with Ctrl/cmd+t

After you press these buttons, you can make adjustments to your selection with the new image in place. You can also open other images and add your subject to them to decide which one you like the most.

Questions About How Remove Background in Photoshop

Because the Photoshop CC options change from year to year, users often have questions about their specific needs.

How Can I Fix Background in Photoshop?

There are several ways to fix the background in Photoshop, but many have several steps.

One way is to remove the subject in the foreground so you have full access to the background. Then you use the brush tool to make subtle changes to the areas that need repairs.

When you use the brush tool, you will see areas that have hard edges and high contrast. These are usually the easiest areas to repair. The areas with soft edges and low contrast are more challenging.

You can fix areas with the brush tool without doing anything to the subject in the foreground.

How Do I Remove a White Background in Photoshop?

Background removal in Photoshop is more straightforward if there is high contrast between the subject in the foreground and the background. Before you do anything with the white background, you have to duplicate the layer, unlock it, and rename it.

The next step involves selecting a tool called “Magic Eraser.” Set the preferences to a tolerance of 30, checked anti-alias, and 100% opacity. Then, click on the white background, and the Magic Eraser will pick all of it and make it disappear.

If you see any other background colors, you can do the same thing with the Magic Eraser. Or you can use the Background Eraser Tool to remove any remaining background. Photoshop makes these steps simply because they have been popular with users for years.

How to Change the Background Color in Photoshop (Step by Step)

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Knowing how to change the background color in Photoshop is a great skill to know. And if you don’t know how to do that, we’re here to show you the step-by-step process.

It takes some patience, but it’s so easy to do. So let’s get started!

How to Change the Background Color in Photoshop

Here’s our step-by-step tutorial, so let’s begin!

Step 1. Choose Your Photo

The quality of your finished image depends on the amount of time you spend on the process.

If it’s your first time to change background color in Photoshop, choose an image with sharp edges and a clean background. This will be easier to work with than a more complex composition.

Here are some things to avoid when you are new to isolating a subject to change the background color:

Hair that’s loose, frizzy, spiked, or unsmooth

Subjects with detailed edges

Anything with edges not in focus

Motion blur

A background that blends with the subject

Step 2. Create Two Layers

Open your photo in Photoshop and make a duplicate layer (Ctrl or Cmd +J). Then turn off the original layer.

Make a solid layer by clicking the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon in the Layers panel.

Choose Solid Color from the top.

Pick a color close to the background you will use, or choose white.

Step 3. Select the Subject

Click on the Quick Selection tool in the Tools panel. Then click on the Select Subject option. It’s in the top bar above the image.

If the edges of your selection aren’t sharp, Photoshop will let you know that it cannot find a prominent subject. If you see this, try other tools such as the Magic Wand or Object Selection tool.

Step 4. Clean up the Edges

Unless your subject is super sharp, the resulting selection will not be perfect. So the next step is to polish it.

Keep the Quick Selection tool selected. And click on the Select and Mask option box above your photo. Doing this opens a new window where you can begin to refine your selection.

Use the Refine Edge brush to include edges that blend too much with the background.

To help you see the effect of this brush, select either Overlay or On White. These options are in the View panel on the right side of your screen.

You can adjust the opacity to a point where you can see the effect of the brush as you use it.

Here is an example showing the Overlay option from the view panel at 50% opacity.

Work your way around the edge in a clockwise direction to make sure you cover the whole outline.

You can control the size of this brush by using the [ and ] keys. You can also control the effect better by using the Radius, Smooth, Feather, and Contrast sliders. These are on the panel at the right of your photo.

Experiment with these controls. You’ll find the best balance for the different areas of the image. They will have a varied effect depending on the detail of your photo.

Once you are happy with your selection, switch the View to Black and White. Without the distraction of color, you can better see how your edges look.

If there are no further changes to make in the Output To Box, select Layer Mask and click OK.

Step 5. Paint on the Layer Mask

Now you have a new mask on your layer. If you want to refine the fuzzy edges further, use the brush tool.

Set it to 50% black, and paint on your subject to erase and parts you do not wish to see. Set it to 50% white and paint over the background (which is still visible) to erase it.

Using the brush at 50% or lower opacity gives you more precise control. Doing so helps blurred or fuzzy areas of the edges look more natural.

Step 6. Select and Isolate Your Subject

Press Ctrl or Cmd and click on the layer mask to select the subject. Now duplicate the selection to a new layer using Ctrl or Cmd + J.

Hide other layers, so you only see your isolated subject and not the background.

In this step, you can also resize your canvas if you wish. This step is helpful if you want to add some text with your photo. Or, if you’re going to make a composite with other images on the same background.

I chose to crop the image square because it looks best on Instagram. But you can try other sizes, too.

Step 7. Make a Solid Fill for Your New Background

In the Layers Panel, click on the Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer.

Select Solid Color from the top and choose the color you want your new background to be.

Now how do I change the background color to white in Photoshop? Simply pick the color picker, choose white, and you’re good to go!

Of course, you don’t need to limit yourself to solid colors. You can try a realistic background as well.


Learning how to change the background color in Photoshop is a simple process once you get used to it. Once you isolate the subject, selecting the background color is as easy as clicking on the color picker.

Practice this method as much as you can—you’ll find it useful, especially on social media.

And don’t forget to show us your results in the comments section!

Want to learn more about post-processing techniques? Check out our course Effortless Editing with Lightroom course to master editing photos!

How to Change Background Color in Photoshop

What to Know New image: In Photoshop File menu, choose New . Select a color from the drop-down menu under Background Contents . Select Create .

menu, choose . Select a color from the drop-down menu under . Select . Existing image selection: Select the Magic Wand tool. Hold Shift and click the background areas you want to replace.

tool. Hold and click the background areas you want to replace. Existing image replacement: With the background selected, use the Fill tool to apply a new color from the color palette.

This article explains how to change the background color in Photoshop 2020 on new or existing image files. It includes information on several tools suitable for making a selection and multiple methods for applying color to the selected background.

Change the Background Color for a New Image

Changing the color of a picture's background can have a dramatic effect on how it looks, and one of the best tools to do that is Adobe Photoshop—although there are some great alternatives. Whether you have the full version or a free trial, there are a few different methods you can use to do it.

Changing the background in Photoshop before you create a new image is the quickest way to set it to your preference.

When you make a new document in Photoshop, there will be an option to choose your background color. Use its drop-down menu or color-select box to choose the color you would prefer the background to be. When you create a new image, it will have your choice as its background color.

In Photoshop CC 2018 and newer that option will be in the bottom right-hand corner of the new document window. In older versions of Photoshop, it will be located at the bottom of the window.

To change the color of the background after creating the image, you can create a brand new background in a color of your choice:

Select the Layer tab at the top of the window. Select New Fill Layer, then select Solid Color – unless you particularly want a gradient or pattern background. Give the new layer a name, then select OK when prompted. Select a color from the palette and select OK again.

Change the Background Color in Existing Images

Before you can change the color of the background in Photoshop you need to select it. Here are a few ways to do it, whether you're working on Windows or macOS:

Use the Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand tool is quick and dirty and works best when there are stark differences between the foreground and background, but it can work rather well if you're short on time or patience. To do so, select the Magic Wand tool from the left-hand menu (it's the fourth one down and looks like a wand). Then, hold Shift and select the different parts of the background you want to change the color of.

Use the Lasso Tool

If the magic wand is a bit too heavy-handed or not nuanced enough to select all of your background, the lasso tool can be helpful. There are three you can leverage for the same purpose. Select and hold the third-option in the left-hand menu to be given a choice. The standard lasso requires drawing around the background by hand; Polygonal Lasso will let you draw defined, straight lines; Magnetic Lasso will stick to existing lines and edges.

When you’ve finished drawing around your background, either connect back to the starting point to finalize it, or press Ctrl+Click. If you’re using a tablet running Windows 10, pressing and holding on the screen will give you the option to right-click, which opens a contextual menu with additional functions. Select the one you need, then tap for the same function.

Use the Masking Tool

If you want a super precise way of selecting the background of an image, you can use the masking tool. It's the tool second-from-bottom in the left-hand menu. Select it, then use a paintbrush or similar tool to "paint" your selection. This can be combined with the above methods to fine-tune an existing selection. You should see the areas you've selected appear in red. When you've happy with your selection, select the masking tool again to see your selection in dashed lines.

If the background is much larger than the foreground when making a selection with any of the above methods, select the foreground instead, then press Ctrl+Shift+I to invert your selection and highlight the background.

Now that you've selected the background, it's time to change its color. You can do so in a couple of different ways, depending on what color you want the background to be:

Change Hue

Press Ctrl+U to bring up the Hue and Saturation menu. Use the Hue slider to tweak the hue of your background. It will maintain the same lighting levels as before, but the overall color palette will change.

If you would rather have a more uniform color to the background, you can first remove it, then add it back in before adjusting the hue. To do so, press Ctrl+Shift+U to turn the image to grayscale, then open the Hue and Saturation menu as before. Select Colorize to add color back into the background, then use the Hue slider to adjust its color.

Paint Over It

If you would rather have a blank color as your background, you can simply paint over the one you have already.

On Windows and macOS, press F7 to open the layers window. Select New Layer to create a new layer. It's the second icon from the right. Select Fill Tool from the left-hand menu. It looks like a paint bucket and is called the Paint Bucket Tool in some versions of Photoshop. Use the color palette at the base of the left-hand menu to select your background color, then simply select within your selection to create a blank color.

If you would prefer a gradient effect in your background, select and hold Fill Tool to give you the option of the gradient bucket, then select and drag within your selection to create a gradient color for your new background.

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