Master the art of removing backgrounds in Photoshop with this comprehensive step-by-step guide. Learn various techniques and tools to delete background in Photoshop, achieving seamless and professional results in your photo editing projects.

How to Remove Background in Photoshop: 5 Best Techniques

As a photographer or graphic designer, it's essential to know how to remove a background from an image in Photoshop. By mastering the art of background removal in Photoshop, you can create seamless and professional-looking images that enhance the visual appeal of your craft. In this guide, we'll look at Photoshop's five best techniques for removing backgrounds.

Preparing The Image

Preparing the image involves opening the image in Photoshop, duplicating the background layer, and identifying the proper technique based on the image's complexity.

Open the Image In Photoshop.

To open an image in Photoshop, go to File > Open and select the image you want to edit. Once the image is open, it's essential to duplicate the background layer to preserve the original image.

Duplicate The Background Layer

To duplicate the background layer, go to Layer > Duplicate Layer. This creates a new layer you can work on while leaving the original layer intact.

Identify The Right Technique Based On The Image

If the background is solid, you can use the Magic Wand or Quick Selection tool. If the background has more complex elements, such as hair or fine edges, you may need to use the Pen tool or Channels.

Technique 1: Magic Wand Tool

The Magic Wand tool is ideal for images with a solid background color. It works by selecting pixels with a color similar to the one you click on.

Description And Usage Of Magic Wand Tool

To use the Magic Wand tool, select it from the toolbar and click on the background you want to remove. The tool will select all pixels with a similar color, and you can refine the selection by adjusting the tolerance level.

Selecting The Background With The Magic Wand Tool

To select the background with the Magic Wand tool, click on the background, and adjust the tolerance level until the entire background is selected.

Refining And Removing The Background

To refine and remove the background, right-click on the selection and choose "Refine Edge" from the menu. Use the sliders to adjust the selection in the Refine Edge dialog box. 

After that, create a new layer and set it to black. Then, click and drag the new layer below the subject layer. This will create a transparent background and remove the original background from the image.

Technique 2: Quick Selection Tool

If you want it quick and easy, this Photoshop background remover is the answer. It lets you quickly select an area based on similar colors and textures. It is an excellent tool for selecting the background of an image.

  1. Choose Your Photo. Open the selected image in the Layers panel. If the Layers panel is not visible, you can open it by going to Window > Layers.

  2. Remove the Background Automatically. With your image layer selected, go to the Properties panel. If it's not already open, you can access it by clicking Window > Properties. There, under Quick Action, find the Remove Background button and click it.

  3. Refine the Edges (optional). To perfect the background removal, select the Brush Tool from the toolbar. Use a black brush to erase any unwanted areas and a white brush to reveal any areas that were mistakenly hidden.

  4. Save the Result. If you want to keep the background transparent, save it as a PNG or TIFF file. If you're adding a different background or don't need transparency, you can choose the format that best suits your needs (like JPEG).

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Description And Usage Of Quick Select Tool

To use this tool, open your image in Photoshop and select the Quick Selection tool from the toolbar. Then, click and drag the tool over the area you want to select. The tool will automatically detect the object's edges, and you can adjust your brush size using the slider in the options bar.

Selecting The Background With The Quick Selection Tool

To choose the background using the Quick Selection tool, start by choosing the tool from the toolbar. Then, click and hold on to the background and drag the tool around the subject's edges. If the tool selects part of the subject, switch to the Subtract from selection mode by holding down the Option (Mac) or Alt (Windows) key and dragging over the selected area. If you're a Mac user, you can try out an alternative to Photoshop for Mac. 

Refining And Removing The Background

After selecting the background, you can refine the selection by using the Refine Edge tool. This tool allows you to adjust the selection's edges and remove any leftover background. Once you're happy with the selection, create a new layer and set it to black to see the isolated object.

Technique 3: Background Eraser Tool

The Background Eraser tool is a robust tool that lets you remove the background of an image by erasing the pixels in the selected area.

Description And Usage Of Background Eraser Tool

To use the Background Eraser tool, select it from the toolbar and adjust the brush size and hardness in the options bar. Then, click and drag over the background, and the tool will erase the pixels based on the contrast between the subject and background.

Removing The Background With The Background Eraser Tool

To delete background in Photoshop using this tool, start by selecting it from the toolbar. Then, click and drag over the background, and the tool will erase the pixels based on the contrast between the subject and background. You can also use the Magic Wand tool to select the background first and then the Background Eraser tool to refine the selection.

Tips For Achieving Precise Results

To achieve precise results with the Background Eraser tool, zoom in on the image and use a smaller brush size. You can also adjust the tolerance in the options bar to increase or decrease the tool's sensitivity. It's also a good idea to use a stylus or pen tablet for better control.

Technique 4: Pen Tool

This tool allows you to easily remove background by creating a precise and clean path around your subject. It is said to be one of the most powerful tools for those who want to cut out backgrounds in Photoshop. 

Description And Usage Of Pen Tool 

To use the pen tool, select it from the toolbar and click around the subject to create a path. You can adjust the path's shape by clicking and dragging the anchor points. Once you've created a closed path around the subject, right-click and choose 'Make Selection' to convert the path to a selection.

Creating A Path Around The Subject

Creating a path around the subject can take some time, but the pen tool allows you to create an exact and clean path, which will make removing the background much easier regardless of the image's complexity. 

Once you've created a path around your subject, you can use the Path Selection Tool to adjust the path if needed. You can also use the Direct Selection Tool to adjust individual anchor points if you need to make more precise adjustments.

Converting The Path To A Selection And Removing The Background

Once you're happy with your image, you can convert it to a selection by right-clicking on the path and selecting "Make Selection." In the dialog box, set the Feather Radius to 0 and click OK.

Now that you have your selection, you can erase the background in Photoshop by creating a new layer and filling the selection with black. This will create a layer with just your subject, which you can use as desired. This technique can also work when removing an object from a photo

Technique 5: Using Channels 

This technique is often used by professionals because it allows you to get rid of the background in Photoshop accurately. It is beneficial when your subject has a lot of intricate details, such as hair or fur, or when the background has a similar color or texture to your subject. The results are often precise. 

Understanding Channels In Photoshop 

Channels are grayscale images that represent the different colors in an image. In Photoshop, an RGB image has three channels: red, green, and blue. By selecting the channel with the most contrast between your subject and the background, you can create a selection that separates your subject from the background. 

Creating A Selection Using Channels

First, you need to duplicate the background layer. Then, click on the Channels tab in the Layers panel and select the channel with the most contrast between the subject and the background. This is usually the blue channel, but it may vary depending on your image.  You can duplicate this channel by dragging it to the "New Channel" button at the bottom of the panel.

Next, apply the Levels adjustment (Ctrl/Cmd + L) to the duplicated channel to increase the contrast. Move the black and white sliders toward the center until you get a clear distinction between the subject and the background.

Finally, hold down the Ctrl/Cmd key and click on the duplicated channel thumbnail to create a selection based on the channel. 

Removing The Background With The Channel Selection 

After you've created the selection using channels, you can refine it using the brush tool or other selection tools in Photoshop. If there are any areas where the background hasn't been completely removed, you can use the brush tool with a black foreground color to erase them, and that's how you erase the background in Photoshop. 

Once satisfied, you can save the image as a PNG file with a transparent background. This file format will preserve transparency, making it easier to use the image in other projects.

Refining Edges and Final Touches

Now that you have removed the background from your image using one of the many tools available in Photoshop, it's time to refine the edges and add any final touches. This step is crucial to ensure that the subject of your image looks seamless when placed on a new background

Using Select And Mask To Refine Edges

The Select and Mask feature in Photoshop is an effective tool that allows you to make selections and refine the edges of your selection. To use this feature, ensure your subject and background are separated into different layers. Then, select your subject layer and click on the "Select and Mask" button in the toolbar or by right-clicking and selecting "Select and Mask" from the dropdown menu.

Once you're in the Select and Mask workspace, use the different tools available, such as the Quick Selection Tool, Pen Tool, object selection tool, and Lasso, to refine the edges of your selection. Zoom in and out of your image to get a closer look and adjust the size of your brush to fit the area you're working on. If you're working with an image that has edges such as hair or fur, make sure to use the "Refine Edge" tool to adjust those edges accurately.

Adding A New Background 

Once you have a satisfactory selection, add a new background to your image:

  1. Create a new layer and set it to black.
  2. Select the subject and copy it onto the new layer.
  3. Use the layers panel to adjust the position and size of the subject, as well as the blending options to make the subject blend seamlessly with the new background.

Adjusting Color, Lighting, And Blending 

To add final touches to your image, you can adjust the color and lighting. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Use the foreground and background color options to select colors for your image.
  2. Use the brush tool to paint over areas of your image and adjust the color or lighting.
  3. Use the blending options to make your subject blend seamlessly with the background.
  4. Use quick actions to enhance your images, such as adjusting the saturation or contrast.

Once you're happy with the image, right-click and save it or export it. 

Saving And Exporting The Image

Removing the background from an image can make it look more professional and aesthetically pleasing. Learning different techniques for background removal in Photoshop is crucial for designers and photographers. After removing the background, you must save and export the image in a suitable format.

Saving The Image In Psd Format 

When you save an image in Photoshop, it's essential to save it in PSD format. PSD is a native format for Photoshop that preserves layers, masks, and other editing information. To save your image in PSD format, go to File > Save As and choose PSD as the file format.

Exporting The Image In Different File Formats 

Photoshop offers a variety of file formats to export your image. If you need to use the image for the web, you can export it in JPEG or PNG format. Exporting the image in TIFF or PDF format is best if you want to print it. Go to File > Export and choose the appropriate file format to export the image.


Removing the background from an image can elevate the visual appeal of photography and any graphic design work. This guide explores five techniques to remove a background in Photoshop. It's guaranteed to help you earn a commission and enhance your craft.  However, free Photoshop alternatives with features like AI background remover can remove portrait backgrounds from images. One of these software is Skylum Luminar Neo, the best editing software for photography.

FAQ About Removing Background In Photoshop 

How to remove a background in Photoshop in a few steps?

It’s pretty easy! 

  1. Open your photo in Photoshop, and ensure it appears in the Layers panel. 

  2. In the Properties panel > Quick Actions, click 'Remove Background'. 

  3. Refine your edges with the Brush tool.

  4. To introduce a new background, simply drag and drop your desired image onto the canvas. 

  5. In the Layers panel, reposition the new image so that it sits below your original one.

What Are The Best Tools For Removing Background In Photoshop?

Photoshop is engraved with many background removal tools. The quick selection tool, the lasso, and the pen tool are some of the best tools for removing background in Photoshop. These tools help you select the subject and background to remove with precise results. 

Can I Remove A Background Using The Pen Tool In Photoshop?

Yes, you can remove a background using the Pen tool in Photoshop. Simply click along the edge of the object you want to keep in the image and create a path. Once the path is complete, right-click and choose "Make Selection" to select the background you want to remove.

How Do I Use The Magic Wand Tool For Background Removal?

To use this tool, open your image in Photoshop, select the Magic Wand from the toolbar, and click on the background you want to remove. Adjust the tolerance slider to fine-tune the selection, then press the delete key to remove the background. 

Can I Remove A Background In Luminar Neo?

Yes, you can. First of all, there is a dedicated Extension called Background Removal AI, which is a powerful tool for one-click background removal. The neural network in Background Removal AI can detect the main subject and up to nine types of other elements in your photo, and you can select which ones to keep. Extensions are the pro-level tools that have to be purchased separately from Luminar Neo. And also you can try online background eraser to clean up your photo.

For Portrait Background Removal you can use smart layer feature, integrated into Luminar Neo. Go to Layer Properties — Masking — Portrait Background. It’ll take about 30 seconds for AI to analyze your image, detect background and offer you a possibility to remove it. If you need to touch up the final result, there is a refinement brush at your disposal.

Luminar Neo is the best software for editing photos and a great alternative to Photoshop.

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How to Remove Background in Photoshop Step-by-Step | Skylum Blog(2)

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