How to Change a Photo’s Background in Photoshop

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How to Change a Photo's Background in Photoshop
How to Change a Photo’s Background in Photoshop

Do you wish to edit a photo’s backdrop in Photoshop? Maybe you wish to change a cloudy sky into a lovely sunny day. Or do you want to add a flat backdrop to your business headshot? If so, you’ll be relieved to discover that it’s really fairly simple.

One of Adobe Photoshop’s finest capabilities is the ability to modify the backdrop of a photograph. The program also has capabilities for selecting difficult regions, such as hair, and matching colors from multiple photographs.

How to Change the Background of a Photo in Photoshop

The easiest way to modify the backdrop in Photoshop is to make a selection that divides the foreground and background.

There are various approaches to get the same effects with Photoshop, as with anything else. In this example, we’ll use the Quick Selection tool, although the Pen tool would work just as well.

This is what we’re going to make. We’ll start with the left shot and work our way to the right., one of the greatest royalty-free image sources, is used for our photos. It’s an excellent resource for finding things to practice with. You may get our main picture here.

Step 1: Select the Foreground Object

Select the Quick Selection Tool from the toolbar, or press W on the keyboard (one of many useful keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop). Click and drag within the area you wish to choose with a firm brush. Based on the contrast levels in the picture, Photoshop will attempt to predict which areas you wish to include.

As a consequence, sections with strong contrast and hard edges will be picked neatly, but those with low contrast and soft edges will take more effort.

In certain cases, it may be simpler to pick the backdrop rather than the foreground. The selection may then be inverted by hitting Shift + Ctrl + I on Windows or Shift + Cmd + I on Mac. To fine-tune your pick, zoom into the picture and reduce the size of your brush by tapping the left square bracket. Continue clicking and dragging to add more foreground object pieces to your selection. Hold down the Alt key and click and drag in those regions to eliminate anything from the selection.

Step 2: Fine-Tune Your Selection

Your selection should ideally include all solid items, but you don’t have to concentrate with picking individual strands of hair, for example. We’ll take care of it right away.

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Click Select and Mask in the options bar at the top of the screen. The next page allows you to tweak the selection and turn it to a mask.

Click the View Mode option in the Properties window to alter how you view your selection. Overlay is a wonderful option since it allows you to choose a color that contrasts with your picture. However, you may wish to use the F key to cycle among the views as you work—different backdrops will show any issues with your choices.

Step 3: Select and Mask

You may now start fine-tuning the choices. There are many tools to assist you with this in the toolbar on the left side of the screen:

Zoom in on your picture to examine the selection’s edges. You won’t need to touch much of it—you’re mostly searching for places that haven’t been picked, have been selected incorrectly, or have really rough edges.

Step 4: Refine the Selection

In our picture, we’ll begin by smoothing the borders of the wall and body using the Brush tool. To add to the selection, just paint in, or hold Alt and paint to delete regions.

  • Tool for Quick Selection This tool, like the one we used in step one, may be used to swiftly add (or delete) any bigger sections from your selection.
  • Edge Brush Tool Refine Best applied to hair and other delicate edges. Brush Tool (
  • ). Use this on rougher edges. Lasso/Polygonal Lasso Tool
  • Draw regions to add or delete from your selection manually.

Next, use the Refine Edge tool to smooth out any soft edges in the hair. Check the Smart Radius box under Edge Detection in the right-hand panel. This allows Photoshop to distinguish between soft and hard edges.

You may also raise the Radius somewhat. To observe the results, you’ll have to do it by eye—press P to cycle between before and after.

Begin brushing the outside border of the hair with a softish Refine Edge brush. You should start to see hair strands being added to the choices. If you’re not satisfied with your edits, hold down the Alt key and paint to reverse them.

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Several choices are offered under Global Refinements in the Select and Mask menu. We don’t need to utilize these for our picture, but here they are for reference:

When you’re satisfied with your choices, go to the Output Settings section in the right-hand panel. Tick Decontaminate Colors to eliminate any color fringe that may have remained in your selection.

Step 5: Adjust the Settings

Select New Layer with Layer Mask from the Output menu, then click OK. Return to your main picture, and your pick will be inserted as a new layer. Now that you’ve deleted the picture backdrop, you may upload a new one.

  • Nice. Smooths a selection’s edge, erasing any jagged lines. Excellent for choices with a distinct edge. Feather
  • By adding a feather, you may soften the edge of a pick.
  • Make a contrast. Increases the contrast on the edge pixels to harden the edge of a selection.
  • Edge Shift Moves your whole selection by a defined number of pixels in or out.

Step 6: Remove Color Fringing

After that, put in the picture with your new backdrop. Put it on a layer right below the one with your foreground selection.

Position the layer anywhere you wish using the Hand tool, adjusting it if required with the Free Transform tool (Ctrl + T or Cmd + T). Grab the grips on the image’s corners or sides and pull inwards to make it smaller. Hold down the Shift key to maintain the aspect ratio.

Step 7: Paste Your New Background

It should be looking quite fine by now. The next step is to adjust the foreground colors so that they merge correctly with the backdrop.

Pick the foreground layer, being careful not to select the mask but the picture. Go to Image > Adjustments > Color Match.

Step 8: Match the Colors

Go to Source and choose the picture you’re working on in the new window that appears. Select whatever layer you wish to fix under Layer—you may either match the foreground to your new background or vice versa.

Check the Neutralize box to eliminate any color casts from your selected layer, and then modify the Luminance and Intensity choices until your foreground and background are the same. If necessary, use the Fade slider to decrease the impact. Toggle between the before and after states by using the Preview option.

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You’re done when you click OK. To save all of the layer information, save your work in PSD format. Your file is entirely editable since the foreground, backdrop, and original picture are all on distinct levels. Try these Adobe Photoshop workflow ideas for additional methods to enhance your picture editing.

You may adjust the mask to add or delete items from your foreground, and you can relocate or experiment with various backgrounds completely.

Step 9: You’re Done!

To share your photograph, save it in a different format. To achieve this, go to File > Save As and choose JPEG. But don’t delete your PSD—a it’s backup!

It’s simple to modify the backdrop of a picture with Photoshop. You can even swiftly add someone to your photographs or eliminate flaws. However, you can accomplish comparable results in most other major graphics software.

If you don’t want to pay for Photoshop, there are several free alternatives. GIMP is a fantastic place to start since it is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, it is just one of your alternatives.

What If You Don’t Have Photoshop?

When you want to change an image background in Photoshop, it’s easy. You can even quickly add someone to your images or remove blemishes from photos. But you can achieve similar things in most other serious graphics packages, too.

There are lots of free alternatives to Photoshop if you don’t want to pay for it. We recommend GIMP as a good starting point, as it’s available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. But that’s just one of your options.

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