How to Change a Background Color in Photoshop

Also works on foregrounds.
Ash Ash (362)
10 minutes

Background colors can be changed using any version of Photoshop. The tools used in this guide are universal, but sometimes menus move around between different versions of Photoshop.

You can also make the background transparent or opt to remove it completely.

Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop ×1

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Image Open in Photoshop

Open the image you want to edit in Photoshop using one of two methods: drag and drop the file directly onto the Photoshop workspace or import it under the File > Open menu.

Background Selection Photoshop

Select the background using the wand and lasso tool. I don’t want to make this process sound easier or harder than it is—the amount of work depends on the image you’re trying to edit. There are many tools in Photoshop that can be used to select areas of an image.

The Wand Tool

The magic wand tool is designed to automatically separate objects. The software tries to automatically detect the edges of an object to create the selection. This tool works best on areas with solid color and little texture.

Select it in the left-hand toolbar or press W on your keyboard.

The Lasso Tool

This is my favorite tool—by far. The Polygonal Lasso tool lets you draw a selection by clicking the mouse to drop points. The regular Lasso tool is used to freehand draw custom selections.

Select it using the toolbar on the left or press L on your keyboard. Hold Shift while using it to add to a selection and Alt to subtract from it.

Refine Selection Photoshop

If you want to avoid hard pixels around your foreground object, I recommend refining the edge of the selection. There are many ways of going about this. One quick method is to feather the edges of the selection slightly:

  1. Select an area of the image.
  2. Open the Select menu at the top of the screen.
  3. Go to Modify > Feather
  4. Set a pixel number. This will determine how far inward the feathering will be applied. I usually start with 1px and make adjustments in 1px increments.

This is one of many ways to go about cleaning up a selection in Photoshop. You may want to check online for more tutorials if you don't like the way this looks.

Photoshop Background Color Change

There are several ways to apply a new background color. You can use the fill bucket in a new layer to create a solid color.

Another option is to adjust the hue of the existing background using the Hue/Saturation menu. Open this menu with Control + U for Windows users or Command + U for Mac users. The hue and saturation of the background can be adjusted with the sliders on the tool that pops up.

When the background is set, save the changes or continue with your project.

You know what most pictures are missing? A giant lizard.
Ash Ash (362)
5 minutes

Photoshop is a professional tool with a lot of useful features. When it comes to removing a background image, Adobe's got you covered.