The white background is commonly used as a backdrop for various photos, such as studio portraits, product photos, e-commerce photos, fashion and branding photos, etc. While the color is suitable as a background for these pictures, it is also common to use a different background for a similar image or remove the background entirely.
One commonly used method to remove white background is the “Remove Background” option. But that option might not always provide the best result as different images have different types of subjects and surroundings. So what do you do? And how do you do it?
The answer is simple! You learn various methods to remove the white background using Photoshop. I found these ways to remove backgrounds extremely handy as they help me fix any white background image the way I want.
So if you want to do the same, I urge you to read the entire article to learn various methods to remove white background from images.
Best Ways To Remove White Background With Photoshop Tools
Since its release in 1990, Adobe Photoshop has been one of the best tools to edit any image and get a satisfying result (if you do it right). Over the years, the application went through many updates and upgrades and added more useful tools. So if you need to edit something, you can do it in more than one way.
That is how I found 7 different ways to remove a white background using Photoshop. Today, you will learn different ways to remove white backgrounds, and they are the following.
- Using Remove Background Tool
- Using The Pen Tool
- Using The Quick Selection Tool
- Using Background Eraser Tool
- Using Magic Wand Tool
- Using Lasso Tool
- Using The Object Selection Tool
Related Article:- How to change sky color in Photoshop CC 2020
Now, let’s see how you can remove white background from pictures in a Photoshop application using these methods.
Method 1: Using Remove Background Tool Photoshop
The “Remove Background” tool is available only in the Photoshop CC application or in the newest version of Photoshop. If you do not have either, you can skip this method.
This tool is handy if you want an effortless way to remove photo backgrounds, regardless of color or type. The tool works excellently in selecting the background automatically and removing it.
Step 1: Select The Image Layer
If the image is open on your Photoshop application, you can start editing by selecting the image layer. Go to the Layer panel, and select the image layer from the option.
Step 2: Open The Properties Panel
After that, you need to open the photo’s Property option. If you cannot find the option easily, try the following.
- Go to the Windows panel on the top Menu Bar.
- Click on Windows, and you will get the drop-down menu.
- Find the Properties option around the bottom of the menu and click it.
Step 3: Click Remove Background
Clicking on the Properties will take you to a new window. You will find several options and more options under their names, such as Transform, Align and Distribute, and Quick Actions. You need to look into the Quick Action area.
Under the name, there are two buttons: Remove Background and Select Subject. You need to click Remove Background, and the image subject will automatically get selected. Once it happens, make sure to apply it to the Layer mask. Click on it once, and the photo will no longer have a white background.
On the contrary, clicking the Select Subject option will also create a selection around the photo subject and remove it. However, using this will not require applying the image to the mask. Moreover, the image gets a quick refinement in case of a problem with the edge selection.
Step 4: Refine The New Layer (If Required)
It is not uncommon for the automatic background removal to remove some portion of the images along with the background. But you can always bring them back to correct the mistakes. And this option is for you if you choose to use the Remove Background option and the image requires some refining work.
First, click on the Layer mask to make the selection. Then press B to select the Brush tool or select it directly from the left-side Toolbar. Then select the foreground color as white. However, if you want to remove certain areas from the image, you must select black.
Now, carefully move the pointer over the missing or remaining areas to correct them. You can switch the Brush color between black and white to make necessary adjustments.
Step 5: Get The Final Result
The white background is gone from the image and is ready for use. But make sure to save the image in your preferred format to save your work.
Method 2: Remove White Background Using Photoshop Pen Tool
The Pen Tool is a widely used method to change and remove background from images. If you want to remove the white background using Photoshop flawlessly, using the Pen Tool is one of your best options.
One of the reasons why users like this tool so much are that it gives you the control to make selections as you want. Besides, it is more suitable if you edit images professionally.
Step 1: Select The Pen Tool
To begin editing the photo, press P to select the Pen Tool or select it directly from the left-side Menu bar. You can spot the tool quickly as it looks just like the head of a pen.
Step 2: Draw The Path
Drawing with the Pen Tool works similar to drawing around a subject on paper but with anchor points. Point and drag the pointer around the edges of the image subject so that you can separate it from the background.
It works best if you Zoom onto the image, making the edges more visible. But what if you need to create a curved path? In that case, click the pointer and then hold and drag it to create that outline.
You can adjust it using your mouse anytime. Find the Direct Selection Tool, which you will find under the Path Selection tool, to adjust the anchor point. Go to File and click Undo to undo any anchor point. For shortcuts, press CTRL+Z on Windows or COMMAND+Z on MAC.
Once you know you made the accurate selection, you can save it by clicking Windows and then Path. You can save it as the New Path.
Related Article:- Adobe Lightroom vs Photoshop Express
Step 3: Convert The Selected Path
You must turn the drawn part into a selection. To do that, right-click when the pointer is on the Paths panel and select Make Selection from the drop-down menu. It will open a small dialog box.
It will give you an option to set the Feather value. Setting the value will change the sides of the image and soften them. Input your preferred value in the empty box that says Feather Radius. You can always change the Feather value number as you wish.
Step 4: Inverse The Image
Drawing the paths is to remove the background. But what about the part that is inside the boundary? You need to ensure what is inside the boundary does not get deleted somehow.
So go to the Select panel and get the drop-down menu by clicking on it. From there, select Inverse. If you prefer a shortcut, you can press CTRL+Shift+I. Doing this will select the background, making it easier to remove.
Step 5: Delete The Background
You have completed the main parts of removing the background via the Pen Tool. Now you only need to Delete the background. So all you have to do is press either directly from your keyboard or the menu.
Step 6: Repeat For Other Paths
If the subject has other open areas, you must create multiple paths. However, the procedure is the same as before. You draw, convert, inverse, and then delete the background. And in case you want to copy the new layer’s subject, you can press CTRL+J to do that.
Method 3: Transparent White Background Using The Quick Selection Tool
If there is a nice contrast between the image subject and its background, you would want to use the Quick Selection tool. This tool allows you to remove the white background more quickly.
Moreover, the tool is more effective in removing backgrounds from product photos. You can apply this method to both white and non-white backgrounds.
Step 1: Open The Image And Unlock The Layer
Open the image in your Photoshop application to start working on it.
Then go to Layers and click twice on your image layer. You can choose to save the layer with a different name if you wish to.
Step 2: Duplicate The Image
Creating a duplicate layer keeps the copy you work on safe. Right-click on the image’s background layer, and you will get a dialog box.
You can name it Layer 2 and click OK. After that, click on the eye icon on the box next to the layer to make it invisible.
Step 3: Choose The Quick Selection Tool
You can click W from the keyboard to select the Quick Selection tool.
You can also select it from the left-hand side menu on the screen. Set the tool’s Size and Hardness to 100% and Spacing to 20%. You can increase and decrease the number later if needed.
Step 4: Make The Selection
Then click and drag the pointer around the edges of the photo subject. Focusing on selecting the subject helps get a better result when removing the background. You can Zoom the photo to ensure the selection is as accurate as possible.
Step 5: Refine Selection
If you press Q on the keyboard, the non-selected areas of the image will turn red. Now, you can clearly see if you missed any parts of the edges from selecting or selecting over the subject as well. Using the Brush tool, you can select black or white as the foreground color to make the adjustments.
Step 6: Remove The Background
Now go to the Select panel and click on Inverse from the drop-down menu. There you will find the Delete option to remove the background. You can also do it by pressing CTRL+Shift+I from Windows and COMMAND+Shift+I from MAC.
Related:- Photoshop Background Remove Basic Guides
Method 4: Using Background Eraser Tool To Remove White Background Photoshop
The Background Eraser tool is used frequently by those who work on removing complex backgrounds, white and others. It also helps erase complex subjects like hair, fur, glasses, etc. Since this tool offers more control over the user, it becomes easier to work on removing the background and making adjustments with patience.
Step 1: Open The Image And Duplicate The Layer
Like the Quick Selection tool, you must duplicate the image layer after opening the photo. So first, open the photo you want to edit with the Background Eraser tool. It can be an image with hair or fur to help you learn better. Then create a duplicate layer from the Layers panel and rename it.
Step 2: Select The Background Eraser Tool
Select the Background Eraser tool from the Toolbar. You will find the tool, among other tools, on the left-hand side of your screen. If you can’t spot it there, look into the Eraser tool. Sometimes, the Background Eraser tool stays hidden under the option.
Step 3: Erase The White Background
Once you have selected the Background Eraser tool, make sure to adjust the tool Size and Hardness to 50px and 100%, and you can keep the Spacing to 25%. After that, get ready to remove the white background from the image. Though the tool helps detect and remove the background without removing much of the subject, you can decrease the Brush size to remove the white from smaller areas.
Step 4: Make Corrections
None of these tools is 100% perfect in removing background without slight issues. So you have to correct them after you remove the background. Use the Mask option to turn the background red to see if you cleaned up the edges properly. You can switch between black and white colors for the Brush tool to make adjustments for the subject and the background.
Related Article:- How to add a Drop Shadow in Photoshop
Method 5: White Background Transparent Using Photoshop Magic Wand Tool
The Magic Wand background removal tool is not the right tool to use on a subject with hair or fur. But it is a suitable tool to remove the background without bothering the subject. It is often used to make the background transparent for product photos.
Step 1: Select The Magic Wand Tool
Like most other methods, you can press W from your keyboard to select the tool option or select it from the Toolbar on the left of the screen. Sometimes, it can be found among the selection tools, such as Quick Selection and Object Selection.
Step 2: Choose Sample Size
Now, look at the upper setting bar, and you will see an option that says Sample Size. Set it to Point Sample or 5 by 5 Average. This option is suitable for removing background as it allows you to select the background more accurately. And as you are removing a white background, I suggest choosing Point Sample here.
Step 3: Tolerance And Anti-alias Setting
Next to the Sample Size, you will find the Tolerance option. Set the value to 25 as you will be dealing with only a white background here.
However, if the background is colorful or different, you can set the value to 50-60 or more if necessary. And next to it, tick on the Anti-alias option.
Step 4: Make a Selection
Here is why this tool is called the Magic Wand tool. Instead of selecting around the subject to separate the background, you only tap on the white of the background to let the tool know the color you need to select. The Magic Wand tool will pick the rest on its own and will automatically select around the white, separating the subject.
Step 5: Apply The Selection
Go to the Layers panel and select the photo layer to make the selection of the work. Then press CTRL+I or Command+I to invert the layer mask and make the subject visible. It will remove the selected background, and the image will be ready to use after saving.
Related Article:- Image Masking Using Photoshop
Method 6: Using Photoshop Lasso Tool To Transparent White Background
The Lasso Tool or the Magnetic Lasso tool allows users to select the subject and remove backgrounds more freely. It is less time-consuming than the Pen Tool, which requires more manual effort. Moreover, this tool is suitable for removing backgrounds from complex photo subjects.
Step 1: Open The Image
First, open the image in your Photoshop application. Go to File and select Open from the drop-down menu. The new Window will take you to your device’s storage, and you can select the photo from there. You can also press CTRL+O to open the image through a shortcut.
Step 2: Select The Lasso Tool
Look at your left-side area of the screen, and you will find the Lasso icon. Click on it, and it will show you 3 tools: Lasso Tool, Polygonal Lasso Tool, and Magnetic Lasso Tool. You need to select the Magnetic Lasso Tool to remove the background.
Step 3: Create An Outline
Zoom into the image and drag the pointer to select around the image subject. Though doing this with the Magnetic Lasso Tool is fairly less troublesome, it is best if you are patient when creating the outline.
Step 4: Copy The Selection
Then copy the selection into a new layer. You can do it from the Layers panel on the right side of the screen and select Layer Via Copy. You can also do it as a shortcut by pressing CTRL+J on Windows or COMMAND+J on MAC.
Step 5: Invert The Selection
Go to the Select panel and click on Inverse from the drop-down menu. This process will remove the white background from the image and leave a transparent one to use.
Method 7: Delete White Background Using The Object Selection Tool
The Object Selection Tool is one of the latest additions to this application, introduced around the end of 2019 in Photoshop CC 2020. This is yet another handy tool to remove white backgrounds from photos. And here is how you can remove the white background using the Photoshop Object Selection tool.
Step 1: Open The Image
After launching the Photoshop application, click on the File panel and select Open. Then choose the image from your device storage to edit it.
Step 2: Choose The Object Selection Tool
You can choose the Object Selection tool from the left-hand side of the screen. You must set up the tool before drawing anything on the photo subject. So follow the next step to know how you can set the tool.
Step 3: Select Mode And Draw
Selecting the Object Selection tool will show you two drawing modes for selection. The modes are Rectangle and Lasso. The Rectangle mode helps you select a single subject by creating a rectangle shape around it.
But if the photo has multiple subjects or you want the liberty to draw by yourself, it is best to choose the Lasso mode. Whichever you choose, click on the subject and draw the outline to select the subject.
Step 4: Inverse The Selection To Remove Background
You can remove the background from the selected image in two ways. You can press the Delete button or go to the Select panel and select Inverse from the drop-down menu to do it.
Automated Online Tools And Software
If you want to remove background online, there are ways for that too. You can use the automated software with various tools to remove the white background without much effort.
But you should also know that this type of software also has some limitations. Most of them can remove backgrounds from photos with a single subject.
Removing backgrounds from photos with multiple subjects become a hassle, and the result is not always perfect. Moreover, the selection tool in such applications or software is not as good as Photoshop tools.
Which Is The Best Tool For White Background Removal?
Now, here is a debate or indecision you are likely to face. Which tool would be the best to remove white backgrounds from photos?
While all the tools I mentioned above are used widely by photo editors and enthusiasts, some are used more than others. Besides, some of these tools have a similar working process, yet they work differently. So let’s look at their similarities and differences to see which tool seems better.
- Pen Tool Vs. Lasso Tool
The biggest flex of using the Pen Tool is that you can go back to the image anytime and edit or adjust any settings. This tool gives you a wider range of choices when it comes to selecting the subject flawlessly but requires time and patience.
On the other hand, the Lasso Tool requires manual selection, which is not highly suitable for beginners. The major drawback of this tool is that it offers limited selection tools but is ideal if you do not need a perfect-cut photo.
- Background Eraser Tool Vs. Pen Tool
The Pen Tool is extremely useful for clipping path images. It helps select photo subjects of any shape and size with accuracy with anchor points. No wonder it is used mostly by professional photo editors. As I mentioned a while ago, this tool effectively removes any background.
Though the Background Eraser tool is equally helpful and effective, it works more effectively in several aspects. This tool can remove complex subject areas, such as hair, fur, glasses, fabric, etc.
- Object Selection Tool Vs. Quick Selection Tool
The Quick Selection Tool and the Object Selection Tool have lots of similarities. You do everything from start to end in the pretty same way. However, their differences lie in how you select the image subject before removing the background.
You select the subject with the Quick Selection tool by clicking and dragging the cursor around it. On the contrary, Object Selection requires dropping the rectangle shape over the subject, automatically creating a selection around the subject.
- Magic Wand Tool Vs. Automated Tool
The automated tool helps remove image backgrounds more quickly and without much effort. But since it detects the subject edges automatically, the selection may not be perfect. So even if you remove the background with this tool, the image will not look flawless.
However, the Magic Wand Tool is quite perfect in this regard. Though the other processes are similar, you can drop the wand tool in the background, and it will pick the rest automatically.
Which Tool Is Suitable To Eliminate White Background From Hair Area?
Image editing brings forward different types of photos to you. And it is not uncommon to get pictures of people that require background. And obviously, these photos will contain hair, which is one of the challenging parts to work on if you do not know which tool to use.
The Background Eraser tool is highly effective in this regard. You would also need to use the Image Masking option for correction and make the image look more natural. Besides, the Background Eraser makes selecting around the soft edges easier without the risk of bigger mistakes. Masking plays a vital role here as a clipping path image cannot have a flawless finish without proper masking. Moreover, if you accidentally remove some subject portions or select more
than needed, you can always correct it with the Masking tool. That is why these tools are best-known for providing accuracy when removing backgrounds from the hair area.
Yet, your patience also plays a vital role in clipping paths or masking. Using these tools requires patience and concentration. So make sure to be prepared when working on such critical areas.
White Background Removal For Portrait Photo
Yes, we all know portraits tend to have white backgrounds. However, it is not essential for all types of portrait photographs. There are plenty of reasons someone would want to remove the white background from a portrait with a white background.
For example, a portrait of someone important may require having a different background color to make it an official photo. That is when it becomes essential to remove the existing white background and replace it with another solid color or make the background transparent.
Transparent backgrounds in portraits are essential when you want to turn them into a clipping path image or a photo on a magazine cover. Another reason the white color has to go from the background when the person is wearing all white is it is unsuitable for a white background.
Background Removal For Product Photo
The thing about the white background and photo subject applies here too. Product photography matters a lot for e-commerce and online business purposes. So you will need a background, solid or different color, where the product will appear vibrant and eye-catching.
It is challenging to bring focus on a white product against a white background. That is why it becomes essential to remove the background. You can either make the background transparent or replace the white one with a different solid color background.
Why Use White Background In A Photo?
Not just product photography or studio portraits, architectures and designers often use white backgrounds against their design colors. But it is not usual to find plain white photography areas in nature. That is why people apply them using white curtains, paper, and other backdrops.
Some even use Photoshop and other apps to remove the original backgrounds and turn them white. Here is why people use white backgrounds in photos.
Makes Subject Stand Out
Most photos are mainly taken against a white background because they make the subjects stand out. Whether it is a person or a product, you can make all details visible without much effort as the background is not distracting.
Makes The Image Eye-Catching
Though an image can appear eye-catching when the subject stands out, it also requires a nice background to add more attraction. The white background is popular in product photography and other sectors as it enhances the photo and makes the entire image eye-catching to its audience.
Easier To Edit
A white background makes the image more accessible for various editing works. You can change the white background to any other background or use a clipping path to remove the subject without much trouble. Besides, it gives you the liberty to edit the photos however you want.
Instead of shooting photos in different locations, you can shoot all photos in one place with a white background. Who’s gonna know, right? You can change the prop settings in the pictures to make it look like they were taken at different times.
Easy To Remove
Not like the white background? Well, you can just remove it using various Photoshop tools and methods. You can either keep the background transparent or add different backgrounds after removing the original one.
No Extra Hassle
Those who work on setting up a suitable background for various photography themes understand how crazy it can sometimes be. That is why white backgrounds are suitable, as they cut out the extra hassles. You can capture occasional photos, such as celebrating various year-round festivals, without changing the background theme.
Why Remove White Background From A Photo?
So after spending so much time and effort creating a white background and doing other edits, why remove it? Well, the white background is not always necessary or suitable for all photos.
So when needed, removing the white background helps you use the photos for other purposes. Here, I mentioned some reasons why the white background needs removal.
Use A Different Color Background
As I said, white is not always the best background color for all photos. It is challenging to highlight a plain white product or subject with a white image background. That is why it becomes essential to remove the white background and replace it with a different color or a different background.
Make The Background Transparent
The clipping path requires making the background transparent so you can cut the subject out anytime and place it on any other photo. And clipping path means removing the white or any existing background from the image using the Pen Tool.
Bring Focus On The Foreground
As I mentioned in the first point, focusing on a white subject is challenging with a white background. Everything appears too white, and the details of the subject fail to get highlighted. But when you remove the white background or replace it with a different one, viewers can easily focus on what is in the foreground.
Removing the white background using Photoshop becomes a regular part of the job if you provide a photo editing service. Family or school portraits, event photos, and e-commerce advertisements all require different backgrounds, making it essential to remove the white background and turn it into something eye-catching.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you can see, the Adobe Photoshop software gives you many options to work on an image and change or remove its white background without making the photo look unnatural. That is why it is essential to know how to remove the white background using Photoshop.
While the Pen and Lasso tools seem more effective and popular, the other tools also work efficiently if you can use them properly. And the only way to do that is to practice with patience.