There are several reasons why you might want to change a background color in Photoshop. 

One of the most common reasons to change background color in Photoshop is for business reasons. You may want to give all your products a white background before listing them, so shoppers or people viewing your business-related content don’t get distracted. 

You could also change a background in Photoshop for aesthetic reasons. You may not like the background color and want to change it to a new hue you like.

Whatever your reasons, knowing how to change background color in Photoshop helps you to quickly and efficiently create an image that you want.  

There are two main methods to change background color in an image. The one that you choose depends on how much time you have and your preferred method for working on Adobe Photoshop to change background color. 

Method One For Changing the Background of an Image in Photoshop

These are the steps for the most common method to change background in Adobe Photoshop.

woman posing in front of red wall

Step 1: Select a Photo

Choose the photo you would like to change background color. Make sure you keep in mind that detailed images are going to take longer than simple pictures.

An image with sharp and clear edges and a plain background will present fewer challenges than one with lots of details and contrasts. It is certainly possible to change background color of complex images in Photoshop, but it will take more time. 

There are a few things you might want to avoid as you work with images while you change background color. These include:

  • edges that lack in focus,
  • motion blur, 
  • loose hair, 
  • excessively detailed edges,
  • change background color that blends into the subject.

Step 2: Design Two Layers

Once you have picked a photograph to work with, open it in Photoshop, and create a new layer to change background color. To do that, you need to press Ctrl+j. After duplicating the layer, you need to turn the initial layer off.

Change Background 1

Next, you need to make the new layer a solid background color. Click the Adjustment Layer icon or the Create New Fill layer icon in the Layers Panel. Click ok and choose ‘Solid Color’ from the options list and then change background color in Photoshop that is very close to the background you intend to use. If you are not sure of the background color, you can choose white while you change the background color.

Add a solid color layer

Step 3: Highlight a Subject

Next, you will select the subject. You can use the Quick Selection Tool or the Magic Wand in the Tools Panel. You click on it and then pick ‘Select Subject’ from the list of options. 

 When you choose to select the subject, whether with the Quick Selection Tool or the Magic Wand, Photoshop will attempt to determine it automatically. However, if the image isn’t clear enough, a dialog box will appear telling you that Photoshop is having trouble finding a subject. 

Quick Selection Tool

 There are ways around this issue in Photoshop. You will need to clean up and refine edge. 

Step 4: Tend to the Edges

With the Quick Selection Tool, click on the ‘Select and Mask’ option above your image. A new window will open in which you can begin the work of refining your selection. 

You will want to make this step on to refine your background even if the Photoshop auto-selection finds your subject because Photoshop may not cleanly separate the subject from the background.

To make precise edges, use the Refine Edge Brush Tool. You can find the Refine Edge Brush Tool on the left side of the screen in the tools panel.

You can adjust the opacity until you can see the effect of the edge brush tool. 

Refine your mask

Use the On White or Overlay options in the View panel to the right of your screen. Zoom in on the image and start at the bottom left of your subject, working in a clockwise fashion to ensure the entire outline gets covered. 

Once you are satisfied with the edge between the subject and the new background, you can switch the view to Black and White so that you can see the outline better. If you’re satisfied, you can save your changes by selecting Layer Mask in the Output To box and clicking OK.

Step 5: Apply the Layer Mask

Now that you have a new mask, you can set it to 50% black and paint to erase the parts of your subject that you do not want to see. This step will help any fuzzy and blurred areas look natural.

Step 6: Highlight and Isolate a Subject

Under Layer, select the layer mask by pressing and holding Ctrl and then clicking the layer. Duplicate it by pressing Ctrl+j. Then, hide the other layers so you can see your subject.

Highlight and isolate subject

Step 7: Create a Solid Fill

In the Layers Panel, click on Adjustment Layer. Again, you need to select Solid Color and the background color in Photoshop you would like to change to the background. 

You can add depth by adding a gradient while you change background. This step requires making a new layer below the isolated subject by clicking on the Create New Layer button in the Layers Panel. Use the G icon (Gradient tool), which you use to create the desired color gradient when you change background color in Photoshop

Step 8: Examine the Edges Carefully

With the new background color in Photoshop complete, make sure you can zoom in and look for possible halo effects. These occur where the background color in Photoshop is very different from the original background. You can paint over the halo using the same black or white paintbrush you used in the Clean the Edges step.

Look for halos

Method Two: How to Change Background Color in Photoshop Using the Object Selection Tool

Another tool you can use while learning how to change background color in Photoshop is the Object Selection Tool. The object selection tool makes it easy to select a whole object or just part of it in an image.  

This method has fewer steps, but it could actually be more labor-intensive because you color the background manually. For some novice Photoshop users, this method may make more sense intuitively. However, It is not ideal for complex images or pictures that have difficult-to-define subjects. 

Step 1: Highlight the Subject

All you have to do is draw a lasso or rectangular container around the object, and the Object Selection Tool will isolate it. 

This tool is in the same menu as the Quick Selection Tool. The Quick Selection Tool works best on images with plenty of contrast between the subject and the background. 

Step 2: Invert to Select the Background

Next, you invert the selection so that the background is selected, instead of the subject. You need to make this step so that you can delete the current background and replace it with your chosen color. 

To invert the selection, click on the Select menu and click on Inverse. Alternatively, you can press Shift+Ctrl+I. 

Invert Background

Step 3: Hit the Delete Key

Once you select the background, you can press the Delete or Control+X key to remove it from your image.

Delete the Background

Step 4: Use the Color Picker Tool

In the toolbar on the left, click on the Foreground color picker tool. 

Color Picker Tool

Step 5: Choose Color

Select the background color in Photoshop you want from the list of options. If you are unsure of a color to choose, you can select white. 

Step 6: Decide on Brush

Select a large brush. Size can be important here because you need to fill in the entire background, and a smaller brush will take longer. 

Step 7: Brush the Image

Start brushing over the image to color the background in the selected color. Once finished, you can deselect the background by clicking on ‘Deselect’ from the Select menu. Hopefully, your image will have a background that matches the color that you want. 

Brush on Color

This method works for simpler images, and for users who have the patience to color the background manually. Ideally, you can learn both methods and then choose the one that works best for the specific situation.