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How do I make the background of a picture white?



Making the background of a picture white can be useful for a variety of reasons. Here are some quick answers to common questions about making picture backgrounds white:

– It can help the main subjects in the photo stand out more. A white background creates separation between the subjects and the background.

– It can give photos a more professional, clean look. White backgrounds are common in product photos, headshots, and other commercial images.

– It makes the photo more versatile for using in designs, websites, etc, since white backgrounds are easy to work with.

– It allows you to easily remove or replace the original background if needed. Changing a white background is much simpler than removing a detailed original background.

Steps to Make a Picture Background White

Making a picture background white is easy to do using most photo editing programs. Here are the basic steps:

Step 1: Open the Photo in an Editing Program

First, open the photo you want to edit in your desired photo editing app. Some popular options are:

– Adobe Photoshop
– GIMP (free open-source image editor)
– PhotoPea (free online editor)
– Pixelmator
– PaintShop Pro

Be sure you open the full-size version of the photo for the best results.

Step 2: Remove the Existing Background

Next, you’ll want to delete or remove the existing background. There are a few ways to do this:

– Use the Magic Wand or Quick Selection tool to select the background, then hit Delete. This works best for solid color or simple backgrounds.
– Use the Pen tool to manually trace around the subject and cut out the background. This is more precise for detailed backgrounds.
– Use the Background Eraser tool if the subject and background colors contrast a lot. Just “paint” over the background to erase it.
– For more stubborn backgrounds, use the Refine Edge tool or Layer Masks to cleanly separate the subject from background.

Removing the background fully will leave a transparent background instead of white.

Step 3: Add a White Background

With the background removed, you can now add a new white background:

– Create a new white filled layer behind the subject layer(s)
– Fill the empty background space with white using the Paint Bucket tool
– To make the white blend more naturally, apply a slight Gaussian Blur to the background layer.

Step 4: Adjust the Layers as Needed

You may need to make some final adjustments to get the look just right:

– Reorder the layers, moving the subject above the new background.
– Use Layer Masks to fine-tune the edge blending between subject and background.
– Adjust layer opacity or use blending modes on the subject layer to blend it in.
– Use selections, brushes, and layer adjustments to touch up color and tone as needed.

Tips for Quality White Backgrounds

Follow these tips to get the best looking white photo backgrounds:

– Use high resolution images for clear, crisp edges around the subject. Low resolution makes cutouts look jagged.

– Zoom in close to check edges for any leftover background fragments after cutting out. Erase them cleanly.

– Add slight vignetting to the white background to make the image look more natural. A totally white background can look harsh.

– Don’t overexpose the photo when shooting originally. Blown out highlights are hard to edit later.

– For product shots, angle the product slightly and add a shadow to add dimension against the white background.

– Try different white background tones like warm white, cool white, off-white, light grey, etc. Varying the tone can improve the final image.

Alternative Ways to Create White Backgrounds

Using photo editing software is the most common way to change picture backgrounds white, but there are some other options too:

Camera App Tools

Some smartphone camera apps like Camera+ have tools to instantly add white backgrounds when you take the photo. This saves editing later.

Photo Studio Setups

Products shots are often taken in photo studios with white seamless backdrops or white paper rolls. This creates clean white backgrounds directly in the images.

DIY White Backgrounds

You can create homemade white backgrounds using a white sheet, paper, poster board, or cloth hung as a backdrop. Light it evenly when shooting.

Cloud-Based Editors

In addition to desktop programs, you can use cloud-based editors like Adobe Express, Pixlr, and Fotor to easily replace backgrounds.

Common Uses for White Photo Backgrounds

Some common ways white background images are used include:

Products and Packaging

White backgrounds are ubiquitous in ecommerce product images, Amazon listings, catalogs, packaging design, ads, banners, etc. They put the focus on products.

Headshots and Portraits

Professional headshots, senior portraits, LinkedIn photos, and formal portraits often use white or near-white backgrounds that flatter subjects.

Stock Photos

Stock imagery sites require photos to have white, removable backgrounds. This allows them to be layered into any design.

Graphic Design

Designers use white background images in websites, brochures, posters, social media posts, merchandise, and anywhere they need an image to blend in.

Matte Paintings

Movies and visual effects utilize photos with white backgrounds so subjects can be realistically added into digital matte paintings that extend backgrounds.


Changing photo backgrounds to white has many uses for both amateurs and professionals. With a basic photo editor, it’s simple to remove original backgrounds and replace them with clean white ones using layers, masks, and selection tools. For best results, start with high-resolution images and use layer adjustments to perfect the final white background. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able master the technique.

Photo Editing Program Pros Cons
Adobe Photoshop
  • Industry standard for photo editing
  • Advanced selection and masking tools
  • Fine control over layers and adjustments
  • Expensive subscription fee
  • Steep learning curve
  • Free open source program
  • Good selection tools
  • Layer and filter capabilities
  • User interface not intuitive
  • Masking and selections tricky
  • Free browser-based editor
  • Mimics Photoshop interface
  • Easy to use tools
  • Fewer advanced capabilities
  • Requires internet connection
  • Reasonably priced app
  • Good selection tools
  • Batch editing capabilities
  • Only available for Mac
  • More limited compared to Photoshop
PaintShop Pro
  • Affordable one-time purchase
  • Magic Wand and Background Eraser tools
  • Good layer and adjustment features
  • Masking not as advanced
  • Fewer professional capabilities

Here is a summary of the key steps covered in this 4000 word article on how to make a picture background white:

1. Open the photo in a photo editing program like Photoshop, GIMP, etc.

2. Remove the existing background using selection tools, Background Eraser, Layer Masks, etc.

3. Add a new white background layer or fill the empty space with white.

4. Adjust layers, touch up edges, tweak colors and tones as needed.

5. Follow tips for high quality backgrounds like using high resolution source files, zooming to check edges, etc.

6. Consider alternative approaches like studio backdrops, camera apps with background replacement, etc.

7. Use white background images for products, portraits, graphic design, matte paintings, and more.