Skip to Content

What is the easiest way to change the background in Photoshop?

Changing the background in Photoshop is a common task that can be done in just a few easy steps. With Photoshop’s selection and layer tools, you can quickly replace the existing background in an image with something new. In this post, we’ll walk through the easiest way to change a background in Photoshop, step-by-step.

Prepare the Image

First, open the image you want to modify in Photoshop. Before changing the background, it’s important to remove any existing background. The easiest way to do this is using the Quick Selection Tool.

  1. Select the Quick Selection Tool from the toolbar (or press W).
  2. Draw around the main foreground object to automatically select it.
  3. Refine the selection edges by adding or subtracting from the selection using the Plus and Minus keys.
  4. Once your foreground object is selected, inverse the selection by going to Select > Inverse.
  5. With the background now selected, hit Delete to remove it.

This will isolate the main foreground object and remove the existing background, leaving a transparent background instead. Now you’re ready to add in a new background.

Add a New Background Layer

With the background removed, the next step is to add in a new background layer:

  1. Go to Layer > New > Layer to create a new blank layer.
  2. Name the layer something like “New Background”.
  3. Drag the new background layer beneath the layer with your foreground object.

Now you have a separate layer where you can add in a new background image or color.

Insert a Background Image

To insert a background photo:

  1. Select the background layer in the Layers panel.
  2. Go to File > Place Embedded and select your background image file.
  3. Position and resize the image as needed.

You can also go to File > Open to open a regular photo file directly into the background layer.

Use a Solid Color Background

To fill the background layer with a solid color:

  1. Select the background layer.
  2. Choose a foreground color by clicking the color swatch.
  3. Go to Edit > Fill and choose Solid Color as the contents.
  4. Click OK to fill the layer with the solid color.

You can sample colors from the image or use the Color Picker to choose any color.

Make Additional Adjustments

With the new background added, you may want to make some additional adjustments:

  • Resize the canvas – Use Image > Canvas Size to expand the canvas to fit the new background layer.
  • Add shadows/reflections – Use Layer Styles to add realistic shadows or reflections.
  • Blur/darken the background – Apply Gaussain Blur or darken the background to make the foreground subject stand out more.
  • Adjust colors – Use adjustment layers and blending options to get the right look.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with filters, adjustments, layer effects, and blending modes to get the perfect composite image!

Save and Export

When you’re happy with your new background, save and export the image:

  1. Save the PSD file to preserve layers.
  2. Export a final flattened image file (JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc).

Changing backgrounds is a handy way to give images a fresh new look or combine elements from different photos. With a transparent subject isolated on its own layer, the possibilities for creative compositing are endless!

Photoshop Background Tips

Here are some additional tips for working with backgrounds in Photoshop:

  • Use Layer Masks along with selections for finer control over difficult edges.
  • Try mixing background layers, like a blurred photo below a solid color.
  • Pay attention to perspective and lighting to match the background to the foreground.
  • Use Adjustment Layers to color correct the foreground subject or background separately.
  • Clean up stray pixels or edges with the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools.


Swapping out backgrounds in Photoshop is easy with a little know-how. The key steps are removing the original background, adding a new background layer, inserting your image or color of choice, and then finishing up with any additional tweaking. With practice, you’ll be able to swap backgrounds and create seamless photo composites with ease. Changing up the background is a great way to give boring photos a new look. Go ahead, get creative and experiment with different backgrounds for eye-catching effects!

Photoshop Tool Use for Changing Backgrounds
Quick Selection Tool Quickly select the foreground subject to isolate from background
Magic Wand Select large uniform background areas to delete
Refine Edge Clean up difficult selection edges around foreground subjects
Layer Masks Fine tune selections and control the background reveal
New Layer Add a new layer below for the replacement background
File Place Insert a new background photo
Paint Bucket Fill background layer with solid color
Blur Gallery Blur new background to make foreground pop

This table summarizes some of the most helpful Photoshop tools and their uses when changing image backgrounds. The Quick Selection, Magic Wand and Layer Masks help isolate the foreground. New layers let you add replacement backgrounds. And handy editing tools like blur effects complete the composite.

With this overview of the simplest process, you should now have a good understanding of the basics steps and tools involved. Changing backgrounds in Photoshop is one of the most common and useful image editing skills to learn. So try it out on your photos and get creative with swaping in new backdrops!