There are several different methods to remove image backgrounds in Photoshop. Which method you choose depends on your skill level and the results you’re looking for.
If you’re new to Photoshop, the Object Selection Tool or the Quick Action feature methods are the easiest. However, you can use the more advanced Magic Lasso tool if you have an image that doesn’t have a well-defined outline—a person with lots of wispy, flyaway hair, for example.
Remove a Background in Photoshop Using the Object Selection Tool
Adobe added the Object Selection Tool with the CC2020 version of Photoshop. It’s beginner-friendly and simplifies the way objects are selected. The 2022 update makes things even easier by adding an Object Finder enabled by default.
- Unlock your image. This step isn’t always necessary, but it’s good practice. With your photo open, right-click your background image in the Layers Panel and then select Layer from Background. Change the name of your layer. Select OK.Note: A more straightforward method to unlock your image is clicking the Lock icon to the right of your thumbnail in the Layers Panel. This will create a new image named Layer 0.
- Choose the Object Selection Tool from the lefthand toolbar (you can also press W on your keyboard).
- Slowly move your cursor within the area you want to select. When it changes color, your selection—the area you want to keep—has been made.
- Hold down the Shift key and left-click your mouse once with your cursor still hovering over your selected area. Marching ants should appear, indicating your selection is complete.
- Next, you need to invert your selection. Go to Select > Inverse on your top menu. You’ll now see the marching ants around the outer edges of your image, which indicates your background is selected.
- Select the Eraser Tool from the left sidebar.
- Change your eraser size if necessary. I like to increase it to about 500 px. Start erasing to remove your background!
Remove a Background in Photoshop Using the Quick Action Feature
The Quick Action feature was introduced in the 2020 version of Photoshop and can be used to remove your image background quickly.
- Open your image.
- Unlock your image (check the previous section if you’re not sure how)
- Navigate to the Quick Action feature using the search function in the top-right menu. Click the magnifying glass. Search for, then click the Remove Background tool and wait until Photoshop finishes processing. Once it’s done, your background will be removed.
- Depending on your image, you may need to touch it up as this tool is not always precise. If you look at the newly generated image below, you’ll notice some flyaway hair that wouldn’t be there if you used another method.
- If necessary, use the Eraser tool to remove anything left behind.
Remove a Background in Photoshop Using the Magic Lasso Tool
If your background surrounds an object or person that doesn’t have clean edges, it can be more challenging to remove the background. If so, you can use the Magic Lasso Tool to manually outline the edges you want to keep.
- Open your image.
- Unlock your image (check the first method if you’re unsure how).
- Select the Magic Lasso tool from the left toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut L.
- Left-click your mouse on the image and hold it. Now begin drawing around the outer edges of the object you want to keep. For example, we’re assuming she has flyaway hair to draw around in the picture below.
- Draw around the outline until you get to where you started drawing. Click on the starting point to connect the two ends. You’ll see the marching ants around your selection when you’re done.
- Go to Select > Save Selection, name it in your top toolbar, and click OK.
- Next, in the top toolbar, go to Select > Inverse. Once done, you should see marching ants around the entire image.
- Click Delete on your keyboard. Your background is gone.