When you take a photo of someone, or an item, you probably don’t spend much time looking at the background. But if you think about it, everything behind your subject makes up the majority of the image.
So actually, the background is quite important. This particularly applies to
portraits and product photos, where you want the sole focus to be on your subject.
Of course, you might not always be blessed with a great natural backdrop. That’s okay — you can simply edit your photo backgrounds.
There are many ways to achieve this, but we reckon we’ve found the easiest. Keep reading to discover how you can edit or completely change the background of any photo in a couple of minutes.
You probably arrived at this guide with a particular editing task in mind. However, there are many reasons why you might want to edit photo backgrounds. Here are some of the most common:
In most cases, the best possible background is one that viewers don’t notice. It should be aesthetically pleasing, but not interesting enough to take away interest from your subject.
Unfortunately, the real world is full of distractions. Some of them might find their way into the background of your photos.
You can solve this problem using your favorite photo editor. For example, Pixelcut has a Magic Eraser tool that lets you remove unwanted objects from the original image background.
Sometimes, the original background is too cluttered to salvage. Or it’s just not right for the mood you are trying to achieve. In these circumstances, you might want to replace the old background completely.
When you take this approach, you open up a huge range of possibilities. You can insert a plain background color or gradient, add a texture, or even insert a stock photo to set the scene. Plus, using a tool like Pixelcut, it’s possible to add drop-shadows, reflections, and other cool effects.
Maybe you don’t need a background at all?
If you are creating a modern website or designing a custom profile pic, you might want to cut out the subject of your photo and leave a transparent background. This then allows you to drag and drop your photo into designs.
There are many different ways to edit photo backgrounds.
Photo editing apps like Adobe Photoshop are great for professionals, but they seem pretty complicated and expensive for the rest of us. If you’re looking for a more affordable solution and an easier workflow, you might be better off using a dedicated mobile app like Pixelcut.
We’re going to be using Pixelcut in the following tutorial. The steps below are all really easy, and the whole process will take you just a few minutes.
Let’s start with the photo you want to edit.
Pixelcut has its own built-in camera, which means you can capture images and get to work instantly. You can access this feature via the top menu on the app launch page.
If you prefer, you can upload images you have taken previously, or any other image saved on your phone. Just tap Photos to browse through your gallery.
If you have a specific project in mind, you can tap one of the preset designs lower down the page. These include templates for social media profile pics and stories, digital flyers, listing photos, collages, and commonly used canvas sizes.
Once you have loaded your photo, you can dive straight into the Background Remover tool. This allows you to erase the background with one swipe.
Pixelcut uses advanced algorithms to detect your subject and figure out what is in the background. Most of the time, it separates the two perfectly.
If any of the background is accidentally included in the cut-out, you can tap Refine to adjust the selection.
Erase allows you to select more areas to be removed, while Restore lets you save parts of the photo from the background removal process. If you want a different view of the dividing line, you can tap the little sun-like icon on the left to toggle between white and black masks.
Once you’re happy with your selection, you simply tap the ✓ at the bottom of the screen to finish removing the background.
By default, Pixelcut will put your subject on a plain white background. You can quickly export this version, and there are multiple common canvas sizes along the bottom of the screen to choose from.
If you prefer, you can pull the white background off the canvas and save your photo as a transparent PNG file.
On this screen, you can even resize and move the subject on your canvas. It’s kind of like using a sticker on Instagram. Once you’re finished with the initial edit, hit Continue to enter the full editor.
With the original background removed, Pixelcut splits your photo into two layers (foreground and background). You can make changes to either.
Tap on the background layer, and you will discover several different options. Replace allows you to insert your own background. You can select any solid color, color gradient, or photo on your device.
In addition, the app lets you choose from a huge selection of free background photos — including textures and scenes.
With Nudge, you can adjust the positioning of whatever background you choose, and Border lets you create a nice little frame.
Right at the bottom of the screen, you can find additional controls. These allow you to flip your background vertically or horizontally, lock the layer, and move it forwards or to the back.
We reckon that Pixelcut offers the fastest, easiest workflow for editing backgrounds. But of course, there are many ways to approach this task.
To help you find the right tool for your needs, here is a quick run-through of the options:
This class of apps contains tools that are specifically for replacing backgrounds, such as PhotoScissors.
Some work very well, but they usually lack the range of features you would find in a full photo editing app. As a consequence, you can find yourself bouncing between different tools.
Adobe Photoshop and similar professional editors have built-in features for targeting the background of your photos. They also provide you with a vast range of editing options, allowing you to fine-tune saturation and add background blur.
On the flip side, that depth makes these apps quite difficult to master. You can easily spend months learning the required techniques.
Somewhere in the goldilocks zone, we have creative photo editors like Pixelcut.
Not all apps in this category allow you to switch out or remove backgrounds. But those that do are usually pretty easy to use, and affordable. They also come with design-type tools, allowing you to add overlays and stickers, for example.
So, which of the above options is right for your editing needs? When making your decision, here are some key points to consider:
Usability — If you’re happy to invest months in learning how to use a professional editor, go for it. But otherwise, we recommend trying multiple apps and seeing which one provides the most natural workflow.
Features — Just because an app can remove or change backgrounds, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best app for the job. Consider which other edits you might need to make. Can your chosen tool also handle these adjustments? If not, you might end up with a pretty disjointed workflow.
Platforms — You can find background editor apps on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. If you generally use a DSLR camera, desktop software might be your best option. If you more often shoot photos with your phone, a mobile editor will probably help you get things done faster.
Price — Obviously, whichever tool you choose needs to be affordable. While full Creative Cloud membership costs hundreds of dollars a year, Pro Membership with Pixelcut is only $59.99. Plus, you can try the app for free.
Whether you shoot e-commerce photos or you want to make amazing social media posts, Pixelcut is a great all-round editing tool.
Along with the background changer, our app offers loads of tools to help you create slick product photos and eye-catching collages. It works on iPhone, iPad, and Android, and the workflow is completely seamless.
Download Pixelcut today to try it yourself, and discover how easy photo background editing can be!
Join more than 10 million small businesses, creators and entrepreneurs that use Pixelcut to grow their business.