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How to change a background in Photoshop

We’ve already covered how to remove a background from an image in Photoshop, but what if you want to replace it with a completely different one?

Follow this guide to learn how to Photoshop your images to make it look like you’re somewhere else, whether that’s a far away country, fifty feet underwater or floating through space.

You can also scroll down to the FAQs section at the bottom of the page to discover how to make your subject fit better with its new background in just a couple of clicks.

What you’ll need: 

  • A computer with Photoshop 
  • A Creative Cloud subscription 

The Short Version 

  1. Open your image in Photoshop
  2. Right click on the layer and choose Layer From Background to unlock it
  3. Open Properties and click Remove Background
  4. Make any desired adjustments to the mask
  5. Upload your new background
  6. Drag the new background layer behind your subject

How to change a background in Photoshop

  1. Step
    1

    Open your image in Photoshop

    This is the image with the subject you want to keep and the background getting replaced. how to change a background in Photoshop

  2. Step
    2

    Right-click on the image layer

    This should be in the bottom right corner (or wherever you keep the layers tab). how to change a background in Photoshop

  3. Step
    3

    Click Layer From Background

    This should be the top option in the dropdown menu. how to change a background in Photoshop

  4. Step
    4

    Click OK

    This will unlock the layer so that you can remove the current background. You can also change the name of the layer at this stage if you’d like. how to change a background in Photoshop

  5. Step
    5

    Click Properties

    This option should be on the right hand side of your screen. how to change a background in Photoshop

  6. Step
    6

    Click Remove Background

    You may need to scroll down to find this option. how to change a background in Photoshop

  7. Step
    7

    Click the mask icon

    This will allow you to make adjustments to the mask. You can skip to step 11 if you’re already happy with how Photoshop has removed the background. how to change a background in Photoshop

  8. Step
    8

    Click Select and Mask

    Again, you may need to scroll to find this option. how to change a background in Photoshop

  9. Step
    9

    Use the tools provided to make any adjustments to the mask

    You can use the Brush tool to add and remove details from the image or the Refine Edge Brush to soften the edges of the mask. how to change a background in Photoshop

  10. Step
    10

    Click OK

    This will apply your changes. how to change a background in Photoshop

  11. Step
    11

    Click the Add New Layer button

    You can find this in the bottom right corner of your screen. how to change a background in Photoshop

  12. Step
    12

    Insert your new background

    You can do this by copy and pasting the image from another Photoshop tab or by uploading the image directly. how to change a background in Photoshop

  13. Step
    13

    Drag the background layer to the bottom

    That’s it! Check out the Troubleshooting section below to learn how to make your subject better match its new background. how to change a background in Photoshop

FAQs

How to make your subject match your new background

If you’ve followed the above steps and find the colours in your subject don’t quite mesh with your new background, there’s a quick fix for that. 

Duplicate your new background layer and move it to the front. Then click Filter, Blur and Average.  how to change a background in Photoshop Hold Alt/Option and click the space between the blurred layer and your subject to create a clipping mask. how to change a background in Photoshop 16 Then, just change the blend mode of the blurred layer to Soft Light and reduce the opacity to a level you think looks good. how to change a background in Photoshop 17
That’s it!

How to remove a background

Deleting a background takes even less steps than above. Simply follow steps 1 to 11, or head over to our guide on how to remove a background in Photoshop for more advice.

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