Inevitably, you’ll find an image with great subject matter on a lackluster background. Here’s an easy way to swap a dull background with a fresh one in Adobe Photoshop CC.
birthday invitation card woman and dog

With the Magic Wand tool selected, click Select Subject — a tool that intelligently selects most of your subject. Adjust Magic Wand settings like Sample Size and Tolerance. Use modifier keys and click near the subject to refine your selection — press Shift to add to your selection, and Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) to tighten the selection around your subject.

photoshop select subject with magic wand

Add a layer mask to hide the background.

photoshop layer mask hide background

With your subject isolated, you have unlimited choices for a new background — simply place a fresh background on the layer below your masked layer.

photoshop subject with new background

We selected the underlying layer and sampled an eye-catching color with the Eyedropper tool. Then, we made a large rectangular selection and used the Gradient tool to apply a gradient. We dragged in the direction of the arrow; experiment on your own to create different gradient looks.

photoshop gradient tool

Don’t discard the next image you come across with a blah background — just replace it and give your image a new life.


With Adobe Stock, you have access to more than 100 million high-quality, royalty-free images including photos, graphics, videos and templates to jumpstart your creative projects. Try Adobe Stock and get 10 free images.


Adobe Stock contributors: zinkevych, aradaphotography

Was this page helpful?