Swap out a lackluster background to give new life to an image.

Birthday invitation featuring woman wearing red holding a chihuahua. Background is white with pink gradient on bottom.

What you'll need

This sample file is an Adobe Stock image you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

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.

Woman holding chihuahua against light brown background. Dashed line shows where Magic Wand tool has selected the subjects.

Add a layer mask to hide the background.

A layer mask is added to hide the tan background. The woman holds the chihuahua in front of a white 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.

Four backgrounds of woman and chihuahua: pink horizontal stripes, gold flowers, purple gradient, and light blue shapes.

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.

Eyedropper is used to select a hue from woman’s headband and create a gradient background.

Don’t discard the next image you come across with a blah background — just replace the background 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.

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Everyone can Change Backgrounds - Remove and replace your background.

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