How To Change a Background In Photoshop [For Beginners!]

A great technique to easily and quickly change a background in Photoshop! This technique works great with product shots with white backgrounds.

Changing your background product shot in Photoshop is almost like a superpower. You’ll learn advanced masking techniques in 3 minutes. But, first, let me show you how it’s done!

Follow These Easy Steps To Change a Background in Photoshop

Time needed: 3 minutes

How To Change a Background in Photoshop

  1. Select the Object

    The first step is to select the headphones. Go into the Select menu and choose Subject.
    This will use Artificial Intelligence, known as Adobe Sensei, to analyze the image and select the main subject.

  2. Refine The Selection

    The Select Subject command will often do an excellent job selecting the subject, but it’s not perfect. Refine your selection by subtracting the remaining white areas.

    To do this, choose the Quick Selection Tool nested under the Object Selection Tool.

    Then simply hold the Alt key (Windows) or Option key (macOS) and click-and-drag over the white area to subtract from the selection.

  3. Duplicate The Layer

    To change a background in Photoshop consider keeping the original shadows to make the composite looks more realistic. To do so, we need to duplicate the layer.
    You can go into Layer > New > Layer Via Copy.

  4. Invert the Layer Mask

    To bring the white background back, go into the black and white Layer Mask thumbnail of the original headphones layer. The white outline, which will appear around the Layer Mask thumbnail, indicates that this layer mask is active.

    Then invert the Layer mask so that the headphones are now hidden and the background is revealed. You can do so in one of two ways. You can press Ctrl I (Windows) or Command I (macOS) or go into Image > Adjustments > Invert.

  5. Set The Blending Mode to Multiply

    Next, hide the white pixels of the background and only keep the dark tones to reveal the headphone’s shadow. To do so, we can use Blending Mode.

    Go into the Blending Mode dropdown and choose Multiply. The Multiply Blending Mode hides the white pixels and keeps the darker ones.

  6. Create a Levels Adjustment

    Next, we will create an adjustment layer to control the intensity of the shadow.
    Go into the New Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels.

  7. Clip It To The Layer Below

    Then, from the Properties panel, make sure that you click on the Clipping Mask icon.
    This down-pointing arrow indicates that this adjustment layer will only affect the layer directly below it.

  8. Use The Levels Adjustment to Control the Shadow Intensity

    From the Properties panel, click and drag on this Gamma slider. Use the slider in the center to control the intensity of the shadow.
    For example, you can set it to about 0.65 to darken the shadow to make it more visible on the surface of the wooden table.

Your Turn!

This technique works well on product photos with a white background where you want to use the original shadow on the new background.

That’s it! Now you know how to change a background in Photoshop. Give it a try!

If you create something using this tutorial, you can share your results on Instagram by tagging @photoshoptrainingchannel and using the hashtag #ptcvids for a chance to be featured!

Also, make sure to watch my other In-App Photoshop Tutorials like the window reflection effect for more great Photoshop techniques!

Tutorial Download

Final Image

Drag The Slider To See Before & After

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