Replace White Backgrounds in Photoshop [Complete Process]

In this example, we will start with two layers. On top is a layer containing headphones over a white background. The layer below is a blue countertop which is the new background.

Time needed: 6 minutes

  1. Remove The Background

    Select the headphone layer and click on the Remove Background button from the Taskbar.
    This command will use Artificial Intelligence to remove the background with a Layer Mask.

    This will replace the white background in Photoshop, but we have more work to do if we want a realistic result.

  2. Refine The Mask

    The Remove Background command will often do an excellent job removing the background, but it’s not perfect. Make sure you fix any imperfections before moving on to the next step.

    To learn more about how to do this, check out our tutorial, How To Remove a Background In Photoshop For Beginners.

  3. Duplicate The Layer

    To change a background in Photoshop, consider keeping the original shadows to make the composite look more realistic. Select and duplicate the original layer by pressing Ctrl J (Windows) or Command (macOS).

  4. Set The Shadow Layer’s Blending Mode To Multiply

    Select the layer just above the background. This will become your shadow. Then, hide the white pixels of the shadow layer and keep the dark tones to reveal the headphone’s shadow.

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

  5. Hide All The Contents of The Shadow Layer

    To create realistic results when you replace white backgrounds in Photoshop, you will have to make sure that the Shadow layer is not creating any imperfections.

    To do so, right-click on the Layer Mask and delete it. Then, hold Alt (Windows) or Option (macOS) and click on the Layer Mask icon to create an inverted Layer Mask. This black mask will hide all the contents of the layer.

  6. Selectively Reveal The Shadow Layer

    With the Brush Tool, you can paint with white on the Layer Mask over the areas you want to reveal. Primarily the shadow. The other parts of the shadow layer will remain hidden, avoiding any other potential issues.

  7. Create a Levels Adjustment Layer Over the Shadow

    To make the shadow even more realistic, you can use an adjustment layer to control the intensity and better match it to the new background.

    To do so, go into the New Adjustment Layer icon and choose Levels. Then, from the Properties panel, click on the Clipping Mask icon. The down-pointing arrow to the left of the Layer Thumbnail indicates that the adjustment layer will only affect the layer directly below it.

  8. Use The Levels Adjustment to Control the Shadow Intensity

    Select the Levels Adjustment layer, then from the Properties panel, drag the Gamma slider (center slider) to control the intensity of the shadow. Drag it right to make it more visible over the counter or to the left to make it less visible.

  9. Create a Solid Color Layer

    Although the headphones were shot against a white background, the shadow may still contain a color cast, which could cause issues when placed over the new background. To avoid this, enable the Eyedropper Tool and click over the blue countertop.

    Now, go into the New Adjustment Layer icon and choose Solid Color to create a new Solid Fill layer in the color you selected. Then, create a Clipping Mask by pressing Ctrl Alt G (Windows) Command Option G (iOS).

  10. Set The Blending Mode to Hue

    From the Blending Mode dropdown, choose Hue; this will keep the Solid Fill layer’s color but use the background layer’s Saturation and Luminosity. The result is subtle, but it makes a difference!

Master this professional technique to seamlessly replace white backgrounds in Photoshop!

This unbeatable technique offers non-destructive editing and preserves original shadows, resulting in stunningly realistic compositions that bring your work to life. Perfect for creators seeking precision and realism in their work.

Easy Steps To Replace White Backgrounds in Photoshop

Your Turn!

This technique to replace white backgrounds in Photoshop works well on product photos. Give it a try with your images!

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Final Image

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