How to Remove a Background From an Image in Photoshop

By Steve Smith

If you are using images for a website, graphic postcard or anything else, you will most likely need to remove the background. You can do this with Photoshop using a very straightforward technique. By using the select tool ("+" and "-") you can quickly remove a white, black or multi-colored background.

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop and select the magic wand tool on your tool bar.

Step 2

Move the pointer over the area you want to remove, then left click it. A select area outline will automatically appear.

Step 3

Move the wand until you select all of the area you want to remove. This tool captures all like-colored pixels, so it will move over areas you may not want selected. To undo an area that is selected by accident, click the wand "-" icon in CS3 version and left-click on the area you want to deselect.

Step 4

With the right area of the image selected hit delete. The program will automatically remove the background area you selected. Press "Ctrl" and "D" to de-select the area.

Step 5

Repeat the process as needed. Then use you eraser or pen select tool to outline additional areas that the magic wand missed.

Tips & Warnings

  • This is a fast easy way to remove a background, but it is not always as clean. A more time-consuming, but cleaner method is to use the pen tool (shaped like an antique pen) to carefully outline areas you want to remove, then delete them with the delete key.
  • Make a copy of your images before you attempt this, and remove the background on the copy.

References & Resources