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You know the first thing people usually notice when they take photos for family or group shots? The background. A photographer once shared this story when he was taking corporate group shots. While he was setting up the shot, one of the subjects glanced back and said, “Why are we shooting here? The background is so ugly!”
Especially when traveling, people would make sure to include details of where they are when they take photos of themselves or their companions, like the cool temples in Thailand, or Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom. So why would anyone want to go through the trouble of removing the background from the image?
People type “remove background from image” in their search bars simply because they want to change the current background to something else. For example, if you’ve been to theme parks, there are photographers who hang out at the end of each ride who take your picture, hoping to sell them to you later. A lot of them change the background to show the theme park instead of the background where they shot you.
Want to do it for yourself? Maybe change a photo of yourself with an overexposed background to a background with nice blue sky and fluffy clouds? Simple type “remove background free” in your search bar, and you’ll get plenty of options. Which one you want to use is entirely up to you.
And yes, you can remove background online; there’s no need to download anything. For example, head over to Remove.bg, a website with the sole purpose of removing the background from your image. All you have to do is upload the photo you want the background removed, and wait for a few moments, then download the background-less image. It’s as simple as that.
Another option to remove background from image online is Photo Scissors, which offers more control than Remove.bg. You’ll have to paint the part you want retained with green, then paint the part you want removed with red. The AI will do the rest.
For a lot of professional shoots, whether of models or products/items, the basic requirement is for the pro photographer to shoot the subject against a clean white background. You may be wondering why photographers bother to go out of their way to light a clean white background when “remove white background” will be part of the instructions during post-processing anyway.
The reason? It is easier to remove white background from image when it is a clean white background using Photoshop (for Mac and for PC), arguably the most popular tool used by professional photographers and editors. You can use the Magic Wand tool, which selects a color you specify in the picture. Create a duplicate layer of your image, click the magic wand on the white background, and press delete. You will now have an image of just your subject with no background. Another option is the Color Range option, which pretty much does the same thing as Magic Wand. The only limitation of these two tools is that if your subject is also white, such as white shoes, or if your subject is wearing white clothes, since they are the same color as your background, they will also be selected. You will have to be careful that no part of your subject is selected before pressing delete.
Thanks to technology, you don’t need to open your laptop to remove image background from any of your pictures. Just go over to App Store or Google Play, search for background remover apps, and you’ll find one that suits your needs.
A lot of these apps let you remove image background free of charge, too! One is Background Eraser. Using this app makes it easy to cut out images, and makes backgrounds transparent for easy substitution. Another app is Ultimate Background Eraser (for Android). Aside from this app giving you different ways to separate the background from the image, you can also zoom in, giving you more control over which parts to remove and retain.
Now, maybe you want to experiment on your own photos. Before you start to remove photo background from your own pictures, consider that there are some photos that will work better than others. Whatever device you use to capture a photograph, be it a camera or just your phone, always make sure to use the highest possible file that is available on your device, just so it is more flexible when editing. Lower resolution photos already don’t look good on some phone screens, so what more if you edit them further, right? That’s a no-no, especially if, say, you are going to use the photos in your online business.
Also, remember why pros use clean white backgrounds? It is so that the subject is easier to separate from the rest of the background. So it is easier to remove photo background from a subject that has a cleaner and more plain background. It is easier for programs to “read” the pixels and determine which is part of the subject, and which is part of the background. It’s the same concept why video productions use green screens: they’re going to replace the green screen with other backgrounds in post-production.
Of course, that’s not saying you shouldn’t try to remove any busy/detailed background from a particular photo you really like. It’s not as if you go around shooting your subjects with the intention of changing the background later, right? It’s just not going to be as easy as separating your subject from a plain background, but it’s definitely possible. With Photoshop, you can use the Pen tool for a better, more refined selection of your subject before hitting the delete button for the background, or you can use various masking options to isolate your subject from the background.
One last consideration is that if you want to remove your subject from the original background and place it in a new background and still want to make it look natural, you have to make sure the subject and the new background have similar, if not completely the same lighting. You wouldn’t call a photo with a dark background with a subject obviously lit by the sun as “natural”, right?
With all the tips and tricks mentioned in this article, we’re sure you will find plenty of ways to remove picture background from your chosen pics. Try out all the ways you can do it, and stick with the methods that work with you the best. Think of creative places you can put yourself or your friends. Place yourself underwater or in the Grand Canyon!
As mentioned earlier, always go for the highest resolution photo you can possibly work with so that it’s more flexible in terms of editing and output will still be high quality when you’re done. And most of all, have fun and enjoy the process!