How to Make a Background White in Photoshop: A Step-by-Step Guide


Michael Collins

Making a white background in Photoshop seems like a breeze, right? Well, it is! If you have an image that you want to isolate from its backdrop or just want to create a clean, white background for a graphic design project, Photoshop has got you covered. In a few easy steps, you’ll be able to transform any image background to solid white. Let’s dive in!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Make a Background White in Photoshop

First things first, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. We want to take an image and change its background to white. This is super useful for product photography, headshots, or any other image that requires a distraction-free background. Now, let’s get those steps rolling!

Step 1: Open the image in Photoshop

Open the image you want to edit in Photoshop.

When you’ve chosen the perfect image that needs a white backdrop, open Photoshop on your computer, and load the image. You can do this by dragging the image into the Photoshop workspace or by clicking ‘File’ then ‘Open’ and selecting your image.

Step 2: Select the background

Use the Magic Wand Tool or Quick Selection Tool to select the background you want to make white.

The Magic Wand Tool works wonders for backgrounds that are already fairly uniform in color. If the background has various colors or is complex, the Quick Selection Tool might be your best bet. Whichever tool you choose, click and drag it over the background to select it. You might need to adjust the tolerance settings to get a more accurate selection.

Step 3: Refine the selection

Click on ‘Select and Mask’ to refine the edges of your selection.

Once you have a rough selection, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Click on ‘Select and Mask’ in the options bar. This will help you refine the edges of your selection, ensuring that none of the subject is accidentally cut out. Use the sliders to adjust the edge detection as needed.

Step 4: Delete the background

Hit the delete key to remove the selected background.

With your background perfectly selected and edges refined, it’s time to say goodbye to the old background. Hit the delete key, and voila! You should now see a checkerboard pattern which represents transparency in Photoshop.

Step 5: Create a new layer

Add a new layer by clicking on the ‘New Layer’ button at the bottom of the layers panel.

Now that your original background is gone, it’s time to introduce the new white background. Click on the ‘New Layer’ button which looks like a little sheet of paper, at the bottom of the layers panel.

Step 6: Fill the new layer with white

Select the paint bucket tool and fill the new layer with white.

With your new layer ready to go, select the paint bucket tool from the toolbar. Make sure your foreground color is set to white, and then click anywhere on the new layer to fill it with a crisp, clean white.

After you complete the action, you’ll see that the once cluttered or unwanted background is now a fresh white canvas. This is perfect for making your subject stand out, creating graphics with a clean look, or preparing product photos for an online store.

Tips: How to Make a Background White in Photoshop

  • Before you start, make sure your image is in a layer and not locked as a background.
  • Use the ‘Refine Edge’ brush in the ‘Select and Mask’ workspace for hair or other fine details.
  • If the Magic Wand Tool selects too much or too little, undo and adjust the tolerance level.
  • Save your work as a PSD file to retain layers for future edits.
  • Remember to save a version of your image with the layers flattened if you need a JPEG or other file type.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the Magic Wand Tool selects the subject instead of the background?

You can invert your selection by going to ‘Select’ and then choosing ‘Inverse’ from the dropdown menu.

Can I use this technique to make backgrounds other colors too?

Absolutely! Just set your foreground color to whichever color you’d like before using the paint bucket tool.

What do I do if the background isn’t completely white after I delete it?

Make sure there are no hidden layers that could be showing through. If there are, clear or delete them.

How do I save the image with a white background?

You can save it as a JPEG, PNG, or any other format that supports a white background. Just make sure to flatten your image first.

Can I make the background white for a GIF or a video?

For GIFs, yes. For videos, Photoshop isn’t the best tool – you might want to look into video editing software.


  1. Open the image in Photoshop.
  2. Select the background using the Magic Wand or Quick Selection Tool.
  3. Refine the selection with ‘Select and Mask’.
  4. Delete the background.
  5. Create a new layer.
  6. Fill the new layer with white.


And there you have it! You’ve turned a distracting or unwanted background into a clean, white canvas with just a few clicks in Photoshop. Not only does this make your subject stand out more, but it also gives your images a professional look that’s perfect for a variety of uses, from product photography to headshots. Now that you know how to make a background white in Photoshop, the possibilities are endless. So go ahead, give it a try, and watch your images transform before your very eyes! Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempt isn’t flawless. Keep experimenting with the different tools and techniques, and you’ll be mastering the art of white backgrounds in no time.