How to remove neutral background in photoshop?

I have found that so many photographers use a grey backdrop or grey background for most of their portait photographs. I assume that it’s because grey is easy to remove and replace with any desired background during the post processing. If so , which is the easiest method to deal with removing the background of such kind of photographs ?

I tried the following

Made a selection with pentool , then made a mask to remove the background.

However it is a bit time consuming if I have to work on lots of similar images.

So can anyone help me with an easier method to remove the grey background ?

Thanks in advance

PS : I’m working on Photoshop CS6


Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

One of the most accurate, yet reasonably easy one is by using one of the (modified) RGB channels of the image as a mask:

  1. Load your image (I’ll be using one I found here) into PS, click on channels tab in color panel or if you don’t see it, window > channels
  2. Select the channel with most contrast – we ar going to use it as a mask, so focus on the edges (toggle their visibility to find one) and ctrl-click on it, which will make a selection of it quite precisely

How to remove neutral background in photoshop?
Selecting it

  1. Go back to layers tab (again window > layers if you don’t see it), alt-click the make mask button at the very bottom of layer tab, which will automatically apply our selection as a mask to our image. But hold on! We’re not finished yet, as its all a bit transparent, we’re going to fix it. But first alt-click to our mask, so we could see just it.

How to remove neutral background in photoshop?
enter image description here

  1. Now keep in mind, that since it’s a mask, the more white all areas are the more we’ll see them (and other way round). So let’s increase the contrast by selecting image > adjustments > curves (or ctrl+m) and play with them, until we get desired result.

Curves to the rescue

  1. Now since it also blacked-out some other areas inside what we want to see (part of her face for example), we can grab a brush tool and paint over them with white color. Analogically so for undesired white areas out of our focus (white something on the left edge for example). After a couple of seconds, I ended up with this:

few brush strokes

  1. Click back to the normal view (thumbnail on the left of mask thumbnail). We’re quite finished – we also retained many details and even semi-transparency on her scarf:

enter image description here

  1. Proof:

enter image description here

Feel free to play with it until satisfied.

Hope this helps.

All image credits go to Apsara-Stock

Method 2

What I do to remove a solid background is to go to Select>Color range. Here I pick the color of the background, make adjustments like adding new shades of the color from the background (in case background has different shades of the same color), or removing extra selections outside the background (in case there are objects of the same color as the background). After selecting the background (as in any case when I deal with a selection) I usually refine the edges(Select>Refine Edge). After you can delete/edit the background you have selected.

Method 3

  1. Select pen tool from tool box
  2. From pen tool bar (below menu bar), beside star icon, click on down arrow, and choose “Rubber band”. It will make selection smooth.
  3. Zoom the image. Select the area on image using pen tool.
  4. Right click on selected area, choose “Make selection”, change feather radius to 1, so that image will not look like cut.
  5. Copy (Ctrl + c) and Paste (Ctrl + v). It will make a new layer.
  6. Now hide original layer and create new layer give a color to it. Re-order croped layer to up side.

Here is video guide.

All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x