Removing Any Background In Photoshop

Use this guide to learn the 3 easiest ways to remove any background in Photoshop. Practice these 3 tricks and become a background removing master!

One of the biggest questions I get about Photoshop is, “how can I remove this background”. Unlike Adobe Lightroom,  Photoshop has a far more intimidating interface and endless hidden features. How are you ever supposed to figure anything out?

Luckily for you, in this article we break down the top 3 BEST and EASIEST ways to cut any image out in Photoshop. From simple images, to complicated backgrounds, you’re going to feel like a Photoshop master once you get these tools down.

The 3 tools we are going to be talking about are the Quick SelectionTool, Channels, the Pen Tool. Below is a breakdown of each tool, where to find it, and their uses!

Video Tutorial



Quick Selection Tool

The Quick Selection Tool is the most basic and intuitive tool of them all. With the Quick Selection Tool you simply paint over the areas you wish to select, and a selection is added! Photoshop then makes its best guess at what you are trying to select and snaps to the nearest edges. 

The Quick Selection Tool is perfect for images that have a very clear and defined edge. For example, a row of mountains against a clear sky, or a person in front of a white background.


  • Easy to use.
  • Makes fast selections.


  • Leaves edges of selection often uneven and jagged.
  • Can only be used in very simple images with defined edges.


Channels are one of those many features that seem a bit hidden. The channels tab is found on top of your layers panel and reveals 4 layers. An RGB, red, green, and blue layer. By clicking on any one of the 3 colour channels you can break down the image into black and white, respective to that colour channels values. 

This may seem arbitrary, but by selecting the colour channel with the most contrast, we can create an automatic selection to separate blacks and whites. This selection can be later applied as a layer mask to formally cut out or image. 

This technique works amazingly to cut out complicated backgrounds in most images. It also saves you the hassle of manually making a complicated selection yourself. With channels you can even cut out tree branches!


  • Can cut out complicated backgrounds with ease.
  • Saves time and effort.
  • Extremely flexible when adjusting selections.


  • More steps than other ways of cutting out images.
  • There must be a light and dark area around your subject to separate.

Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is the go to if you need things done with exact precision. The Pen Tool allows you to manually select what you want. Although it does take a bit of practice, it quickly will become one of the most versatile tools in your kit. 

The Pen Tool lets you place anchor points around your subject to shape a perfect selection. This tool is best used for selections that are very specific, and need to be flawless. For example, the pen tool is perfect to cut out people. This is because you can manually work around the natural bends in the body or wrinkles in the clothing.


  • Extreme precision.
  • Most versatile.
  • Flawless edges with customizable selection feathering.


  • Often time-consuming.
  • Can be challenging to use at first.

To make life a little easier, I created an in-depth guide sharing everything you need to master the pen tool. Click Here to check it out.

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Ultimately, these three tools will cover you in just about any situation you face. Each of these tools allows for fantastic selections and helps tremendously to build your confidence while using Adobe Photoshop. 

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Happy Editing!