How to Add a White Background in Photoshop

how to add white background in photoshop

Adobe Photoshop has several features which allow you to add effects to your wedding photography. One of the features we will address today is how to add white background in Photoshop.

How to Add White Background in Photoshop

Here at ShootDotEdit, we specialize in wedding photo edits for professional photographers. Though we believe in the phrase “Do what you do best and outsource the rest”, we know how important it is for you to have knowledge about what post production processes entail. That includes understanding the specifics behind certain effects, such as how to make background white, add grain, and more in Photoshop.

Reasons to Add a Photoshopped White Background

There are several reasons you might need to know how to make background white in Photoshop. See a few of those reasons below.

Remove distractions

Removing distractions from your images helps create a more powerful image and makes your clients look their best. Plus, it helps place focus on them (and they are the most important part of the image!).

Fix color issues

In your past shoots, you have likely encountered a white background. You photographed your clients in front of it and then when you viewed the image, you noticed the image was just not right. Why? There are a few reasons:

  • The white background no longer looks white
  • Your subject (clients) are too bright

Both of these scenarios cause unwanted issues in your image or takes away from the impact of the image. Here are the steps to help you add a white background to your image in Photoshop.

Related: Can you relate to these professional photographer’s edit stories?

How to Create a White Background

Creating a white background is simple in Photoshop, and we’ve outlined the process in 8 simple steps. Unlike removing a white background in Photoshop, which is difficult, adding one is pretty simple.  Here is the process for creating a white Photoshop background:

1. Open the Image

The first step is to have Photoshop make background white is to open the image. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Click “File,” then select “Open” on the top menu.
  2. Select the image file. Your image will appear on the screen ready for you to make adjustments as needed.

2. Duplicate the Layer

The next step is to duplicate the layer. To achieve this, take these steps:

  1. Open the “Layers” window.
  2. Drag the layer to the “New” button on the “Layers” panel to make a duplicate.
  3. Rename the layer based on your current naming convention.

Related: How to Fix Hair in Photoshop

3. Create the White Background

With the new layer, begin the process to create a white background by following these steps:

  1. Click “Image” on the top menu, hover over “Adjustments,” and select “Levels.” This will open the “Levels” menu.
  2. Adjust the sliders in the “Levels” menu until the image is pure white. Pull the white slider and the grey slider to the left to create a “pure white” look and to lighten the midtones.
choosing layers in photoshop

Image by Image Studio Photography

Quick Tip

As you adjust the sliders, you can include faint shadows to create a better look for the edges.

Related: How to Make a Logo Transparent in Photoshop

4. Duplicate the Original Image

The next step is to duplicate the original image for the second time. Here are the steps again:

  1. Open the “Layers” window.
  2. Drag the layer to the “New” button on the “Layers” panel to make a duplicate.
  3. Rename the layer based on your current naming convention. Be sure to name it something different than the first duplicate layer.

5. Add a “Layer Mask”

With the first layer (the one that you adjusted the sliders to make pure white), add a “Layer Mask.” Follow these steps:

  1. Select the first layer.
  2. Click the “Add Layer Mask” button on the “Layers” panel. The new layer mask will sit to the right of the first layer.

Related: Do you know how to add texture to your images in Photoshop?


Jared Platt's Lightroom Tips

6. Select the “Hard Round” Brush

After you create a “Layer Mask” for the first layer, the next step is to select the “Hard Round” brush by using these guidelines:

  1. Click on the “Brush Tool” on the tools panel. You can also press “B” on your keyboard.
  2. Select the “Hard Round” brush style and set its “Opacity” to 100%.

7. Change the Brush Color

Now that you have selected the “Hard Round” brush, change its color with these steps:

  1. Click the “Layer Mask” by clicking inside the white square that is located directly to the right of the first layer.
  2. Change the brush color to “Black.”

Related: How to Use the Liquify Tool in Photoshop

8. Paint Out the Background

With the brush style and color chosen, paint over the background. Follow these steps to achieve this:

  1. Paint out the background around your clients. This step requires precision. As you paint, you will see the area lighten while everything else stays dark.
  2. Build up the “Black” on the “Layer Mask” by releasing it and then clicking it again. This will allow you to build up darkness and brightness only where it is necessary.

This action tells Photoshop the parts of the image to use. The parts in the “White” portion of the mask tell which parts of the top image to use. The parts in the “Black” portion of the mask tell which parts to make transparent.

Once you are all set with the brush, save your progress. This should result in a “pure white” background for your image.

Quick Tip

Press “X” on your keyboard to switch from “Black” to “White” (and vice-versa). This is helpful if you make a mistake and need to paint over the area.

Related: How to Reduce Noise in Photoshop

When you learn how to add a white background in Photoshop, you can create the images you desire and deliver them to your wedding clients. Though certain parts of this process can be tedious, the more you practice, the easier it will become.

Post production software, such as Photoshop and Lightroom, can help you organize your post-wedding workflow. When used correctly, the software can help you speed up the time it takes to adjust your images.

And while we are talking about Lightroom, we have the perfect resource to best use the software to create a fast and efficient workflow. In our Online Training: Advanced Lightroom Skillsets, we connected with expert, Jared Platt, to discover his insights on how to create a streamlined workflow that keeps you on track with your goals! Click the banner below to watch or listen to the Online Training and learn more.

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