Staff Writer at Digital Arts and Macworld. Ashleigh is also a book blogger, duck collector, Galaxy Defender and Potterhead (that’s a mad McFly and Harry Potter fan to you and me).

Removing the background from a photograph can be a really tricky task, particularly if the subject you want to cut out has lots of hair, or if the background is exceedingly complex. Here, we take you through the process of removing a background from an image using Photoshop to help you overcome that challenge.

See also: 86 Best Photoshop tutorials

First, you'll need to open the image you wish to remove the background from in Adobe Photoshop (you can get Photoshop here). Here, I'm using a photograph I took of a giraffe at Colchester Zoo to demonstrate this technique, which has a very defined boundary between the bit we want to keep (the giraffe) and the background. For images with fine detail around what you want to cut out – such as hair – see our tutorial on how to cut out hair in Photoshop.

I'm using Adobe CC, but the background removal technique detailed here will work in Photoshop CS5 and above, though some elements may look slightly different.

Once you've chosen the image you want to remove the background from and opened it in Photoshop, you can move on to the first step.

Time to complete

10 minutes

Software needed

Adobe Photoshop CS5 or later

Project Files

Click here to download this tutorial's project files

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