Remove Background in Lightroom

Remove Background in Lightroom

To create high-end media materials, it’s necessary to use sophisticated software tools that allow for precise manipulation of raw images and their merging into designs for specific uses. While there is no shortage of such tools, graphic designers, content creators, and other visual artists generally agree that the most powerful image-processing apps are made by Adobe.

Everyone heard about Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, but far fewer people are aware of the existence of Lightroom, a powerful photo management application. Despite its unique qualities and valuable utility, this software remains popular only among creative professionals who process images for a living. As a result, even some basic actions such as background removal seem to be more complex than they really are.

This article will explain everything there is to know about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and guide you through the procedure of image background removal in this software suite.

Also read: How to Extend Background in Photoshop? >

What is Lightroom and What Is It Usually Used for?

The name of this software is a play on words referencing a ‘darkroom’, which used to be a central facility for developing negatives into photo prints. Similarly, Lightroom is an application that allows users to manipulate and change their photographs in very subtle ways and tweak them until they get the desired result. This software was initially launched in 2017 and is currently available for desktop (Windows, Mac) and mobile (Android, iOS) platforms. It is a part of the Creative Cloud package and is offered to customers under a subscription model.

What is Lightroom

What is Lightroom

The range of functionalities in Lightroom is very broad and diverse. It can be used for viewing and organizing photo collections in the cloud, thus saving time for the user and making content retrieval easier. It also provides excellent editing tools that allow the user to control virtually every element of the image down to pixel level. Lightroom can also create custom pre-sets that can be readily exported, providing a quick way to apply a certain look to any image. This software can also save images in a range of formats, helping to ensure they can be opened in a different photo viewing application. Thanks to these and other features, Lightroom is regarded as a necessary tool for photographers, designers, and anyone else that works with images on a regular basis.

Why Do You Need to Remove Background in Lightroom?

Image processing can entail different levels of modification, from gentle adjustment of colors and brightness to complete reorganization of the image content. Background removal is one operation that is conducted quite frequently in Lightroom, and there are plenty of reasons why you might want to so such a thing. Here are the most common situations in which removing the background from an image is the right course of action to take:

How to Remove Background in Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom has plenty of awesome image processing features, and it is suitable for removing background from an image in practically any format. The procedure is slightly different depending on which version of Lightroom you are using, but in general, doesn’t require too much time or effort. Here is how to remove the background in Lightroom with both methods.

With Lightroom Mobile

The mobile version of Lightroom is available for free download from the Apple Store and Google Play Store, but if you want to use it to remove or block out the background you will need to have a premium license. If you have the premium version of this app installed on your smartphone, it won’t be too hard to process the image in any way you like, including separating the objects in the front from the background. Here is what you need to do.

Step 1. Capture a new photo with your phone or upload an existing one

Step 2. Open the Lightroom app and find the Masking tool in the menu

Click the Masking Tool in Lightroom Mobile

Click the Masking Tool in Lightroom Mobile

Step 3. Change the exposure to a minimum if you want to remove a dark background, or a maximum if the background is white

Step 4. Resize the brushing tool and apply it, then copy the Radial Gradient onto the image

Step 5. After changing the entire background, save the file under a new name

With Adobe Photoshop/Express

In case you prefer to edit your images from a computer, you might be better served with the Photoshop Lightroom edition of this software. It gives you even more control over the final product, and it’s certainly more comfortable to work with images on a larger screen. However, a subscription and relatively advanced skill level are needed to successfully use this tool for the removal of image background and other visual tasks. Here is a short rundown of the necessary steps:

Step 1. Run Lightroom on your computer and open the image that needs to be edited

Step 2. Choose Develop from the top bar menu, then select the Adjustment Brush Tool

Click the Adjustment Brush Tool

Click the Adjustment Brush Tool

Step 3. Set up the parameters for the Brush tool (feather, exposition, etc.) that fit your idea

Step 4. Carefully apply the brush to all parts of the image that you want to remove

Step 5. Rename the altered image and save it locally on your computer

FAQs about Removing Background in Lightroom

Is Lightroom a better tool for removing background than Photoshop?

Both of these tools are manufactured by Adobe and they are considered to be complementary. Since Lightroom is primarily intended for fast processing of raw photographs, it may be a better choice when you only want to remove the background but otherwise don’t want to alter the image.

How much technical skill is needed to remove image background in Lightroom?

Aside for choosing the right parameters as described above, it’s necessary to apply the masking tool around the image subject very precisely. That’s why completely inexperienced users might spend a lot of time trying to remove the background correctly and should ask for professional help on important projects.

What to do if I want to insert a realistic-looking background instead of the current one?

The methods described above are suitable for replacing the current background with a monochrome layer. If you would prefer to have a different background (i.e. skies with clouds), you would need to crop the subject and merge it with another image rather than just remove the background.

Final Words

Lightroom is a great visual tool and taking some time to learn how to use it effectively is a great investment. You can use it to quickly remove the background from any image or perform a range of other tasks, even if you are a total beginner. Since Lightroom is available for desktop or mobile, it makes sense to learn the proper procedure for removing background in both versions. Once you figure out the right steps, all that’s left is to practice so that your edits are pixel-perfect and look just like you wanted them to. Needless to say, mastering this task will also prepare you for more ambitious design efforts in Lightroom, Photoshop, or any other software from the Adobe package.


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