Change background

Published on October 2, 2022

How do I change a background while preserving the shadows?

I’ll show you how to change your background color while preserving the original shadows in Adobe Photoshop!

Rather watch the video with instructions? Then click here or scroll down to the end of this page.

This method only works if your original photo has a solid colored background (preferably a light colored one). If you want to download the photo I used, click here.

Step 1: Change background

Open the photo you want to edit. Then create a solid color layer. Pick a background color and click OK.

add background

Step 2: Select subject

Select the background layer. Press CTRL+J to duplicate this layer. Then drag this new layer above the color fill layer.


Navigate to ‘Select > Subject‘. Photoshop will now select your subject.

If the subject isn’t selected correctly, use the quick selection tool to fix it. It’s important that your selection is neat.

Then add a layer mask. Your new background is now visible behind your subject, but the shadows aren’t. In the next step I’ll show you how to fix that.


Step 3: Bring the shadows back

Select the layer with the layer mask and press CTRL+J to duplicate this layer. Then select the mask of the top layer.

layer mask

Navigate to ‘Image > Adjustments > Invert‘ or press CTRL+I to invert the layer mask. The layer mask of the top layer should now be the opposite of the layer mask below it.

Change the blend mode of the top layer to multiply. You should now see the shadows!

blend mode

If you want to change the background color, double click on the thumbnail of the color fill layer. You can now change the background color and the shadows will be preserved.

And that’s how you change a background while keeping the original shadows in Adobe Photoshop!

change background

If you want to learn more about editing in Adobe Photoshop, check out my other blogs or take a look at my YouTube channel

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