How to Remove Background from Images Without Photoshop

Last Updated: May 10, 2016

Whether it’s photos taken to commemorate special events, or random selfies shared on social networks, or anything else, Digital images are probably (one of) the most common type of files that we work with on a regular basis. That being said, there are times when we capture a perfect photo, only to have it ruined (or photobombed) by a not so perfect background. Bet that has happened quite a times with you, hasn’t it?

Now, if you have a professional grade image editing software (read: Photoshop), it’s easy to remove background from images. But not everyone wants to shell out cash for (and learn using) a full-blown image editor application, for something as simple as the occasional background removal.

Thing is, you don’t have to, as there are many online tools (and even mobile apps) that can help you do the same, the easy way. Sounds like something you can use? Read on to find out how you can remove background from images, sans Photoshop.

Online Tools to remove background from photos:

1. Background Burner

Background Burner is ridiculously easy to use yet extremely powerful online tool that makes removing background from images a trivial affair. In fact, you don’t even have to do anything, as it does pretty much all the heavy lifting itself. Here’s how to use it:

Note: You need to create a free account to download the images edited with Background Burner. Doing so also saves all the processed images to your account (unless you delete them manually).

Step 1: Head over to Background Burner’s website, and upload (or drag-n-drop) the photo to be edited.

Step 2: Wait a little as Background Burner starts working on the photo, removing the background in real-time. Once finished, it outputs multiple copies of the processed image, and you can select the best looking one to be saved (in PNG/JPG formats). You can even add one of the many available backgrounds (or use your own) to the processed image.

backround burner

(Optional) Step 3: If there are some parts of the background still left in the image that you’d like to manually remove, you can do so via the “Touch up” button. This loads up the equally easy to use online editor. Just define the part of the image to be retained with the foreground tool, and the part to be removed with the background tool, and the changes will be made in real-time. When done, download the image. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a before and after comparison:

background burner output

Now that’s pretty amazing, if I say so myself. And if you want more functionality (such as automated batch processing), you can use the professional version of Background Burner, geared more towards businesses and eCommerce merchants. The paid plans start from $9.95 per month (Find out more here).

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2. Clipping Magic

One of the most popular online tools for removing backgrounds from digital images, Clipping Magic packs in some serious mojo, especially for an online tool. And it’s so simple to use, it’s almost unreal. Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Upload the image to be edited (you can also specify the URLs of images hosted online), and it’ll load up in Clipping Magic’s online editor.

Step 2: Now, indicatively mark the subject to be retained in image with the Foreground Brush (with the Green “+” icon) tool, and the background to be removed with the Background Brush (with the Red “” icon). As soon as you do that, Clipping Magic will get rid of the background in a way that, true to its name, can only be described as Magic. Here’s a screenshot, illustrating the action:

clipping magic

Not only that, Clipping Magic also includes tools that let you further refine the foreground subject’s edges, crop the image, add drop shadows, and then some more. However, all of this doesn’t come for free, and if you want to download the edited images, you need to subscribe to one of the paid plans, which start at $3.99 per month.

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Mobile Apps for removing background from images:

If your choice of device is a mobile/tablet then below mentioned apps will work just fine, but keep in mind that the quality of output provided by online tools will be far more superior than mobile apps.

Background Eraser (iOS)

background eraser

Background Eraser offers a simple and quick way of removing background from the images saved on your iPhone’s camera roll. All you have to do is load up the image to be edited, and use the Erase tool to delete the background behind the foreground subject. There are also other built-in tools (e.g. TargetColor) for a much granular editing. There are even some really nice backgrounds that you can apply to the processed images, and they can be unlocked by completing simple in-app actions (e.g. rating the app on the App Store, following on Twitter).

That said, Background Eraser can’t effectively remove complicated backgrounds from images, and you’d be better off using advanced tools (such as the previously discussed Background Burner and Clipping Magic) for the same. The ad-supported app is free, but you can pay $1.99 to get rid of them.


Tip for Android Users: If your aim is to not remove the entire background from images, but get rid of specific objects (and people) in the image background, you can check out CyberLink PhotoDirector app. The app’s “Removal” tool makes quick work of removing objects from image backgrounds.

SEE ALSO: 8 Best Reverse Image Search Engines (2016)

Remove backgrounds from images the easy way

Quite a lot of our images end up being useless, all due to unwanted backgrounds. But as seen above, there are online tools and apps available that you can use to rid your favorite photos of those nasty photobombs. And it’s not only super easy, but doesn’t involve shelling out (too much) moolah for a copy of Photoshop either. So try the above, and shout out your thoughts about them in the comments below.


From Automotive Design to Cosmology, and from World Music/Movies to Psychoanalysis, Rajat has a lot to call his avocations. A self-professed grammar Nazi, he's an atheist who believes science has/will ultimately have answers to everything, and that everyone should question their very existence, if they don't know their purpose in life. Oh, and he's also quite an aficionado of gadgets and tech, but you already know that, don't you?