What software to replace background


Mu-43 Veteran
Aug 26, 2013
Real Name
Theo K.
I wonder what photo labs use to replace background in portraits automatically. I need half hour in Photoshop to replace background and don't do a good job. There must exist software to do this automatically in batches. My children's school picture packages have option to select a number of backgrounds for any portrait.


Mu-43 Legend
Sep 7, 2013
Christchurch, New Zealand
It's easier with a solid, odd colour background (e.g. pink, green, blue), light the background so it's of an even exposure, no shadow. In Photoshop use colour mask to do the main replacement, and if you need to, manually subtract from the mask anything that ends up being the same colour on the person. The setup takes longer but the post processing should only take a minute or two at most. If you can guarantee that the person will not have anything of the same colour as the background on them, it's even easier as you don't need to fix anything up after the colour mask.


Mu-43 Veteran
Jan 15, 2014
For removing green screen backgrounds, I've used Primatte Chromakey and FXhome PhotoKey. They're expensive, and both are good, but I thought Photokey was easier. For removing complex backgrounds, Topaz Remask seems to get the best reviews lately, but it takes a lot of touchup to make it look good.


Mu-43 Top Veteran
Jun 26, 2010
Key West FL
It's easier with a solid, odd colour background (e.g. pink, green, blue), light the background so it's of an even exposure, no shadow. ...

... also make certain that no light reflecting off of the background illuminates the edges of the subject. Any color tinge from the background will cause errors in any auto-masking and if you manually correct the errors the color tinge will be visible in the final image and look odd. There will be no "source" for it in the final composite and you brain will raise it "fake image" red flag. You also want to light the subject such that the direction of the dominant light and its harshness/softness are similar to that in the new replacement background. A mis-match in lighting will also trigger the "fake" response in the viewer's brain.
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