How do you remove the background from a product photo?

I'm trying to find a faster and cleaner way to remove the background from my product photos. I shoot on a white background but because the product is a clear glass bottle, its hard to make a quick selection without deleting parts the product itself.

What I currently do is use the Select Color Range tool for the background and then use the Polygonal Lasso tool to remove parts of the bottle from the selection.

This usually comes out pretty sloppy and imperfect. If anybody has any tricks to share that would be awesome! Below is the image I'm starting with today and I want to experiment on this one

Soda Pop Shop

6 Answers 6


Take two photos. One with lights on only for the white background and one with the product also illuminated. It's much easier to find the border of the black silhouette. Put those 2 photos into the same Photoshop image as layers and use the silhouette for selections.

The silhouette must often be manually enhanced by adding contrast and painting more black onto it. But that's still much faster than creating high quality clipping paths.

You must have a rock solid camera stand to prevent shifting between the takes. Preferably use the timer for the shots. Low cost led panel behind the object is an easy and uniform white background. White backdround under the oject is needed, too if non-horizontal views are wanted. If only one panel is available, then you can try highly white paper or even a mirror, but they definitely increase the need of precise cutting by hand.

A couple of heavily diffused flashes are a good front light. I have photographed hundreds of products this way.

Maybe you also like to do something to the bottles. They seem to be filled with milk if they will be placed onto a non-white background. This subject is discussed here:

How can I remove background from an image of a transparent object?

ADDENDUM: I copied one bottle out from your photo and put it back into the frontline after doing some enhancing for everything. Light and contrast were added, more of them to cap and label. The transparency is taken into the account, too.

one bottle doubled into the frontline

Altough your photo is well underexposed and noisy, you definitely have succeeded to keep your light uniform - very closely like in a light box. Also all disturbing gloss is absent. These things are good for easy cutting and adjusting.

Noise is bad - worse still, if you must use highly compressed JPG photos, because noise is a complex pattern which worsens JPG compression artifacts, which even without any noise can make edges too trashy for easy cutting. Simply: avoid underexposing, high ISO values and tight JPG compression.

It was acceptably easy to select the bottle by using the Quick selection tool - thanks for uniform light. The trick is to select a bottle and copy it to another layer. Selecting the background for deleting was much more difficult.

The Quick selection tool is quite clever. It learned when an exessive selection was taken back by using the tool in subtractive mode (=holding Alt) or missing part of selection was added by holding Shift. Finally only some corners and the mirror image at the bottom needed the Polygonal Lasso for shaving.

Sometimes none of the easy selection tools (=Magic Wand, Quick selection tool, select color range) is not enough because there simply is not enough contrast nor color difference. Then it's worth of gold to be able to draw a clipping path with the Pen tool, A beginner easily struggles hours until he gains any control over the Pen, but in the long run it really is worth of the effort. Curved borders are made much faster and more accurately than with lassos.


In product photos nothing can be left to look out dirty or used or not well standing at straight position.

Different viewing angles could be more interesting and expressive. But the customer must like them, too.

  • 1
    to expand on this: you increase the space between the foreground and background, and you use screens to help separate the lights, and then you light them both separately, setting the backdrop lights 1 or 2 f-stops brighter so that a perfect exposure of the foreground render the background overexposed. If there is sufficient distance, this allows you to take a mask shot and avoids light bleed on the edges of the subject. The transparency is definitely a problem to be solved, but it perhaps a mask applied to the back of the bottle would help.
    – Yorik
    Dec 29, 2016 at 16:05
  • Overexposing the background definitely makes it flat white, but it has drawbacks, too. Unwanted glows and flares become more apparent and fine fluffy or hairy details at the objects edge tend to be shaved out more easily.
    – user82991
    Dec 29, 2016 at 22:56

Open the image in Photoshop and then use adjustment layers to increase the contrast. I first used a B&W layer, and chose the Maximum Black preset. Then I opened added a Levels layer, and played with the settings so that the contrast between dark and light areas seemed maximized. You can also experiment with the other adjustment layers to see if any of them improve Photoshop's ability to differentiate between bottles and background.

Now go into the image and use the quick select tool. From there, you can either use "Select and Mask" or the standard selection tools to ensure that everything is selected as you would like it to be. If you used the mask option, make sure to output to selection. When you are happy with your final selection, save it by going to the Select menu and choosing "Save Selection."

Because you used selection layers (which are non-destructive), once you have achieved the selection you want, you can delete the selection layers and your image will be back to normal. You can then load the selection ("Select" menu and "Load Selection") and delete the background.

I think that should work fairly well for you. Let me know if you need more detailed instructions.


I would use a different approach.

The image is underexposed and the contrast is flat/lacking. These can be boosted in Adobe Camera RAW, if you convert the layer for Smart Filters, then apply ACR as a filter. Then all you might need to do is apply a layer mask to remove some of the remaining off white areas. Nothing as complex as selections is required. Here's the result.

Example of Retouch

This is all the masking I did, after using ACR.

Masking in Photoshop


Use the polygonal Lasso Tool to select the objects and then copy the selected area and paste it. Repeat this process for each object. After that you can use the eraser tool to adjust the objects more precisely.


You could try using an automated tool like Pro Product Pix.

This tool and others of its kind are basically trying to guess the answer to the question: which pixels in this photo belong to product, and which pixels belong to the foreground. In the computer vision literature we call that a "foreground segmentation task", and it's a tricky problem for a machine to solve, if only because you need quite a bit context to understand what's a product, what's a see through hole Vs white pixels (think t-shirt with white background etc.)

So these tools guess a transparency mask, and overlay that mask on top of your picture - this transparency mask is called an "alpha map", and is basically like a 4th color that says whether (and how much) each pixel need to be transparent.

If the background removal tool did its job properly, you can just use the photo as-is. Otherwise, you can load it into a picture editing software like Photoshop), and further fine-tune the result

Full disclosure, I made this automated tool that I mentioned specifically for product picture background removal and I'm very proud of it! :-)

  • 2
    That's a fair point. Thanks for the feedback! I've edited the answer to further elaborate!
    – Uri Merhav
    Oct 14, 2018 at 4:16

Use the magic wind tool you got remove white background any others colors as well

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.