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Editing images on Lightroom

Lightroom is a comprehensive photo editing and image management software. It allows photographers to complete their photography workflow such as importing, processing, and exporting images. But how much is Lightroom? Is it worth the price? Although Lig ...



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How to Change a Background Color in Lightroom

Published: 17/07/2021

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Lightroom Classic has been helping designers and photographers create amazing effects for a decade. One of the best features of Lightroom is that it allows you to change the color of individual objects without affecting the others. Here, we will be learning how to change a background color in Lightroom so that you can create unique effects on your images.

How to Change a Background Color in Lightroom

The background is the most crucial part of an image. It sets the overall mood of your image, determines how your image looks and defines the clarity of the objects. Sometimes, the background of your image may not be in accordance with how you want your image to look.

Thankfully, Lightroom offers multiple methods of changing background colors. With only a few straightforward steps, you can easily transform the look of any image and change its color to any shade you want. These tools not only help you enhance the look of your image but also help you create unique effects.

Changing the Background Color in Lightroom

In this tutorial, we will be elaborating on two of the most effective and easy-to-use methods for changing background colors in Lightroom. You should know that these tools do not only help you change the color of your background, but they can also change the color of any object you want within your photo.

So, let’s look at the two methods that can help you change the background colors on your images in Lightroom with ease.

Changing the Background Color Using the Adjustment Brush Tool

This is the best method of changing the color of image backgrounds or any other objects on your image. It helps you change the color of only those areas that you want with precision and accuracy. Moreover, when you use this tool for color changing, all your other areas remain unaffected.

In order to use the adjustment brush tool in Lightroom to change background color, follow the steps below:

  1. The first step is to import your desired images into Lightroom. If your image does not already exist on your Lightroom catalog, then you will have to import that one photo. To do that, you can use any one of the methods below:
  • Navigate to the menu bar present on the top of your Lightroom screen. Then, go to File > Import Photos and Videos. You will then see another window. Find the images you need, select them, and then click on the ‘Import’ button at the bottom of the window.
  • Press the keys CTRL + Shift + I to open the same window.
  • You can also click on the ‘Import’ button present on the bottom left of your Lightroom workspace to go to the same window.
  1. Once your images are imported into the Lightroom application, they are now ready to be used. The first thing to do when editing your images is to switch to the ‘Develop Module.’ Whenever you open an image in Lightroom, it automatically opens up in the ‘Library Module. It is best that you go to the develop module as it has an amazing workspace and tools for image editing.
  2. The editing procedure actually starts once you enter into the develop module. 
  3. Now, select the adjustments brush tool from the editing panel toolbar. The icon for the adjustment brush tool looks like a makeup brush and is present at the top of your image editing tools.
Adjustments brush tool from the editing panel toolbar
  1. After selecting the adjustment tool brush, you have to ensure that none of the editing sliders are moved from their default positions. To ensure this, hold down the ALT key. This will “Reset’ all your previous adjustments on the image. Alternatively, you can also click on the ‘Reset’ button present at the bottom of your image editing panel.
  2. You can also alter the size and effects of the adjustment brush tool by changing all that in the editing panel. After selecting the brush slide as per your requirements, you should then make sure that the ‘Auto Mask’ checkbox is activated.
Lightroom ‘Auto Mask’ checkbox activated
  1. Now, start painting over the background of your image with the adjustment brush tool in your hands. As you do that, you will notice a bright-red overlay all over the background. This red overlay is to distinguish between the background that you want to change and the other parts of your image.
Bright-red overlay all over the background in Lightroom
  1. Once you have painted over the background, you will begin with the color changing procedure. Firstly, you have to deactivate the overlay by pressing the key ‘O’ on your keyboard. Plus, decrease the Saturation of your image all the way to the value of negative 100.
  2. Decreasing the saturation value will help you see if there are still any parts of the images that have been left out from being painted over. You can then paint them over until the whole background turns into a gray color.
  3. At this instant, the background of your image has no color in it. Instead, it has lost all its existing color and is now just of a plain gray color. So, at this point, you will be adding color to the background, which can be any color you want from the color spectrum.
  4. Go to the ‘Color’ section on the editing panel. Click on the swatch present over there, and select any color as per your requirements and choice. We are choosing blue color as you can see in the image below:
Color section on the Lightroom editing panel
  1. Once you have added the color to your background, you can easily adjust how it looks using the various sliders available. These sliders include the luminosity sliders, which are the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, and Blacks. These sliders will let you decide the appearance of your newly added color.

Changing the Background Color Using the HSL Panel

Another method of changing background colors in Lightroom is by using the HSL panel. This method is used by the majority of people as it is very easy to use and produces quick results. This method is particularly useful for those images that have a single object placed against a solid background.

Let’s look at the steps to follow:

  1. The initial steps of this method remain the same as the previous one. Firstly, import your required images, and then go to the develop module.
  2. Once your image is loaded up in the develop module, then hover your cursor over to the edit module on the right side of your Lightroom interface. 
  3. In this edit module, click on the HSL/Color panel.
  4. From this panel, open the ‘Hue’ tab. You will then see multiple sliders, where each one represents a different color.
Changing the background color using the HSL Panel
  1. Pick the slider that shows the color of the background of your image, and move it forward or backward.
  2. You will then see that only your background color changes while the other parts of the image remain the same.


Changing the background color of your image in Lightroom is very easy, but produces amazing results. Learning this technique will take your image editing skills to a whole new level. Hence, learning and making these methods a regular part of your Lightroom workflow is totally worth it.

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