How-To Create Digital Backgrounds Using Photoshop

Even through plain backgrounds are great for classic portraiture, they can get old pretty fast.

Seamless paper backgrounds, canvas, and vinyl printed backgrounds can add some variety to your background choices, but the costs can add up quickly.

Physical backgrounds can also take up a lot of space and take time to setup and break down, and can be frustrating to use (trust me; try getting the wrinkles out of a 10 x 20 canvas).

Personally, I want variety for my images, but I’m often forced to shoot minimally (against a plain background). And I usually don’t have a lot of extra hands to help me carry around and setup a bunch of backgrounds.

Cost is also a factor, and if you’re trying to be responsible about overhead, you look for ways to save were you can, and maximize on what you have.

My Solution: Digital Backgrounds

About a year ago, I decided to spend some time researching different solutions to the background problem.

I noticed digital background software was available but most seemed over-priced and lacked professional results. I figured photographers were turning to these products because they didn’t realize that you can create and replace backgrounds very easily with Photoshop, or similar photo editing software.

I also realized there are some problems associated with digital backgrounds:

  • There are tons of generic, over-used graphics out there on the web. These are often low-quality files which aren’t designed to be mixed/blended for creating custom digital backgrounds.  And there may be copyright issues to contend with if using something without permission.
  • There’s not a lot of good, simple instruction about how to create and use digital backgrounds.  There’s also a lack of easy-to-understand instruction regarding “replacing” the backgrounds in your images.  It should be easy enough to show someone how to “cut-out” a person from their original background so you can place them in front of a new background using just Photoshop.
  • Digital background “software” is unnecessary and often doesn’t work as well as basic techniques using the tools you already have.

I Designed My Own System

So, I went ahead and designed my own system for creating unlimited and unique digital backgrounds out of a basic set of files. I wanted to put together a very simple kit (with instructions) that allows anyone to do what I do. My goal was to make it easy to understand and use right away. The result: Ed Verosky’s Digital Background Kit.

Everything in the kit (all the graphics and artwork) was designed by me.  The files were created, and many of them specially shaded, to mix and blend for results that you can’t get with ordinary graphics files from other sources.  I encourage you to check it out after you watch the tutorial.

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how I use it (see the examples below, then watch the video). Now, here I’ll be using files from my Digital Background Kit but the techniques can be used with your own files, too. So watch it and dive in!

Digital Backgrounds

All of these backgrounds created with the techniques shown in the video.

 

VIEW THE VIDEO

 

Getting Started with Digital Backgrounds

Realizing that some people might want to get started right away, I’ve loaded the Digital Background Kit with over 100, ready-to-use, high-quality digital backgrounds. It also includes over 180 background design elements, so you can create thousands of unique backgrounds of your very own.

Like you’ve seen in the video tutorial above, you can photograph your subject on any plain background (even a white wall), and later drop in any number of digital backgrounds to see which one you like best.  I’m including everything you need to get started.

Here’s What’s Included:

– Ready-to-Use Backgrounds
– Solid Color backgrounds
– Base background graphics
– Transparent PNG graphics
– Vector graphics
– A “Quick-Start” guide
– Practice project files for use with the guide

The Digital Background Kit comes with lots of great backgrounds.  But the real power is not in the number of files, but in the quality and design of the kit.  Everything is made to be mixed-and-matched easily in Photoshop.  With just a few clicks, you can come up with tons of your own unique creative backgrounds.