Visual editing: How to remove background from an image the easy way

I’m not a designer, but sometimes I need to design quick graphics for an ad, social media, blog posts and other channels. One thing that sometimes comes in handy is to know how to remove background from an image. For example, here’s a picture of myself recording a podcast. That works well for social but it doesn’t work well to use as part of cover art for my podcast, for example. It would work however if I could easily remove the background.

remove background original

Here’s how my podcast logos have evolved since I started the Business Storytelling Podcast in May 2019.

My first logo was simple and included a picture of myself from my then-recent talk at the Content Tech Summit in San Diego. As you can see the the background was there. I had no idea how to remove background at that time.

Book Christoph to speak at your virtual or regular conference here. 

Then more recently I decided it was time for a refresh. I came up with this for a few episodes:

Still, the background is there. And then I was working on some graphics in when I stumbled across how to easily remove background in an image. Much easier than how I did went about remove background 15 years ago. Then basically, I drew around the person and tried to accomplish my goal that way. Let’s dive in how to automate that process.


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Automatically remove background in an image

Here’s how to do that.

  • Upload the image to your Canva account. Click on Uploads in the left sidebar.
  • Then create a new design with that image. For example, for the podcast image I just created an Instagram post as those dimensions were roughly the same.
  • Click on the uploaded image to add it.
  • Click on Effects. If Effects isn’t showing up, click on the image.
  • Once you clicked on Effects you get the option called Background Remover.

remove background

Once you click the remove button Canva does its magic and the background gets removed. You can see the process in this live recording video of the podcast:

Once removed, the picture goes from its original version to the new version. To save it so it can be used with a transparent image, click:

  • Download
  • Save as PNG
  • Set to transparent

Here’s how that looks on the screen:

And the two images next to each other:

And then I simply added it to the podcast cover art:

It’s still not perfect. For example, my head is cut off, but that’s how the original was framed, so not much I can do there.

Read next: Trying to be perfect can kill storytelling

This is a nice feature and easy enough to use. It’s another example of how content production gets easier and easier.

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