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Free Professional Photo Background

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 9/22/2010

Need a new background for your photo that looks great? Here are some tips on how to find a free professional photo background for your images.

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    Using a Matte

    If you are not happy with the background of your photo and want to change it, you will need something to replace it. There are free professional photo backgrounds available online that you can use.

    Before you can even start adding your new background, you first need to remove the existing background of your image. There are several ways that you can do this depending on the photo editing software program that you use. If you have yet to take the photo and already intend to replace the background, you should start with a green, blue or orange screen (matte). This is a way to take photos without any clutter.

    But, there are some things to consider when selecting a matte. The color of the matte should contrast with your foreground image, but it needs to pick up the colors from your new background. So, before you begin shooting, you should start looking for your new background to make sure that it matches the color of your matte.

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    Editing Out Your Background

    While this will work if you are taking a new photo, you may need to remove the backgrounds from existing photos. You can do this in programs like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, but these programs do cost money to purchase. There are, however, some free photo editors and websites that allow you to do this, including FotoFlexer.

    With all these programs, you will create a cutting path around your image to remove the background. This will effectively make your foreground subject an independent image, which you can now place on anything that you want.

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    Finding Your New Background

    There are a number of free photo sites where you can manipulate the photo to your liking. For example, if you search Flickr using the Creative Commons License options, you may find one that you can change based on your needs.

    There are also some free stock photo sites online where you can use the same principle as the Flickr photos. is one of these sites, and it allows you to search photos based on categories. You simply need to agree to the terms to use the photos, and then you can download them. You can either remove sections of the current image, or use the entire image as the background.

    Other images make great backgrounds since they have the same feel and look as your photo. And, if you don’t have a photo that you can use as a background, there are plenty of sites with free photos that you can use.

    One thing that you should avoid is template websites. While these are free and do provide you with a background for your image, they are not very professional. They are often very generic and sophomoric. They will not show off your picture in the proper light.

    Also, when looking for a free professional background, you should avoid clipart. These have a cartoonish look. Only use these if you want that type of effect.