There can be any number of reasons you might need a background color while working in Adobe Photoshop. One such reason I can think of off the top of my head is to create a border around a photograph. Let’s say I’ve got an image of a flower that I’d like to reduce in size so a black border of about an inch appears around the photo. How can I add the color to the border itself? Well, there are a few methods for completing this task and I’ll explain how to go about getting this done below.
First off, here’s the sample image I’ll be working with today.
Okay, I’ve got this flower photo opened up in its own tab in Photoshop. The first way to add color to a background is to create the background itself. To do that, I’ll need to add a new layer in the Layers panel and then make sure that empty layer is at the bottom stack. To do this, I’ll click the Create New Layer button that’s located at the bottom of the Layers panel and then, when the layer appears, I’ll drag it under the flower layer.
Next, I’ll use the Free Transform Tool (Ctrl+T) to reduce the photo size. Then, I’ll align the image so it sits perfectly in the center of the canvas. To align, I’ll select the entire canvas with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (with the image layer highlighted) and then click on the Move Tool. In the options bar up top, some alignment buttons will appear. I’ll click Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers buttons. That should do it. I’ll deselect by going to the Select > Deselect menu item and clicking.
Finally, I’ll click on the empty layer in the Layers panel, move back over to the left and choose the Paint Bucket Tool, choose a color in the color picker and then pour the paint into the empty layer. It’s that easy. The only problem with this method is that if I want to change the color, I’ll need to pour a new one in the layer. This is a limited method.
A more versatile method for adding a background color to a file in Photoshop is to take advantage of the Solid Color feature. For this example, I’ll open up a new flower photo. Then, I’ll immediately go to the bottom of the Layers panel and click the Create a New Fill or Adjustment Layer button. Next, I’ll click the Solid Color option.
Doing this will add a new layer that looks a bit strange to the Layers panel. It’ll also open the Color Picker so I can choose my color. I’ll do that and then click and drag that layer to the bottom of the stack so it’s in the background. Then, I’ll reduce the size of the flower layer again and align it as well.
The benefit us using this method is that it comes with a ton more options for future editing. If I want to change the color, I can double-click on the box in the layer and the Color Picker will open back up. I can also take advantage of the fact that this new layer comes with a layer mask installed. So if I would like to adjust that, I can. Take a look. I masked away some of the black.
So, if you would like to add a background color to a file in Photoshop, you now know how to do that. Let me know if you have any questions and thanks for reading!