How to Remove Picture Background in Canva

How to Remove Picture Background in Canva


Canva is a web-based graphic design platform that makes it easy to create social media graphics, but it’s also a good tool for doing some of your personal photo editing. One function Canva Pro offers is the ability to remove non-dominant images from photos with a single click and export them with a transparent background. This makes it easy to clip out non-relevant images from the background of your photos and export a version with a transparent background that can easily be plugged in elsewhere. The only caveat is that I’ll only walk through how to remove a photo background in Canva using a desktop web browser. This functionality doesn’t appear to be available in the Android mobile app, and while it does appear to be available in the mobile app for iPhone and iPad, I couldn’t get it to work.

Some of the images associated with the steps are included inline below. All images associated with these steps can be seen in the embedded YouTube video. Also, please note that you’re not able to leave a comment directly on this article. If you have a question or feedback, please leave it on the YouTube video.

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Steps to Remove Picture Background in Canva

  1. Open a web browser, navigate to, and then log into your account. You’ll land on your Canva home screen. As a reminder, you’ll need to subscribe to Canva Pro to remove the background from your picture.
  2. Click “Create a Design” to open a menu, and then click “Start with an Image.” The Open dialog box is shown.
  1. Navigate to the photo you want to remove the background from, and then click to open it. A preview of your uploaded image is displayed. Click “Edit Image” in this preview. The image editor will open, displaying your selected image. In this example I’ll choose the image of Bernie Sanders with his mittens at the presidential inauguration.
  1. Click to select the picture you want to remove the background from to display a menu directly above it.
  2. Click “Effects” in this menu. Another menu is shown along the left side of the screen. Choose “Background Remover” in this menu. The image background will be removed. All non-dominant images are removed from the background and replaced with white.
  1. If you still have some items in your image you don’t want, click “Erase” in the menu along the left side of the screen. Your mouse pointer will be changed to a circle eraser. Use the eraser to remove any additional picture elements you don’t want in your final image. In this example I’ll remove the person by Bernie walking with her dog.
  1. Click “Done” when you’re finished to see a preview of your image.
  1. When you’re ready to export your image, click “Download” at the top of the screen to display a menu.

In this example I want my file transparent because I want to create memes with Bernie sitting in random places that look like he blends in, so I’ll choose a PNG file type because that will allow me to generate a transparent background, and then I’ll click to place a check mark next to “Transparent Background.”

Depending on what you want to do with your image, you can export this image as a JPG, SVG, or GIF as well. Click “Download” when you’re finished to download your finished file.

Reasons to Remove a Picture Background in Canva

1. Highlighting the Subject

Removing an image’s background helps accentuate the subject. It draws the viewer’s eye directly to the main element, eliminating potential distractions. This technique is especially useful in advertising, where the goal is to make a product or person stand out. By removing the background, the viewer’s attention is focused on the subject, promoting better visual communication and understanding. This approach can make the design more impactful and memorable.

2. Creating Composite Images

In graphic design, merging multiple images is common. With background-free images, designers can seamlessly incorporate various elements into a single composition. The absence of a background simplifies blending, providing a cohesive look to the final design. It allows creative freedom, enabling designers to conceptualize and realize multi-image designs. It helps in creating everything from simple collages to complex graphic pieces, enhancing the depth and complexity of the artwork.

3. Branding Consistency

Every brand has its visual identity, defined by specific colors, styles, and aesthetics. Removing a picture’s background ensures that the image aligns with the brand’s visual guidelines. This step is crucial for maintaining brand consistency across all media. Without a background, the image can seamlessly blend with the brand’s design palette, enhancing brand recognition and creating a harmonious visual experience.

4. Preparing for Printing

Printing an image can sometimes yield unexpected results, particularly when dealing with intricate backgrounds. Removing the background simplifies the print process and ensures consistency between the digital and printed versions. A picture without a background prints cleanly on various surfaces, whether it’s paper, fabric, or promotional merchandise. This approach helps avoid printing issues and ensures a high-quality result.

5. Increasing Legibility

Text overlay is a common design practice. Removing a picture’s background increases the legibility of overlaid text or graphic elements. A clean, clutter-free background provides a better contrast, making text more readable. This is particularly important for designs containing essential information, such as infographics, posters, or social media graphics, where clear communication is key.

6. Creating Transparent Logos or Images

Transparent logos or images are versatile design assets. With their background removed, they can be used over various backgrounds without disrupting the overall aesthetic. Transparent images offer greater flexibility for designers, allowing them to use the same asset in multiple designs. They are essential for businesses, as they help maintain logo integrity across different platforms and mediums.

7. Design Flexibility

An image’s background might not always complement the overall design. Removing it provides greater design flexibility. Designers can easily modify the image, experiment with different backgrounds, or incorporate it into a variety of layouts. This flexibility is crucial for creating visually pleasing designs, as it allows designers to adapt and optimize the image based on the project’s requirements.

8. Improving Professional Appeal

Images without backgrounds often appear more professional and polished. They convey a sense of purpose and meticulousness, suggesting that thought and effort have been put into the design. This attention to detail can elevate a company’s reputation, portraying it as professional, competent, and focused on quality.

9. Matching the Website’s Background

When designing for a website, the image should blend seamlessly with the site’s background. Removing the image’s background accomplishes this. The resulting transparent image can adapt to different website backgrounds, ensuring a seamless and visually cohesive user experience. It’s a common practice in web design, contributing to a clean, clutter-free, and professional website aesthetic.

10. Creating Product Mockups

When showcasing a product, designers often use mockups. With the product’s background removed, it can be placed in various settings. This helps potential customers visualize the product in different environments. Such contextual representations can boost the product’s appeal, making it more relatable and desirable to the target audience.

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Max has nearly 20 years of experience working in IT across three different industries in project management and management capacities: publishing, telecommunications and healthcare. He holds the following degrees and certifications: BS Communications, MA Communications, MBA and Project Management Professional (PMP). His tutorial-focused YouTube channel earned more than 100,000 subscribers in its first four years, and currently has more than 160,000 subscribers, 110,000,000 video views and an insane 2.4 million hours of watch time. Max enjoys learning new technology, reading and collecting comic books, listening to audiobooks and playing video games.

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