How to Remove Background in Canva Images & Photos

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If you’re a follower of this blog, and the Canva hacks in particular, you’re familiar with just that—that most of what I do here is find ways to “hack” or find a work around for something that doesn’t quite exist “out of the box.”

I’m talking about actions like how to outline text in Canva, or how to draw a curved line.

Today, though, when it comes to how to remove a background in addition to downloading with a transparent background in Canva, hacks be gone! Meaning, with Canva’s new background removal tool, deleting a background, and even creating an entirely new background for your photos has never been easier.


Then, of course, the actual downloading of and maintaining a transparent background just comes down to your method of download, really (meaning, this is easy as well).

(If I sound like an infomercial on this one, I’m sorry, but I really enjoy this particular feature. I will stop here and say, though, it’s only available to those who hold a Canva Pro membership. You can read more on whether or not I think a Canva Pro membership cost is worth it.)

Here’s why.

How to Remove Canva Background

1. Upload photo to Canva

The first step is to get your photo into Canva. Simply go to “uploads” at the top of your tools pane on the left side of the screen.

Here is my example (I really needed a new headshot without foliage, OK?)

2. Go to “effects”

From here, click the photo, which will bring up the option to go to “effects,” as shown below. When you click on “effects,” you’ll see the option for the “Background Remover.”

3. Click “Background Remover”

Last, click “Background Remover” and watch the magic happen! Seriously, that’s it. No need to highlight the areas you want to keep or remove. No need to do anything but click the button.

Here is the output from my example:

Importantly, if you aren’t adding your image to a background as described below, and simply downloading the background-less file, you’ll want to make sure you do so with a transparent background. And yes, downloading images with a transparent background in Canva is extremely easy as well.

Not Working?

Now, I think it’s a good time to mention that sometimes the background removal tool doesn’t work properly. It’s not that the tool doesn’t properly remove the background elements, but rather, if you click too fast after the background is removed, it might re-appear. I’ve also seen this happen if you try and copy and paste the background-less photo. 

Read More: How to Extend Photo Background in Canva (Without Photoshop)

One thing I’ve found that helps is to remove the background, and then click into “Effects” again.  I don’t know if this helps push things through, but when in “Effects” you’ll see a preview of your image. If the image has the background showing, wait a second until it reloads and disappears. 

Bonus: Add a Background

Now, you can crop and roll with the photo on the white background, or, you can spice things up just a bit and add an entirely new color, gradient, or image.

Really, the hardest thing at this point is deciding on what you want. Once you know, you click to add to the canvas, and then just re-size if necessary. Your photo is one layer, and the added background is the other layer, making for an easy foreground/background scenario.

So, you can go to space…

Or to the beach…

Or to a ballgame!

In the end, I settled for a gradient. Thus, it’s easy to change the background color of a photo once you’ve removed the background altogether.

Thoughts? Pretty easy, right? Have you encountered any issues with the Canva background remover?

Transparent Background in Canva

Now, in addition to removing backgrounds, transparency seems to be the other always-present, never-ending thorn in the sides of anyone trying to do graphic design without Photoshop, am I right?

You work and work, tweak, work some more and think you’ve finally created the perfect image, let’s say a logo in this case, and when you go to use it, boom, you’re white-boxed:

Yes, this even happens in something as foolproof as Canva. But, in true Canva fashion, there is also a better, much easier way. With that said, the much easier way is only available with the Canva Pro Membership.

Yes, you have to pay for it, but I’ve literally just written blog after blog after blog where I find myself saying, this isn’t free, but is one thing that makes Canva Pro totally worth it.

How to Make Transparent Background in Canva

To make a transparent background in Canva, go to “Download” and select “PNG.” Then, check the box for “Transparent background” and then click “Download.” 

Here are the detailed instructions.

1. Go to “Download” Your Image

Go to the top right of the screen as if you’re wanting to download your image and click the “download” button.

2. Select “PNG” from the Options

Probably the most important thing to keep in mind in Canva and other design endeavors. If you want a transparent background, you need to make sure to select to download the image as a PNG.

3. Click “Transparent background”

Doesn’t get much easier than this, right? Canva knows what you want and is making it way too easy for you to grab it.

4. Click “Download” Again

Once you’re all set, all that’s left to do is actually download the image by clicking the “download” button one last time.

And that’s it! Now, with your downloaded output, you should have a nice, crisp, image with a transparent background that you are able to use to your heart’s content…which basically means to use on top of any background you wish without having to worry about that white box border!

Thoughts or issues with this? Please feel free to comment and I’ll try to assist!

Alternatively, you can always pay $5 or so for someone on Fiverr to do this for you. I’ve definitely swallowed my pride a few times and just hired a freelancer on Fiverr for quick turnaround, and often receiving something better than I could have done myself.

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