Change Background Color in Lightroom

The ability to change background color in Lightroom is a really helpful feature that is often overlooked. In this Lightroom Tutorial, I’ll show you how to customize the background color in Lightroom and talk about why you would want to do this in the first place.

How to Change Background Color in Lightroom

Customizing the background color in Lightroom is really easy. Just right-click anywhere on the blank background area that surrounds your photo. A pop-up menu will give you several options. You can change the background color to White, Light Gray, Medium Gray, Dark Gray, Darker Gray or Black.

Change Background Color in Lightroom

Which Background Color in Lightroom is Best?

Being able to change background color in Lightroom is actually a pretty useful feature. Many pro photographers swear by using a black background color in Lightroom. Adobe Lightroom uses a Medium Gray background color by default. Then you also have the choice of using white, light gray, dark gray or darker gray. So, which is the best one to use? The answer is .. probably all of them. It really depends on what you’re doing and the lighting in your work area.

I typically edit in a dimly lit space and use the darker backgrounds because it allows me to judge colors faster and more accurately. Professional photo labs often make employees in their color calibration departments work inside blacked out rooms for this same purpose.

Should I Change Background Color in Lightroom to White?

There are situations where a dark background is not the best choice. I use the white background color in Lightroom when working on high key images shot on white. If you don’t shoot against white backgrounds often then you’ll probably have little use for it. However, when you do shoot against white, this background color in Lightroom becomes the color of choice. Look at the image below.

Change Background Color in Lightroom

This photo of cookies looks like it’s fully edited and ready for publishing. However, when working against a gray or black background it is more difficult to notice flaws on a high key white image. When I change the background color in Lightroom to white I can see that the edges of the frame actually contain gray shadows. Working with a white image on a white background is the best option.

Change Background Color in Lightroom

One of the biggest mistakes I see photographers make when shooting on white is that they overlook the edges when editing. Next time you shoot on white, try switching to a white background before you post your finished image online. You might realize that you’ve still got some work to do.