Background Removal vs. Clipping path: What is the Difference?

When it comes to photo editing, most common types of commercial post production editing are clipping path and background removal. These are not just most common types of photoshop related services for commercial photography, you simply cannot imagine marketing a commercial product on an eCommerce platform without them. These labor-intensive high skill job became so demanding in the eCommerce marketplace that individual freelancers as well as many organized companies are taking advantage of this virtual job market offering their background removal service as well as clipping path service.

Background Removal vs. Clipping path

Both of them are essential photoshop editing process. However, there are some fundamental differences between them two.

In clipping path, a photoshop editor either clips an individual object or the entire product from an image. Just think of clipping a coupon out of a paper page. You clip along the dotted line to remove the coupon from the page. Just like the coupon clipping process, a dotted path is drawn on an object in the first step. These dotted lines can be a single line or multiple lines. Once the line or lines are drawn, this line then is clipped just like the coupon clipping process, only more sophistically. Photoshop process is used to clip or isolate the object within the dotted lines. This isolated item then is saved on a separate image file and renamed according to the project requirement.

Background removal on the other hand removing the background from an image. This can be a product image, model image, nature image, wedding photography, etc. Even though it is called background removal service, clipping path is used to isolate the actual product or object to isolate the object from its surrounding background. As you can see, it’s not actually removing the background to begin with, it removing the object from its background and saving as a new file without the background

Why Background Removal Service or Clipping Path Service is Useful

An average person using their point and shoot camera or cell phone taking some nature photography or vacation photography will not find the need for either clipping path or background removal service. On personal images, backgrounds are the most critical elements of the actual picture. A vacation photography would not look like a vacation photography without the nature or architecture in the background.

Commercial photography however is a different beast. With eCommerce photography, it is the actual object that is the center of the attention. Product owners want the customers to look at the actual product and not waste time looking at the background. Allowing potential buyers to look at the background takes the focus away and research shows that such action can result in reduced sale. Product owners therefore remove the background so that the actual product catches all the attention.

Another reason why the backgrounds are removed form product images. Since each website or eCommerce platform is different, a standard style of photography is used for these platforms so that the product image blends in to the website background. Only way to ensure that is by removing the background from the image.

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