Historically, creating masks to erase backgrounds, and erasing unwanted objects from a photo have been the most difficult for me to accomplish. Photoshop can do both, but there’s a healthy learning curve involved, not to mention the expense.
If cheap and fast is what you’re after, here are two solutions. The first is Snapheal for the Mac, which I’ve written about a few times. It’s a great app that lets you erase objects in a photo, and the app then fills in the space so it blends with the rest of the photo.
The second is Background Eraser which does something similar, except to backgrounds, and it erases them altogether, leaving the object visible on a white background.
Here’s an example of a photo with a colored background; in this case a gradient.
By choosing specific tools, and using the erase to eliminate specific colors, the entire background can be eliminated.
What if the background isn’t a solid color? Simply use a different tool and erase all the background detail up to the edges of the foreground object you want to keep.
Background Erase makes the process relatively easy, but some effort to trial and error is required.
Unlike using masks in Photoshop or other Mac image editing apps, Background Eraser is mostly simple to use, and the tools are not confusing, even for photo editing neophytes. Drag the photo to Background Erase, select the tool to use to erase, zoom in as needed, save the photo when done.
All for about the price of a bag of french fries.