Furniture Flipping 101
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The best photo editing software

Why Do I need Photo Editing Software?

In an earlier article, I shared the seven steps to stage furniture for sale, including steps to take professional photos. Once you have those photos, you will need photo editing software to transform them into professional-quality images. In the digital age, photo editing software or applications are essential tools for enhancing and transforming images.

Photo editing software is a must if you post photos of your furniture on social media or your website. Every photo, no matter how well staged and how good the natural lighting, can benefit from post-production photo editing software. Photo editing software lets you crop out areas, adjust colour balance, white balance, contrast, sharpness, and more.

Stick around to the end of the article where I provide sources for the background and mirror replacement images – free and paid options!

Replace Photo Backgrounds and Reflections in Mirrors

Sometimes, you may not have the best staging area to take your photos, but luckily thanks to photo editing software, you don’t need one. Background removal using masking is a popular and creative technique when editing photos of furniture for sale. This technique allows you to isolate your furniture and replace the background with stylish rooms or simple backdrops, overcoming the need for a dedicated staging area. You can also use the same masking technique to replace mirrors with images that match the photo’s background.

This piece was hard to move around, so I used photo editing software (Photoshop) to remove the background and add in a new one. This edit can still use some work – I can adjust the lighting to help the dresser blend into the room better. 

Branding and Watermarking Photos

If you post your photos to social media or your website, don’t forget to add your branding/watermark to your pictures. Most software allows you to add png files (make sure they are created with a transparent background). By adding your logo or business name, you mark your photos as your property, and any time the photos are shared, you receive credit for the work. How often have you seen photos shared of fantastic furniture flips without any way to identify the artist?

In this article, we’ll explore the best photo editing software that excels in background removal and provides an array of adjustments to elevate your photographs to new heights.

Don’t want to learn to use photo editing software? You can hire someone to do it for you.

Free vs. Paid

There are a couple of free photo editing software options provided for consideration – and free is always a good place to start, especially when you are learning how to edit photos. The problem with free is that the features are often limited, or ads and paywalls will block you from working efficiently. And if you spend a lot of time learning a free program and then decide you need more features, you will need to learn how to use the new paid program, which can lead to more wasted time. However, don’t be afraid to test the waters using free or free-trial software.

Most paid photo editing software is Software as a Service, or SaaS, sold via a paid monthly or annual subscription. Downloadable one-time purchase software that isn’t subscription based, will require you to pay to upgrade to get any of the updates. This can be both and advantage (lower cost overall) and a disadvantage (you don’t have any updates unless you pay). Because I do a lot of my work on the computer – both for the Furnitureflipping101 website and editing photos for my furniture-flipping business, I use Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite.

Paid Photo Editing Software

You would probably have to live under a rock not to have heard of my go-to photo editing software, Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop’s photo editing software remains the gold standard for professional photo editing. Its powerful masking tools: Magic Wand and Quick Selection, make selecting and removing backgrounds from images fast and easy. Masking an object removes the background allowing you to add stylish new backgrounds effortlessly. And while it is pretty effortless, there is an art to blending the furniture and the room into a realistic photo. You can add shadows and lighting effects to enhance the realism. Check out this article on the best YouTube channels that teach this technique.

Photoshop has recently added an even more powerful feature using AI-driven Generative Fill, available in their beta application (soon to be incorporated into the main app).

In addition to Photoshop, Adobe also offers Adobe Lightroom, another premium application that will help you edit your photos. If you must choose between the programs, Photoshop is by far the most versatile program – it can replace Lightroom and Illustrator as your go-to editor. If you are a student, you can receive a substantial discount on the subscription fees (sorry, my students don’t qualify for this discount ☹)

Much like Adobe’s Photoshop, Corel’s Paintshop Pro uses layers and masking, which enables you to remove the background and replace it with another image, creating a realistic photo. Before I found Photoshop, I used Paintshop for years to generate graphics. They have come a long way from then. Use the free trial offer to see if you like the program.

Are you looking for a more affordable, non-subscription option?

Check out the ACDSee software suite. This one-time-purchase software provides an equivalent to Photoshop or Lightroom experience. Like Lightroom, the ACDSee PhotoStudio Ultimate software will manage, sort, and develop your photos – keep track of all your photos in one location! Then, the Gemstone software will enable you to edit your photos like you could in Photoshop at a fraction of the price. 

You can also subscribe to receive the two photo-editing programs plus two video editing software and another Mac-friendly program. These come with a yearly or monthly subscription, with access to updates. 

You can check out their free trials here. 

All ACDSee products are currently on sale for a limited time, so check them out soon!

Free Photo Editing Software

GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a free and open-source alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom’s photo editing software. While it may not have the same user-friendly interface as Photoshop, GIMP offers advanced features for background removal, such as the “Foreground Select” tool and various selection methods. Additionally, you can enhance your photos with a wide range of creative filters and effects.

Photopea is a web-based photo editing software that resembles Adobe Photoshop’s features and functionalities. It supports advanced background removal techniques and offers many design options, making it an excellent choice for creating visually striking images. While there is a free version, the premium version is only $5 monthly, which is quite reasonable. Photopea doesn’t have all the features of Photoshop or Lightroom, and I found it a bit fussier to mask correctly. Still, you may be satisfied with the program as introductory photo editing software.

Other Free Photo Editing Software

The options are truly endless when it comes to free programs. You may find another program with sufficient tools for your purposes. I’ve tried so many programs and ended up going with a subscription based photo editing software.

My takeaway from using many different programs is you get what you pay for. You will also need to learn each program and test its features, sometimes finding that it can’t perform a required step.

You may need to use two or three free programs to achieve the outcome you wanted eventually, but you must be willing to spend the time doing this.

Replacing Backgrounds and Mirrors

Wait! What are you replacing your backgrounds with?

To replace a background you will need to find a suitable backdrop for your photos. This isn’t as easy as it might seem – you need to make sure you are allowed to use that photo. Unless explicitly stated, you cannot use a photo without either paying for it or giving the creator credit. Make sure you read the license small print before downloading. 

Websites like Envato Elements and Adobe Stock have royalty-free photos (you pay for the right to use their products).  Adobe Stock has some great blank wall backgrounds (the best I’ve found)! Other sites, like Pixabay and Pexels, offer free photos and other creative assets for your use – credit is appreciated but not required for most photos. Make sure you read the license for each picture – some sites have different rules, depending on the creator. 


Using photo editing software to remove backgrounds and replace them with stylish designs can transform your photos into attention-grabbing masterpieces. Tweaking the photo with additional adjustments like contrast, brightness, colour balance, etc., will also turn drab photos into ones you will be proud to promote.

Whether you’re a professional furniture refinisher building your website’s portfolio or a hobbyist building your social media presence, these featured photo editing software offer powerful tools and creative possibilities to elevate your images.

From the industry-standard Adobe PhotoshopCorel Paintshop, and ACDSee’s Ultimate and Gemstone to web-based platforms like GIMP and Photopea, there’s photo editing software for every skill level and preference. Embrace photo editing software, experiment with different designs, and let your creativity flow to produce stunning visuals that leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Ready to learn more about how to use photo editing software for background removal and photo editing? Check out this list of the top seven YouTube channels to learn how to use photo editing software.

Not sure you want to learn how to use photo editing software? You can hire someone to do it for you.

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