Photoshop Tutorial: What are Selections and Why do you need them?

Selections are one of the most fundamental tools in Photoshop, and they are essential for making precise edits to your images. A selection is simply a defined area of an image that you can isolate and manipulate independently from the rest of the image.

Why do you need selections?

There are many reasons why you might need to make a selection in Photoshop. Here are just a few examples:

  • To remove unwanted objects from an image: For example, you might want to remove a power line from a landscape photo, or a person from a group portrait.
  • To apply edits to a specific area of an image: For example, you might want to brighten the eyes of a person in a portrait photo, or to change the color of a building in a cityscape.
  • To copy and paste elements from one image to another: For example, you might want to copy a flower from one photo and paste it into another.
  • To create a composite image: For example, you might want to combine two or more images into one.

Creating selections

Photoshop provides a variety of tools for creating selections, including the Marquee Tools, the Lasso Tools, the Magic Wand Tool, and the Quick Selection Tool. Each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it is important to choose the right tool for the job.

  • Marquee Tools: The Marquee Tools are the most basic selection tools. They create rectangular, elliptical, single-row, and single-column selections.
  • Lasso Tools: The Lasso Tools allow you to draw freehand selections. The Polygonal Lasso Tool creates selections based on a series of interconnected line segments, and the Magnetic Lasso Tool automatically snaps to object edges.
  • Magic Wand Tool: The Magic Wand Tool selects contiguous areas of similar color.
  • Quick Selection Tool: The Quick Selection Tool uses AI to automatically detect and select objects in an image.

Refining selections

Once you have created a selection, you can refine it using various methods. These methods include:

  • Adding to or subtracting from the selection: Hold down the Shift key to add to the selection, or the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac) key to subtract from the selection.
  • Feathering: Feathering creates a softer edge around the selection.
  • Using the Select and Mask workspace: The Select and Mask workspace provides advanced tools for refining selections, such as the Refine Edge Brush.


Selections are an essential tool for any Photoshop user. By learning how to use the various selection tools and refining techniques, you can make precise edits to your images and create stunning compositions.