Expand Any Photo In Lightroom Without Photoshop!

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Are you tired of switching between Lightroom and Photoshop? Today, I’m going to show you an incredible trick to generate AI backgrounds and expand the background of any image all inside Lightroom. This method works seamlessly in both Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic, as long as you are using the latest version. Ready to dive in? Let’s get started!

Step-by-Step Guide to Expanding Photo Backgrounds in Lightroom

Step 1: Open Lightroom and Prepare Your Photo

First, make sure your Lightroom is up-to-date. Open the photo you want to work on in the Develop module. Navigate to the Erase section and ensure that the Eraser mode is selected. Then, check that Generative AI is enabled. If you don’t see this option, you need to update your Lightroom to the latest version.

Step 2: Using Generative AI

Generative AI in Lightroom is a powerful tool typically used for object removal or minor edits like changing hairstyles. You select the area, and Lightroom generates a few variations for you to choose from. However, it doesn’t normally allow for expanding the background outside the original image boundaries. Here’s where our trick comes into play.

Step 3: Take a Screenshot

To expand the background, take a screenshot of your current photo. On a Mac, you can do this by pressing Shift + Command + 4. For PC users, the shortcut is usually Function + Windows Key + Spacebar. Drag to select the area around your photo, including some space you want to expand into. Save this screenshot.

Step 4: Import the Screenshot Back into Lightroom

Import the screenshot back into Lightroom as a new photo. Ensure no presets are applied during import. Now you have a larger canvas to work with.

Step 5: Apply the Erase Tool and Generative AI

With your new larger photo, go back to the Erase tool. This time, paint over the gray area outside your original image. Select the entire gray area in one go to avoid Lightroom processing multiple sections separately, which can lead to inconsistent results.

Click “Apply” and let Lightroom generate new background options based on the existing image. This usually takes a few seconds. Lightroom will present you with several variations. Choose the one that looks best.

Step 6: Fine-Tune the Background

If you don’t like the initial options, you can hit refresh to generate new variations. Lightroom allows you to refine specific sections by selecting only that area and applying Generative AI again. This iterative process helps in getting the perfect background expansion.

Pros and Cons of This Method


  • Speed: This method is much faster than switching to Photoshop and back.
  • Ease of Use: No need for complex Photoshop skills; everything is done within Lightroom.
  • Quality: The results are impressive and often indistinguishable from those done in Photoshop.


  • Resolution: Since this method works with screenshots, the resolution may not be as high as using the original RAW files in Photoshop.
  • Control: Photoshop offers more control with detailed prompts and higher customization.
  • Editing: You’re working with a JPEG after taking the screenshot, so it’s best to do this after you’ve completed all other edits.

Practical Applications

This technique is perfect for portfolio photos where you need that extra background space without the hassle of using Photoshop. It’s also great for social media posts where speed and efficiency are key.

Example Walkthrough

Let’s take a look at a few examples to illustrate how effective this trick can be.

Example 1: Landscape Photo

  1. Open a landscape photo in Lightroom.
  2. Take a screenshot, including extra space for expansion.
  3. Import the screenshot.
  4. Use the Erase tool to paint over the gray areas.
  5. Apply Generative AI and select the best variation.
  6. Refine any sections as needed.

The result is a beautifully expanded landscape that retains the quality and essence of the original photo.

Screenshot 2024 06 28 at 3.20.54 PM
Expand Any Photo In Lightroom Without Photoshop! 1
michael sunrise
Expand Any Photo In Lightroom Without Photoshop! 2

Example 2: Portrait Photo

  1. Follow the same steps as above with a portrait photo.
  2. Pay special attention to the areas around the subject to ensure seamless blending.
  3. Use the refresh option if the initial results aren’t satisfactory.

This method allows for creating stunning portraits with enhanced backgrounds, ideal for professional portfolios or client work.

Screenshot 2024 06 28 at 4.33.44 PM
Expand Any Photo In Lightroom Without Photoshop! 3
generative ai backgrounds using lightroom no photoshop
Expand Any Photo In Lightroom Without Photoshop! 4


This Lightroom trick is a game-changer for photographers who prefer to stay within one software environment. It’s quick, efficient, and produces high-quality results that are often indistinguishable from those achieved in Photoshop.

Try this method out for yourself and see how it can simplify your workflow and enhance your photos. If you found this tutorial helpful, please hit the thumbs up button, leave a comment below, and subscribe for more content like this. Let’s create something awesome together!

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