Shadows in photos are an excellent element that makes the photograph natural and realistic. Besides, they always add more depth and an aesthetic vibe to the images regardless of the type of shot. At the same time, it is also true that sometimes the shadow cannot be a pleasant part of the image if it is harsh and distracting for the audience.
That is why it becomes essential to remove shadow or at least erase it as much as possible to eliminate the distraction. But one must do it without damaging the image’s quality and overall look. So how do you do it?
The best solution is to use Photoshop tools to get the job done. And in today’s article, you will learn how to remove shadows in Photoshop using various methods.
Read More:- How to Use Background Eraser Tool in Photoshop
How to Remove Shadows in Photoshop
Since Photoshop offers a wide variety of tools and features, you can remove shadows in more than one way. This Photoshop feature comes in handy to help you explore more and figure out which method suits your editing requirements. It can also help you understand which method will be more effective in removing the type of shadow the image has.
So let’s find out the best and most effective ways for shadow removal in Photoshop.
- Removing Shadow Using The Content-Aware Fill Tool
- Reducing Harsh Shadow Using Layer Adjustments
- Removing Harsh Shadows Using Clone Tool
- Reduce Harsh Shadow Using The Dodge Tool
Here is the step-by-step guide on how you can remove shadows in Photoshop using these methods.
Method 1: Removing Shadow Using The Content-Aware Fill Tool
Of all the tools Photoshop offers for removing shadows, the Content-Aware Fill tool is one of the most effective. To be precise, its Patch Tool is pretty handy for removing shadows that cause distraction on your image background. But what kind of shadow distractions?
Well, if you have line shadows in the photos of objects that are out of frame or inside, you can use the Patch Tool. This tool is more effective if you have a wider area to work on and has repetitive textures and colors. So here is a step-by-step guide to remove shadow in Photoshop with Content-Aware Fill’s Patch Tool.
Step 1: Open The Image
Start by launching the Photoshop application on your device or desktop. Then open the image from the File panel by clicking Open from the drop-down menu.
You can also use the shortcut command CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC) to open the image file quickly.
Step 2: Duplicate The Layer
As you go editing the image, it is always wiser to create a duplicate layer for each modification. This way, even if something goes wrong or you need to make adjustments later, you can always go back to the previous layer or the original image layer to make corrections.
To create a duplicate layer, go to your screen’s right-side Layers panel and click on it. When you see the Background Layer, right-click on it and select Duplicate Layer from the menu.
It will open a dialog box, and you need to rename the file with anything that will help you quickly find the layer later. You can also press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC) to create a duplicate layer.
Step 3: Select The Patch Tool
To remove shadows from an image, you must select your tool first. In this case, I have used the Patch Tool with the Content-Aware Fill setting. So you must also select the Patch Tool from the Toolbar on the left side of your screen.
The tool looks like a patch, so it will be easier for you to spot it. Then hover over the tool’s menu options, and you will find a setting that says, Patch. Click on the down arrow to extend its options and select Content-Aware.
The perk of selecting the Content-Aware patch tool is that it will help with shadow removal and replace the eliminated pixels. And it is essential for creating a smoother surface even after running the tool over the image.
Read More:- How To Remove White Background In Photoshop
Step 4: Remove Shadow
Now that your Patch Tool is active, you can use it to select unnecessary shadows from the pictures. Select around the shadow you want to remove, and then move the pointer to a surface that you want to use for replacing the shadow.
As you drag the selected shadow to the area you want to replace it with, you will notice how the shadow’s original area changes its appearance.
That is how you know that the shadow removal and patching are working. And once the shadow area gets covered by the replacing area, let go of the pointer, and Photoshop will automatically offer a smooth finish.
But what if the tool is not patching correctly?
In that case, you need to adjust the Color and Structure options. Add how many colors blending you want and how close you want the structure to match the shadow removal area. If there are repeating patterns in the image, you must clean the patch. If not, the image flaw will be visible to its viewers.
Method 2: Reducing Harsh Shadow Using Layer Adjustments
An image without shadows looks ghostly and unnatural. So sometimes, you cannot eliminate all of it. However, if the shadow overpowers the subject or appears harsh, you can see the harsh shadow by adjusting your image layers.
Here, you do not need to vanish the shadow. Instead, adjusting the layers will help reduce its harshness, make it appear less distracting, and highlight the foreground more. And here is how you can remove shadows in Photoshop by adjusting the layers.
Step 1: Open The Image
As always, the first thing you need to do is open the image file and upload it to Photoshop for editing. So go to the top menu and click on the File panel. And then, select Open from the drop-down menu.
Once your device storage opens, select the image and click OKto upload it on Photoshop. You can also press the shortcut commands CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC) to select the image more quickly.
Step 2: Choose A Shadow Selection Tool
Choose a selection tool to select the shadow for removal.
Photoshop offers a number of such tools, like the Object Selection Tool, Quick Selection Tool, Lasso Tool, etc. You can choose any tool of your choice for shadow removal.
Read More:- How To Use Photoshop Pen Tool Basic Guides
Step 3: Select The Shadow
After selecting the tool to remove the shadow, use it to select around the shadow part or all of it that you want to fix.
Try your best to select the closest edges because you don’t want to leave any loose ends.
Step 4: Copy The Shadow To A New Layer
Next, copy the shadow you have selected to a new layer. To do that, you can go to the menu bar, select the Edit panel and select Copy from the drop-down menu while the shadow is still selected. You can also do that from the shortcut command by pressing CTRL+C (COMMAND+C on MAC).
Then go to the top Layers panel and click it to open the drop-down menu. From there, select New and Layer via Copy to copy the shadow.
The shortcut command for this task is CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC).
Step 5: Adjust Image Brightness And Temperature
The best and most effective way to remove harsh shadows is by lightening them and making them look more natural. And if the shadows have a cooler tone, you can increase the temperature to make them slightly warmer. This will also help blend the shadow with the surrounding areas.
Read More:- How to Blur The Background in Photoshop Tutorial
You can use the Brightness and Color Balance options to change the settings. However, I would advise using the ACR or Adobe Camera Raw for better adjustments.
Go to the Filter panel on top of the screen and select Camera RAW Filter. You can also open the setting using the shortcut command CTRL+SHIFT+A (COMMAND+SHIFT+A on MAC).
Using the command or the menu options will open a workplace. There you can work on the adjustments using the sliders. Increase the temperature to give the image a warmer tone. And if you aim to reduce the shadow’s harshness, you can try lowering the Dehaze and Clarity options.
Method 3: Removing Harsh Shadows Using Clone Stamp Tool
When you take pictures in a studio, you can control the lights and get a perfect shot without much post-production hassle. But if taken outside a studio or a non-professional shot, you have no control over what appears on the subject. It could be a shadow of an object or another person.
So what you can do is use the Clone Stamp Tool to remove such harsh shadows. And this tool works best in removing shadows from the face and improving the image quality.
But remember that removing shadows from a face is very tricky. You must pay attention to the smallest details and textures so you can clone them accurately. So here you go.
Step 1: Open The Image And Duplicate The Background
As usual, open the image by clicking the File panel and selecting Open from the drop-down menu. Or, you can use the shortcut to open it by pressing CTRL+O (COMMAND+O on MAC).
Then duplicate the image background. To do that, right-click on the Background Layer from the right-side panel and select Duplicate Layer. You can also duplicate the background layer with the shortcut command CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC).
Step 2: Select The Clone Stamp Tool
Next, choose your tool to remove shadows in Photoshop. If you are not familiar with the Clone Stamp Tool, let me give you a hint: it looks like a stamp. You can select the tool from the left-side Toolbar.
Now, you might need to make some adjustments to remove or lighten the shadow to get a better result.
If you are looking for a smooth-edge finish, it is best if you choose a soft brush. You can increase or decrease the brush size using the ‘]’ or ‘[‘ key.
However, if it is only for reducing the shadow’s visibility or harshness, you should just lower the tool’s Opacity to 40%-50%.
Step 3: Select Clone Resource
Now you need to find a non-shadowy spot to clone and replace the shadow with it. Press the ALT (OPTION on MAC) key from your keyboard to select the pixel. Then click to finalize your selection.
The pointer will transform into a crosshair icon. When you click it, the pointer will show you the selected pixels.
Step 4: Remove Shadow
After selecting the cloning tool, paint over the shadow area that you want to fix. You have to repeat steps 3 and 4 to bring accuracy to the edited image.
Make sure you clone pixels that are closest to the replacing pixels. If not, they will stand out and make the image look even worse. Explore around the image, selecting different pixels to find suitable matches.
You can undo the edits if the result does not look good or the pixels don’t match. Press CTRL+Z (COMMAND+Z on MAC) or select the Edit panel and Und Clone Stamp from the drop-down menu.
Method 4: Reduce Harsh Shadow Using The Dodge Tool
Here is another method to remove shadows in Photoshop. It can be a shadow on a person’s face, which is difficult to remove entirely. So the best thing to do here is to use the Dodge Tool and make it as light as possible without making it look unnatural. Here is the step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Open The Image And Duplicate The Layer
As usual, first, open the image folder and upload your selected image in the Photoshop application. You can either do it from the menu bar or use the shortcut commands.
After that, duplicate the background using the same procedure that I described in the previous method. You can just press CTRL+J (COMMAND+J on MAC).
Step 2: Select The Dodge Tool
Now, select the Dodge Tool from the Toolbar. It looks like a lollipop, in case you are having trouble finding it.
Selecting the tool will open another menu bar. From there, select Shadow by extending the Range setting. And keep the Exposure between 10%-50%. You can always increase or decrease the limit later.
Step 3: Work On The Shadow
Zoom into the image and paint over the shadow using the Dodge Tool. If the change is minor, you can increase the tool’s opacity or try switching the Range from Shadow to Midtones.
If there is any mistake made or you don’t like how it worked, you can undo the changes by pressing CTRL+Z (COMMAND+Z on MAC).
You can also apply the Burn Tool to darken some areas if necessary.
Removing Shadow With Photo Shadow Removal Service
Trust me, editing photographs using the Photoshop tool is no joke. If you are barely familiar with this tool, you cannot go much far with editing or making the matter even worse.
So the best thing to do is leave the job to someone professional, a professional editor, or an agency that offers shadow removal services. These agencies have experienced or professional designers to edit images and provide better high-quality results.
In Clipping Arts India, we offer Photoshop Drop Shadow& Reflection Shadow Service. Whether to remove an unnecessary or distracting shadow or add missing shadows, our team members are skilled enough to make the impossible possible. If you would like to check out our service, feel free to drop by or reach out through our website.
There! Now you know 4 different ways to remove shadows from images.
While Photoshop isn’t exactly the best software for beginners, there is always room to improve if you practice. And if the editing seems like a hassle to you, you can always look for other options, like shadow removal services.