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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Remove Shadows in Photoshop

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial on how to get rid of shadows in Photoshop, you'll learn how to remove shadows from a subject's face and clothing. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can learn how to remove a shadow in Photoshop, even those who have just opened the software for the first time.

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What You'll Learn in This Tutorial to Remove Shadows in Photoshop

  • How to get rid of shadows in Photoshop
  • How to use Photoshop to remove a shadow from a face
  • How to remove shadows from a background in Photoshop
  • How to remove wall shadows in Photoshop
  • How to remove shadows from photos in Photoshop

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following image:

1. How to Remove the Shadow From a Photo in Photoshop

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open.

opening photoopening photoopening photo

2. How to Remove a Shadow From a Face in Photoshop

Step 1

In this section, we are going to remove the shadows from the subject's face. Choose the Spot Healing Brush Tool (J), set the brush Hardness to 0%, and start by brushing over a small part of the shadow. You can try brushing a few times over the same area for a better result, but don't worry if it doesn't look perfect yet.

using spot healing brush toolusing spot healing brush toolusing spot healing brush tool

Step 2

Now choose the Healing Brush Tool (J), set the brush Hardness to 0%, and Alt-click on an area nearby that doesn't have a shadow to define a source. Then, brush over the area where we have just removed the shadow. Feel free to change the source while brushing.

using healing brush toolusing healing brush toolusing healing brush tool

Step 3

Repeat these steps to remove the shadow on other areas of the face. You can skip over the hair and jawline area for now as we are going to use a slightly different approach when removing the shadows in these areas. Here is my result:

repeating stepsrepeating stepsrepeating steps

Step 4

To remove the shadow over the hair, you can use the tools that we used in the previous steps. However, without removing the hair, the shadow won't be removed completely in this way—it will just be faded a little.

removing shadow over hairremoving shadow over hairremoving shadow over hair

Step 5

To remove the shadow completely, choose the Clone Stamp Tool (S) and Alt-click on an area nearby that doesn't have a shadow to make a sample. Then, pick a soft brush, and brush around the hair to remove the shadow. You can use the Healing Brush Tool (J) to soften up the transitions made using the Clone Tool if needed.

using clone stamp toolusing clone stamp toolusing clone stamp tool

Step 6

Now it still doesn't look perfect, and the hair is a bit blurry. Choose the Patch Tool (J), and draw a selection of the blurry hair parts. Then, click anywhere inside the selection, and drag to a nearby area that doesn't have a shadow to define a source that will be used for patching. You can use the Spot Healing Brush Tool (J) to soften the transitions if needed.

using patch toolusing patch toolusing patch tool

Step 7

We are going to remove the shadow from the jawline now. Choose the Healing Brush Tool (J) for this, and try to keep the jawline visible.

removing shadow over jawlineremoving shadow over jawlineremoving shadow over jawline

3. How to Remove Shadows From a Subject's Clothes

Step 1

In this section, we are going to remove shadows from the subject's clothes. Choose the Patch Tool (J), and draw a selection of one part of the shadow. Then, go to Select > Modify > Feather, and set the Feather Radius to 5 px. Click anywhere inside the selection, and drag to a nearby area that doesn't have a shadow to define a source that will be used for patching.

using patch toolusing patch toolusing patch tool

Step 2

Now repeat this step to remove the shadow on other areas of the clothes. Here is my result:

repeating steprepeating steprepeating step

Step 3

Use the Healing Brush Tool (J) to fix any imperfections made by using the Patch Tool. Here is my result:

using healing brush toolusing healing brush toolusing healing brush tool

4. How to Make the Final Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make some final adjustments to remove the shadow from a photo in Photoshop perfectly. First, check out the whole photo for any imperfections. Feel free to use any tool that we've used previously—the Healing Brush Tool (J), Spot Healing Brush Tool (J), Clone Stamp Tool (S), or Patch Tool (J)—to make corrections. Here is my result:

making correctionsmaking correctionsmaking corrections

Step 2

Now we are going to apply a few filters to fix small imperfections if there are any left. Press Control-Shift-N on your keyboard to create a new layer, and press Control-Alt-Shift-E to make a screenshot. Then, go to Filter > Blur > Surface Blur, and set the Radius to 3 px and Threshold to 15 levels. After that, go to Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask, and set the Amount to 50%, Radius to 1 px, and Threshold to 0 levels.

adding surface blur and unsharp mask filtersadding surface blur and unsharp mask filtersadding surface blur and unsharp mask filters

Step 3

Name this layer Smooth & Sharpen.

renaming layerrenaming layerrenaming layer

Step 4

As you can see, the facial skin tones are slightly messed up in some areas, so we are going to correct that. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Skin Tone, and choose the color #fbc2a8.

creating new solid color fill layercreating new solid color fill layercreating new solid color fill layer

Step 5

Change the Blending Mode of this layer to Soft Light. Then, select the layer mask of this layer, and press Control-I on your keyboard to invert it. Set the foreground color to #ffffff, choose the Brush Tool (B), pick a soft brush, and brush over the skin area where you want to correct the color tone. Here is my result:

brushing into layer maskbrushing into layer maskbrushing into layer mask

Step 6

Now go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Increase Vibrance.

creating new vibrance adjustment layercreating new vibrance adjustment layercreating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 7

Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +30.

adjusting vibranceadjusting vibranceadjusting vibrance

You Made It! You Know How to Remove Shadows from Photos in Photoshop

Congratulations, you've succeeded! You've now learned how to remove a shadow in Photoshop. This is also how to remove wall shadows in Photoshop, how to remove shadows from a background in Photoshop, and how to remove shadows from photos in Photoshop in general. Here is our final result:

final resultfinal resultfinal result

5 Cool Photoshop Photo Retouching Actions From Envato Elements

Want to see some cool retouch Photoshop actions? Check out this list of photo retouching actions from Envato Elements. Enjoy!

Ultimate Editing Photoshop Actions (ATN)

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With this set of actions, you can take your photo editing to another level! There are over 55 Photoshop actions and presets included to adjust the photo tone, color, sharpening, etc.

50 Retouching Photoshop Actions (ATN)

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There are 50 retouching Photoshop actions included in this set! The actions are easy to use, and they create organized and fully editable layers.

14 Landscape Retouching Actions (ATN)

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If you are looking for Photoshop actions to improve your landscape photography, then check out this set of 14 actions! How they work is that you play an action and then simply paint over the areas that you want to enhance.

Black White Photoshop Actions (ATN)

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Give your photos that classic black and white look with this set of 31 Photoshop actions! The actions are created with attention to making precise adjustments.

8 Classic Ports Film Look Presets (XML)

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These presets are made to enhance your portrait photography! They work both in Lightroom and Photoshop, and help videos are included.

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