Remove shadows on photoshop

How to Remove Shadows from Photos in Photoshop

Shadows are the key elements that make a photo look realistic. It adds depth to the objects. But sometimes, they can be distracting and also distractive to the image. Some unintentional shadows can damage the look and feel of a picture.

As we can not avoid the situation every time, we have to rely on post-processing. And nothing is better than Photoshop in this scenario. Photoshop is the ultimate image manipulation tool for any snaps you take. 

Sometimes you require to eradicate a shadow, and sometimes making it soft will work fine.

The shadow removing processes are beneficial for those who are running online businesses and doing product photography.

How to get rid of shadows in Photoshop?

Getting rid of shadows in Photoshop is easy sometimes, and it becomes complicated when there are multiple textures involved. We are going to look into some of the important processes of removing shadows in Photoshop. This guideline works well with the much-recent versions of Adobe Photoshop CC. It will work fine with the Photoshop CS6, as both have a similar interface.

If you are not familiar with the Photoshop interface, make yourself comfortable with it by taking some time. Do some interaction with the tools and some other options. It is essential to get comfortable with the interface. Otherwise, you have to Google the placement of the devices each time.

The best way to learn the tool’s name is by hovering and keeping the mouse cursor over the tools. It will show the tool name.

The interface might seem complicated at the beginning. It is usual for a beginner, so do not worry.

Why Photoshop?

There is no doubt that Photoshop is the ultimate photo editing tool you can get in the market. Expert Professionals all over the world use it every day in their daily tasks. From photography to an advertisement, everywhere you can find the use of Photoshop.

There is no counterpart for Photoshop when it comes to image manipulation. Photoshop is a versatile tool to manipulate images with a broader set of options.

How to remove shadows in Photoshop?

Well, there are several processes to remove shadows in photoshop. It depends on the shadow type and placement. So we will cover the essential ones to give you the best result in your personal and professional photography.

Let us get into the process of making a shadow disappear from your image.

Method 1: Content-Aware Fill with the patch tool

You can select the unwanted parts to remove and match the surrounding with this tool.

If you are new to Photoshop layers, you should take some time to get used to it. Layers are vital while you are doing any Photoshop editing. We will make changes to a duplicate layer keeping the real one intact. It is for avoiding any unwanted errors. We can get back to the original anytime.

This method works fine if the surrounding of the shadow has a similar-looking background or surface type. We will be replacing the shadow’s background with a similar and suitable texture.

Now import the inappropriate photo and  follow the steps for removing shadows with the Patch tool:

  1. Duplicate a layer

As we mentioned earlier that layers are essential. As we will not make changes to the original image, we want to get back immediately if we screw up.

So, working on the Duplicate layers will help to make sure the original photo is intact. And you can also compare it with the original one by turning on and off the layers.

To create a duplicate layer, make sure the image layer is selected.  Now press Ctrl+J, and there will be a duplication of the primary layer. Make sure to rename the new layers each time.

  • Select Patch Tool 

We will be working with the Patch tool to remove the unwanted shadows.
Now Select the Patch tool from the toolbar on the right side. It looks like a patch.

  • Select Content-Aware

When the Patch tool is selected, there should be a  box named patch on the top ribbon of the photoshop interface.  And then choose Content-Aware from the patch dropdown menu.

  • Draw a region

Now having the patch tool selected, draw a region around the problematic part of the image. You have to make sure it is an enclosed selection. That means the endpoint should meet the starting point. Otherwise, you will not be able to select the portion properly.

  • Replace the Region

Now you can move the cursor to match the selection to its immediate surrounding. It may seem puzzling on the very first try, but you will get it ultimately.

And do not hesitate to experiment with some new methods. Remember, we have the original layer as a backup. So, we can start from scratch any time if we make any big mistakes.

Now you are good to go. If the result does not satisfy you, tweak the color contrast and Brightness to see if it matches the image.

Make sure that you are working on the duplicate layer.

Read More: Best Easy Ways to Remove Image Background

How to remove shadows on the face in photoshop?

There are two easy methods to remove shadows from the face in Photoshop. The clone tool method gives the best result, and the dodge tool method is for making the shadow smoother.

Method 1: Using Clone tool:

Using the Clone Stamp tool, you have to match the texture of the portion.  You have to find details that replicate the selected part.

  1. Duplicate the Layer

Press Ctrl+J to duplicate an image layer.

  • Select Clone stamp tool

From the left toolbar, select the clone stamp tool. To obtain smooth edges, pick a medium brush. If you want to increase and decrease the Brush size, use “[” and “]” on the keyboard.

  • Clone Source

Now you need a clone source from the face. You have to look for a similar texture. Press Alt on the keyboard and click on the desired source portion.
The cursor should re-appear as Crosshair after the selection.

  • Remove The Shadows

If you want to get the result as precise as possible, zoom into the affected portion. Now carefully start to paint over the shadow.

You may see that sometimes the clone tool does not match the texture with the rest of the image. So using a different clone source might help. Try using several sources to get the best-looking result.

Method 2: Using Dodge tool:

The face is the place on an image where our eyes go at first glance. As it is sensitive, it should look fine.

Sometimes it is tough to remove the shadow entirely from the face and keep the natural look. To make a face look natural, we can reduce the amount of shadow. You can lighten shadows in Photoshop through this method.

In this process, we will be reducing the amount of shadow using the Dodge tool.

Follow the steps :

  1. Duplicate the layer

The shortcut and importance of duplicate layer from our first process now import the image and create the same layer.

  • Select the Dodge tool

Now select the Dodge tool from the toolbar on the left side. The dodge tool looks like a lollipop. Then select shadows under the range.

Keep the range in between 10% and 50%.

  • Paint on the Shadow

Now with the dodge tool, paint over the shadows on the face. This process should reduce the amount to make a face look more beautiful than the original one.
If you don’t get the desired result, change the range and see which percentage fits well.

Using Adjustments Layers

This method involves using the Magic wand tool and Quick selection tool. You will select the shadow on the duplicate layer and tweak the Brightness and Contrast to match the surrounding.

  1. Duplicate a layer

Following the same procedure, create a duplicate layer of the image.

  • Select Magic Wand tool

Now from the toolbar, find the Magic Wand tool and select it. Now draw a path around the shadow to make a selection on the duplicate layer.

  • Create an Adjustment Layer

Now right click on the selection and Go to New Adjustment Layer and select Brightness/Contrast.

  • Tweak Brightness and Contrast

With the Brightness and contrast slider, tweak them to match the shadow potion with the rest of the image. In most cases, you can achieve the result with Brightness only.

How to remove shadows in Photoshop Elements?

You can also use Adobe Photoshop elements to remove shadows. Photoshop elements is an easy editing tool that comes with fewer and simpler options. You can get some of the essential tools of the professional version. Elements are good for you to get going.

Method 1: Adjust Brightness and contrast

Sometimes just adjusting the Brightness can help you to get a good result. Select the darkened portion and then follow the steps:

Choose enhance, then Adjust lighting > Brightness /Contrast
Now tweak the values to get lighten up the shadow.

Method 2: Apply Smart Brush Tool:

Import your image to Photoshop Elements.

  1. Select the Smart Brush tool

Now select the Smart Brush tool from the left toolbar. You will get an adjustment pop-up after the click,

  • Select Effects

From the presets box, select from the dropdown arrow.  You can adjust the brush size by opening the brush picker settings.

  • Paint on the Shadow

Now paint or drag the brush over the affected area. Automatically the correction will appear

Method 3: Shadow and highlight Details

Tweaking the shadow itself to highlight more details can give a better-looking image. The darkened portion lacks details.

Choose Enhance, and then from Adjust Lighting, select Shadow/Highlight.

Now you can lighten the dark areas by changing the slider value on the box.

To get more of the highlight values, you can darken the area a bit.

Make changes and see it in real-time to get the proper effect.

Where can you get Professional Photoshop Editors?

Well, photo retouching requires some skill and experience. If you are doing manipulation for the first time, you know how difficult it is to understand each process and implement them correctly. You require a very long time to get yourself comfortable with the interface.

Then again, you have to repeat the same process several times to get the best result. It needs time and effort for a beginner to get used to the tools and ecosystem.

So if you are struggling with the manipulation, leaving it for the professionals will help. You can assign the task to a professional freelancer or find some service providers online.  Professionals have the expertise and enough knowledge to determine the best procedure for the job.

On top of that, you can not ensure a professional-looking result on your first try.

So if it is professional work, then the DIY methods will not help. The professional approach is to provide the best quality service.

If you want to keep your professional photography’s value, you should not keep some room for faults. So hiring one expert will is the best choice. 


Image manipulation is a pretty complicated task for each amateur photographer. You cannot hope for the best result each time you try a new editing method.

In this article, we tried to give you our best explanation on how to remove shadows in Photoshop. If you want to improve and get the best result, keep experimenting by changing some variables.

These methods work well when you are comfortable with the overall interface and its functions. So make sure you are at ease when using the tools. A good practice is involved in getting the best possible result.

Shadows add depth and make the photo look realistic. Ensure that you are keeping the essential shadows to keep the depth and natural look. Otherwise, the image will look like a computer-generated one.

You can follow this video:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fix shadows in Photoshop?

Shadows can be swiftly eliminated with Photoshop’s retouching and repair tools, such as the Patch Tool and Clone Stamp Tool. You may also go in and make minor adjustments to details with repair tools by utilizing the Healing Brush and the Spot Healing Brush.

How do you remove black shadows from pictures?

Step 1: Open the shadowed image in Inpaint.

Step 2: Choose a shadow area with the Marker tool. Select the shadow region by switching to the Marker tool on the toolbar.

Step 3: Run the shadow removal procedure in step three. Finally, simply click the “Erase” button to start the restoration procedure.

What is Dodge tool Photoshop?

You can use the Dodge tool to selectively lighten parts of your image without changing colour or saturation. The Dodge tool by pressing (O). To achieve the desired effect, adjust tool settings such as brush size, range, and exposure using the Options bar. To lighten a portion of the image, drag it over.

What does the sponge tool do in Photoshop?

Photoshop’s sponge tool affects color saturation. It can either make a hue more saturated or less saturated. This means that by utilizing the sponge tool, we may change the color intensity of specific pixels by either making them more colorful or less colorful.