How To Remove A Shadow In Photoshop

When you’re a photographer chasing the best lighting out there, you may run into one significant issue – shadows. They’re unavoidable, and sometimes, they can make or break an amazing picture. If that sounds like an issue you keep running into, you may be considering learning to remove shadows – but how exactly does that work?

You can remove shadows on Adobe Photoshop using the Patch tool and a specialized feature, the Content-Aware Tool. These two work together to help take care of harsh shadows. This is done using AI-powered technology that can clean up the background based on information from the surrounding area. 

Are you looking to remove a distracting shadow or to reduce the overall contrast in your images? If that is the case, you will need to know how to remove shadows in just a few steps! Keep reading this article for an in-depth tutorial on removing shadows in Adobe Photoshop and understanding why this feature is necessary. 

Removing Shadows In Adobe Photoshop

So, you’ve taken an amazing picture, but an ever-so-slight shadow over the subject’s face completely detracts from the concept. If you’ve ever run into this issue, you must wonder if there is some way to remove the shadow smoothly. It turns out you can use Adobe Photoshop, with the following steps:

  1. Run Adobe Photoshop on your computer.
  2. Open up the image with the shadow that you want to remove. 
  3. On the toolbar on the left, click on the ‘Spot Healing Brush Tool.’
  4. Hold down on the symbol to reveal the rest of the options.
  5. From here, choose the option ‘Patch Tool.’
  6. Once you select the Patch Tool, you can see the settings for the tool at the top of the Photoshop screen. From here, you will need to adjust the settings. 
  7. After the Patch setting, you will see a drop-down tool. 
  8. Click on the menu and choose ‘Content-Aware.’
  9. Now, drag the Patch Tool around the shadow that you want to remove, make sure it is a complete shape and closes at the starting point.
  10. Once satisfied, click and drag the shape to the area you want to patch from.
  11. After a few moments, the tool will remove the shadow and replace it with a content-aware background based on your selected area.
  12. You may need to retouch some areas for a clean finish. 
  13. Once you are happy with the results, click away or use Control (or Command on macOS) + D to deselect the area. 

You will now have a picture without any distracting shadows! This is a great technique to get clean images. You can also use it to eliminate unwanted objects if there is too much going on in a picture you captured. This works best when you have a clean background with limited patterns that are easy for the tool to replicate.

If you still want to learn more about how this looks when applied visually, you can check out this tutorial on the Content-Aware Patch Tool:

When Should You Use This Technique?

With Photoshop, it can be hard sometimes to tell when a certain technique should or shouldn’t be applied. So when exactly do you use this tool? The most common is when there is a distracting shadow, for example, a leaf’s shadow that covers your model’s face.

In other cases, shadows can offset your color story because of their deep contrast. If you want to avoid removing the shadow by placing it with brightness, exposure, and saturation, you can just take care of it with the Content-Aware Patch Tool.

Finally, another common reason that photographers use this method to remove shadows is when they can offset the focal point of a picture, for example, when they drag the eye up, down, and away from the subject. If that is not the original intention, you can easily clean up images using the Content-Aware Patch Tool!

Final Thoughts

Removing shadows when necessary is an important skill in any photographer’s playhouse. With the Content-Aware Patch Tool, you can do this easier than ever before, and the results are better than you would expect! So try out this fascinating Adobe Photoshop tool today to see what a difference it can make!