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Harsh shadows are one of the most unwanted outcomes in a photo that is captured in broad daylight. Sometimes, they may add to the image’s appeal, but mostly they obscure essential details which we need to recover. Learn how to remove shadows in Photoshop using multiple methods so that you can bring improvement to your images.
How to Remove Shadows in Photoshop Using Various Methods
Certain effects in brightly lit images are unavoidable, shadows being one of them. In real estate photography, where your prime focus is to show a property’s best possible view, shadows can be a hindrance, due to which even the most attractive property may look gloomy. Here is where photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop comes into play.
Although it is an undeniable fact that you cannot get rid of shadows completely, there are editing features that can reduce shadows to a great extent. Adobe Photoshop CC has a comprehensive set of tools that help you significantly recover details otherwise hidden by harsh shadows.
Removing Shadows Using the Blending Mode
This technique uses two very useful features of Photoshop combined together to solve the issue of shadows in the image below. One is the selection of RGB using Channels, and the other one is Screen blending mode.
Choose an image from which you want to remove shadows, and open it in Photoshop.
Select the Channels panel on the right-hand side. If you can’t see the panel, go to the Window menu, and make sure Channels has a checkmark beside it.
Press and hold CTRL (Windows) / CMD (Mac) and click on RGB to select areas in the image based on the luminosity. This is a very useful feature as it selects the bright areas of your image.
As in this image, we need to select the dark areas of the image. We will Inverse the selection. You can do it by pressing CTRL + SHIFT + I (Windows) or CMD + SHIFT + I (Mac). Alternatively, you can go to the Select menu and choose Inverse. This step actually selects all the shadowed sections where you need to work.
Press CTRL (Windows) / CMD (Mac) + J to duplicate the layer. It will form a separate layer of the dark areas selected, making sure any effects you apply will only impact the shadows.
Select the Blending Mode to Screen. The screen mode brightens the dark areas as soon as you select it.
Doing so will solve your issue to a great extent. You can see that there is a significant difference between before and after views. However, if you still see some dark areas which need some extra brightness, use the brush tool to do that.
Create a negative mask by pressing and holding ALT (Windows) / Option (Windows) and click on the Create a mask icon found at the bottom of the Layers panel.
Select the Brush Tool from the toolbar.
Make sure that the foreground color is set to white, and then paint the dark areas with your brush. This will further reduce the shadows by brightening the affected areas.
Removing Shadows With The Dodge Tool
Photoshop’s Dodge tool is highly effective in tackling shadows. Also, the process of dodging the shadowed areas is straightforward, although it may take a bit of your patience as you need to zoom in to apply the effect accurately.
Open the image that has important details obscured by shadows.
Much of the shadows from your subject will be reduced using this method, revealing appealing details.
Shadow Removal Using Patch Tool
Another Photoshop tool helpful for shadow removal is the Patch tool. It is used on images where a shadowless area matching the shadowed area is available. Basically, Photoshop will replace a shadowed patch with a well-lit patch seamlessly via the Patch tool.
Dark shadows in the resulting image are mainly due to intense light falling upon the subject. Although shadows add a dramatic effect in some images, it mostly hides areas with specific details which are not what we actually want. Therefore, learning the Photoshop techniques explained above will help you deal with unwanted shadows effectively.