How to Remove Shadows in Photoshop

How can you make shadows disappear? There are a number of ways—curves, filters, brushes—but Glyn Dewis prefers a method called frequency separation that uses a combination of everything. Watch how he does it below:

He cast the shadow of his model’s glasses with a cross-lighting rig, but he’s using Adobe Photoshop to get rid of it. It’s a fairly complex method, but the results are undeniable.

How to Get Rid of Small Shadows in Photoshop

  1. First, make two copies of the layer. Dewis calls one “content” (and turns it off for now) and labels the other “color.”
  2. Go to the Filter, select Blur and then Gausian Blur. Raise it on the “color” layer to 15 or so pixels, until you drastically lose the image’s sharpness.

hidden tricks in photoshop

  1. Turn on the “content” layer. Under the Image menu, choose Adjustments, then Brightness/Contrast. (Be sure to select “Use Legacy” on newer versions of Photoshop, or this trick won’t work.) Reduce the contrast to -50.
  2. Choose the Filter menu, then select Other – High Pass. Make the High Pass amount the same as the blur amount—15 pixels, or whatever you opted for before.
  3. Change the blend mode on the layer from “normal” to “linear light.”
  4. Create a new blank layer in between “color” and “content.” (For clarity, Dewis names his “shadow.”)
  5. Select the clone stamp tool at around 10 percent, building on small changes to the image.
  6. At the top of the screen when clone stamp is selected, where it says “sample,” choose “current and below”—that means you’ll only sample the blurred colors in the layers beneath.
  7. Begin sampling the skin-tone color immediately to the left and right of the shadow, applying it to the shadow itself. You’ll see results after a minute or two.
  8. Create a new layer, created of all the previous layers merged together, then choose the Camera Raw filter. Select the Adjustment brush, highlight the shadow area, and add clarity, contrast, and de-hazing.

how to use photoshop to reduce shadows

  1. Group all the layers together to adjust the opacity if you like.

As you can tell by the before/after photos, the change is significant yet subtle:

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photoshop results

It’s a slightly involved process, but if you’re confused by the instructions, simply follow along the video and you’ll figure it out.

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