How to Remove Unwanted Shadows in Photoshop

On this  video photographer Glyn Dewis looks at removing shadows from a portrait using a technique known as frequency separation in Photoshop.

In the image Dewis works on for this video there is a portrait where the light from the left side hits the side of the glasses of the model which in turn creates a shadow which is what we would like to remove.

To do this using frequency separation we create two copies of the background layer (lets call them color and content). we add gussian blur to the color layer. For the content layer we will play with the brightness/contrast and select the use “legacy box” and change the contrast to minus 50. Next we click O.K. and choose filter>high pass filter and choose the same radius we choose before for the blur). We now change the content to “linear light”.

Now we select the color layer and create a new blank layer and call it shadow. Choose the clone stamp with a low setting (opacity of 10% with sample>current and below – so just from the blur layer below). Using this tool we go over the shadow area again and again until we remove the shadow completely. There are a few other things that we can do like playing with the image in Camera RAW to improve the image a bit more.

We have looked at frequency separation techniques many times in the past for including “The Amazing Power of Frequency Separation Retouching in Photoshop“, “Changing Makeup with Frequency Separation in Photoshop“,  “How to Fix Shiny Skin in Photoshop” and “How to Retouch Lips Using Photoshop“.

You can find many more Photoshop video tutorials on LensVid’s Photoshop section. You can also find more of Dewis’ videos on LensVid on this link.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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