If you take many photos with natural light, you will know the types of problems they can cause.
When it is cloudy, the light is flat and its shots look boring. And when the sun rises, it casts deep and ugly shadows on large parts of his photos.
Fortunately, this second problem is easy to solve. You can do it in Photoshop and sometimes in simpler editing applications. Let's see how to remove shadows from photos.
How to remove shadows from photos with Adobe Photoshop
Shadows are often a problem when shooting in very contrasting conditions, especially in full sun. Since it is more difficult to recover details of overexposed areas, it is better to expose your shot for the brightest parts, such as the sky.
This will often leave you with dark shadows in the foreground. Fortunately, it is quite easy to solve them. Here's how to do it in Photoshop.
First, press Ctrl + J on Windows, or Cmd + J on Mac, to create a copy of your image in a new layer. This will allow you to remove the changes if you need it, simply by removing this layer.
Go to Image> Adjust> Shadows / Highlights . The default settings may do a good job immediately. Otherwise, click Show more options to adjust them.
First, in Shadows adjust the Quantity slider. Move it to the right to illuminate the shadows and to the left to darken them.
Move the slider Tone to the left to reduce the range of shadows you can adjust, and move it to the right to increase it. For example, if you set it to 10, only the darkest areas of your image will be changed, while if it is set to 90, some of the midtones will also light up.
When you are happy, click OK to save the changes.
How to remove shadows from photos without Photoshop
You don't need expensive software to remove shadows in contrasting images. You can also do it in GIMP, the free photo editing application. Simply go to Colors> Shadows-Highlights and drag the slider Shadows to the left or right to make your changes.
Google Photos often correct the contrast of your photos automatically. Otherwise, you can do it manually by going to Edit> Basic Settings> Light and then using the slider Shadows .
And in Apple Photos you can make the same settings using Edit> Light> Options> Shadows .
In fact, virtually all basic image editing applications will be able to carry out this simple solution. Where there is a Shadow slider, it will work in the same way as we have described.
For tougher shadows and more complex editions, you will need Photoshop, GIMP or another full-featured photo editing application.  How to remove hard shadows on faces
The hardest shadows on a person's face, or on the wall behind a subject, are more difficult to fix. They can be a problem when shooting with intense light, such as intense sunlight, or with a flash that points forward.
It is difficult to eliminate these shadows completely, but you can reduce them to a level where they are less distracted. Part of your photo.
We will do it using the Mask tool to paint in some selective shadow settings.
Upload your image in Photoshop. In the Settings panel, click Levels . This will create a new adjustment layer over your image.
Click on the center tab below the Levels chart and drag it to the left until the shadows have reached the brightness level you've & # 39; you are looking for. Do not worry if other parts of the image are too bright, that is only temporary.
Now, with the layer Levels selected, click the Mask button. Invert the mask by pressing Ctrl + I on Windows, or Cmd + I on Mac. Your image will return to its original dark level.
Select the tool Brush and set the color to white. In the bar Options at the top, set the Hardness of the brush to a low figure, about 5 to 10 percent. Also, set Opacity to around 30 to 50 percent. Experiment with different brush sizes on the fly.
Now start painting on the shadows in the image. Where you brush, the shadows will light. Where you do not, they will remain the same.
Because we set the opacity quite low, the effect will be subtle. Brush over the same area several times to increase the effect.
If you accidentally illuminate areas that you want to darken, change the brush to white and repaint over those areas.
How to avoid unwanted shadows
Instead of trying to correct unwanted shadows in your photos, it is better to try to avoid them in the first place.
Nailing the exhibition is one of the most important things in photography. Our article full of photography tips for beginnersexplains the principles of the "Exposure Triangle", understanding that this is the first step in doing well all the time.
However, it is not easy, because you often have no control over the light "shoot again. But there are some things you can try:
- When shooting on a phone, activate the mode Auto HDR This will help reduce contrast and shadows when conditions require it.
- Some dedicated and mirrorless cameras also have a HDR mode. If yours does not, try using the option. Exposure bracketing instead. This takes three separate images in different exposures so you can choose the best one (or merge them all in Photoshop).
- If possible, use a flash outside the body so that can control the direction of light A flash connected to the camera will produce hard shadows and brightness on the subject.
- When you have to use a front flash, hold a sheet of white paper or a card under or to the side. bounce tech light or o the wall to create a more flattering effect. Alternatively, hold a white handkerchief in front of the flash to spread it and soften the light.
- When shooting faces in strong sunlight, hold a piece of white card or paper angled toward the face to reflect the light and soften the shadows.
And if your snapshots keep coming out darker than you'd like, it's easy to learn to lighten underexposed photos. Our guide has all the information you need.