How to Remove Shadows from the Face in Photoshop

Don’t want to call your client back to schedule a reshoot because of unwanted shadows on the face?

In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you how to remove those unwanted shadows from the face in Photoshop.

I recently had a Photo Session with a client where I totally screwed the pooch on the photos I took of the little boy, and because I DID NOT want to call up the client and have to reschedule, I had to figure it out in Photoshop.

Remember: The goal of any good Composite Photographer is to be as “Convincing” as possible, not as real as possible.

So, here’s a quick rundown of how I removed the shadows to create a convincing looking portrait.

Step 1: Lightroom Tweaks

adobe lightroom settings for removing shadows on the face

In Adobe Lightroom, you’re going to want to make these simple changes.

Shadows: Bring up to +100
Highlights: Bring down to -100
Blacks: Bring up to just before black areas look milky
Exposure: Adjust as desired

Step 2: Photoshop Tweaks

photoshop overlay blend mode for removing shadows on the face

In Adobe Photoshop, you’re going to create a layer to add a blend mode of Overlay.

photoshop brush color settings for removing shadows from the face

With the colors set to Black and White

photoshop brush opacity and flow settings for removing shadows from the face

set your brush Opacity to 100% and your brush Flow to 1%.

using black and white paint shadows out of face

Going over chosen areas multiple times, simply paint in using white the areas you want to lighten and using black the areas you want to darken.

removing shadows before and after in photoshop

As you can see, hopefully, after applying this technique for removing shadows in Photoshop, the face looks much better and comes across as Convincing.

That’s a Wrap

Of course, it’s always better to solve shadow problems in camera, making your time editing much less and easier, but fixing your shadows in Photoshop is much better than having to call your client back to reschedule another Photo Session.

Leave a comment below and tell me how you can use this shadow removal technique in your work?

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