How To Remove Shadows In Lightroom

Proven Steps on How To Remove Shadows In Lightroom

You don’t have to rely on online tools to remove shadows from photos. Learning how to remove shadows in Lightroom would let you get a faster workflow. Most professional photographers love post-processing with the following software. Right now, we will go over beginner-friendly steps to remove shadows on Lightroom. 

Shadows are a lot common while you shoot images outdoors. Even though you make proper lighting arrangements, the shadows can still co-exist in the photographs.

As a result, It’s better to make adjustments later in the post-production phase with Lightroom. Thus, you only need to go through a few simple steps and the shadows will be gone.

Guideline on How To Remove Shadows In Lightroom

Removing shadows in Lightroom only takes a few steps to complete. With the following guideline, you could effectively remove harsh shadows in the Lightroom. It doesn’t take much time to follow the below-mentioned steps.

We will use several built-in sliders of Lightroom to edit images. Along with built-in sliders, we would use brush adjustments to remove shadows on particular image areas. In short, it’s a simple-to-follow tutorial to get started.

Step 1: Work with Global Adjustments

Global Adjustments

First, open your image on the Lightroom software. You could drag and drop or import images from the library module. Afterward, check into the “Develop” section from the built-in interface.

Global Adjustments second image

Now you would get a bunch of controlling sliders. Find out the “Shadow” slider and drag it to the right. Make sure the value is set to +100. 

Once you are done, check out the “Highlight” slider and decrease it down to at least -40. 

To make the image more balanced you need to further increase the “Exposure” slider. But don’t increase the value too much, as it could burn out the image. 

As an optional step, Decrease the “Contrast” option a bit. It increases detail in the image which helps you make the image look natural.

Note: All of the following effects are global adjustments. This means the changes could affect the whole image at once.

Step 2: Use Lightroom Brush Tool

Now you need to use a Lightroom adjustment brush tool to remove the shadows which are available on your photos. You could find the Brush tool option at the top part of the Develop panel in the Lightroom interface.

Before you start with the brush tool, you need to configure the settings in the right format. 

Lightroom Brush Tool

Brush Settings: At first set the feathers of the brush to the highest amount. Afterward, increase the shadow parameter to +100 as well. Don’t forget to turn on the Auto-Mask features of the brush as well. Press the “O” from Keyboard to turn on the overlay. It would help you to see the area where you have brushed in. Lastly, customize the brush size and opacity of the brush to your likings. 

After you set up the brush set, zoom into the image area with shadow. Now start brushing onto the shadows. Keep brushing until you cover the shadow area. In the end, you could turn off the overlay to check the result.

Using a brush tool you could remove shadows on the face, skin, and surrounding areas.

remove shadows on the face

Note: If you want to remove extra brushed areas, turn off the Auto-Mask, and turn on the overlay. Then brush on the areas you want to remove.

Step 3: Improve The Image Contrast

Improve The Image Contrast

As you brush on the areas with shadows, sometimes the areas might get unwanted contrasts. Which can create uneven contrast between the brighter and darker areas of the image. 

To improve the image contrast, use the Lightroom brush adjustments. 

Check out the “Temp” slider at the adjustment settings. Drag the temp slider to the right side which contains the Yellow-colored area. 

It would blend the contrast of the images to make it look more natural. Make sure you don’t pull the slider too close to the right edge.

Step 4: Use Range Mask Technique

Use Range Mask Technique

With the range mask technique, you could help you out to remove the brush adjustments from the brightest image areas. In the following technique, Lightroom calculates image luminance and determines image areas where the effects should not be applied. 

Note: It would help you to remove the dark shadow without affecting the over-saturated areas of the image.

Step 5: Improve Color Vibrance

Improve Color Vibrance

As a final step, find out the “Vibrance” slider in the Lightroom interface. Click and drag the slider to the right side. It would improve the vibrance of the overall image. Make sure you don’t drag the slider too much as it could damage the image aesthetics.

Once you complete the final touch upon your image, save the image file. To export the edited image, go to File > Export. Afterward, select the Hard Drive at the “Export To” section and choose the destination. Click on the Export button at the end.

FAQs on Removing Shadows In Lightroom

Below we are listing some of the most common questions on how to remove shadows from pictures in Lightroom.

Possibly the best way to prevent shadows while taking photos is to use better lighting equipment. Tools like the best softbox or umbrella lighting can help you to avoid shadows. In post production you could use Lightroom presets to eliminate shadows in images. Either way, it’s better to have basic edits even if the image doesn't feature any shadows.

In Lightroom, you get an exposure slider in the Develop module. Using the following slider you could manage the exposure of the image as you like. To decrease the exposure, slide the bar to the left side. On sliding the bar to the right to increase the exposure.

When you load images on Lightroom, it shows you the JPEG preview of the RAW Image. All of the adjustment effects are applied to the RAW file format of the image. As a result, you don’t get changes on the exact JPEG preview of the image.


Once you master the craft of how to remove shadows in Lightroom, your image would be well lit. As Lightroom is great at removing shadows, you don’t need an extensive skill set to get off the mark. With only a few minutes and steps, you could complete the whole process. 

Make sure you don’t overdo any of the sliders within the Lightroom. Other than that, everything would be fine to go on. Thus, each of the steps is crucial to getting better results on your images. Always try to avoid over-exposure to images. In case you get any issues, use the Range Mask to solve them.

Emma Rivett

Emma Rivett


“Emma Rivett is a brand photographer and copywriter who has a strong tendency to prepare, change and teach. Her photographic works were published in Uppercase, Travel + Leisure, Gayot Guide, Paula Deen Cooking, Design Guide, the NHOME Magazine, Urban Home, etc. Helping creative businesspeople create an online brand and PS”

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