How to Remove Shadow from Picture Using Optics Plus the 5 Best Apps for Removing Shadows

Avatar photo Marco Sebastiano Alessi | March 14, 2024

Taking photos with your mobile phone or a camera too close to the subject can sometimes introduce an unwanted shadow in the scene. Shadows in your pictures can look stylish when you add them on purpose, but other times, they can have a negative impact on your picture. Removing unwanted shadows from photos requires post-editing processes, but not everyone has the skills or time to do so.

Fortunately, there are a variety of photo editing apps, such as Optics or Snapseed, that provide features to remove unwanted shadows from your photos. With tools like the healing brush, you can easily eliminate the shadows and enhance your image's artistic appeal.

In today's article, I'll show you how to remove shadows from photos using Optics by Boris FX and then provide beginner-friendly alternatives for shadow removal on your mobile phone.

Let's get rid of shadows!

How to Remove Shadow from Picture with Boris FX Optics

how to remove shadow from picture

Optics is an effects plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom and can also be used as a standalone application for photo editing and composition. With Optics, you have over 180 filters and thousands of presets to create unique looks, with color correction and color grading tools as well as being able to add particles to your photos.

You can remove shadows from your photos in different ways depending the characteristics of the image and on whether they are on a face, skin, or in the background. It's all about experimenting with the powerful filters and presets provided by Optics.

  • Step 1: Import the Photo with Unwanted Shadows

    Go to File > Open in the standalone app and find the photo you want to edit.

    You can find Optics in Photoshop under Filters > Boris FX. In Lightroom, right-click and select to edit the image with Optics.

  • Step 2: Create Masks

    Create a mask to add the filter into a specific section of your image, like the shadowed area, or to isolate objects you don't want affected by the filter. The mask button is beside the 'Add Layer' icon on the layers panel.

    You can create different types of masks, choose the one you prefer, and start drawing your mask. You can create multiple masks on the same layer to cover the shadows.

    For example, if the shadow is on two surfaces with different color shades, it would be best to create two masks in two different layers to apply different filters to remove the shadows. If you need to copy the masks, click and drag them to another layer or select 'duplicate layer.'

  • Step 3: Apply Filters

    Select a filter from the categories at the bottom. If you add multiple filters, you must add a new layer each time you want to apply effects to your photos. With the number of options from Optics, try a few to see which one works best. Here are some options that have worked for me to remove shadows.

    • I've used color correction and curves in the color category for solid color surfaces like walls and floors.

    • You can use the Light category to add a light source, such as ambient lights or glows for outdoor shots.

    • The Diffusion/Blur category has some interesting filters for skin and faces, like Beauty Studio, Frost, Halo, and Fog.

      All these filters have presets and can be customized from the Parameters panel to adjust the brightness of the lights, the blending, smoothness, and more. If necessary, you can stack filters to remove the shadow. Using masks, you can smooth the edges with blur and adjust the shape to ensure it covers and removes most of the shadow.

  • Step 4: Clean Up the Image

    The last step is to clean up the shadow removal. Occasionally, when using masks, the edges might be noticeable. You can clean up the edges and some details from the shadow removal with the Paint filter.

    Go to the Image category and select Paint.

    This filter has only one preset, and the Paint toolbar will appear at the top of the screen. There, you'll find the clone, repair, and blur tools. The clone can help you restore some detail from the surface or skin where the filters remove shadows.

    If you're trying to remove shadows in a solid color on a surface, apply the Paint filter first and remove the shadow with the clone tool. Then, use the repair tool to smooth the shadow removal.

5 Best Apps to Remove Shadow from a Photo

These are some of the best apps to remove shadows from photos. If you're looking for an easy-to-use shadow remover tool, these AI-powered photo editing apps remove shadows with good results.

  • Adobe Photoshop Express

    Adobe Photoshop is an excellent photo editing tool, and its mobile app features most of the photo editing tools you would expect from the Adobe desktop application.

    The advanced healing tool works like Photoshop for desktop, allowing you to remove unwanted objects like shadows and add corrections to make the edit look natural. If you're already a Photoshop user, Adobe Photoshop Express will feel like home to you. It's included in your Photoshop subscription, allowing you to access your Creative Cloud library.

    Download for iOS.

    Download for Android.


    • Friendly user interface.

    • Integration with Google Photos, Dropbox, Facebook, and Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

    • It's included in your Photoshop and Adobe Express subscription.


    • Non-Photoshop users must subscribe to access the advanced healing tool to remove shadows.

  • Snapseed

    Snapseed is a photo editor mobile app developed by Google. It's a free photo editing app with no premium features or in-app purchases. It offers basic editing tools, filters, effects, selective editing, healing tools, curves, film grain, add text, and more.

    The app is simple to use with a sleek design and accessible tools right from the start, like the healing tool to remove shadows. It might not be as powerful as the one in other apps on the list, but this free app can be a great starting point if you need to do some fast patching before uploading your picture online directly from your mobile phone.

    Download for iOS.

    Download for Android.


    • Free.

    • Easy-to-use.

    • RAW support.

    • It allows selective edits.


    • The healing and retouching tools are less advanced than other apps.

    • Tools could be more precise for advanced editing.

  • PhotoDirector

    PhotoDirector is an AI-powered photo editing app for Android and iOS. With PhotoDirector, you can remove unwanted shadows, objects, and people and change the background with a simple tap. It features filters and effects for color correction, make-up, light rays, animated photos, and more. The AI-powered editing tools allow you to change your photo style to sketch, anime, avatar, cartoon, and sky replacement.

    Download on iOS.

    Download on Android.


    • Easy to use interface.

    • Advanced editing tools and effects.

    • AI styles.


    • Stability issues and bugs.

  • TouchRetouch

    TouchRetouch is a mobile app for removing shadows, blemishes, people, and unwanted objects from your photos. It uses AI-powered editing features to remove accurate objects and shadows with one touch. Use one of the tools to remove shadows and select the area you wish to remove. TouchRetouch tools include the lasso tool for selection, brushes, an eraser, a clone, and more.

    TouchRetouch is free to download, but you must pay the subscription to use it or try it for three days.

    Download for iOS.

    Download for Android.


    • AI technology

    • Auto modes

    • User-friendly interface.


    • It does not have any other editing tools, like filters.

    • Subscription is billed yearly and only has a 3-day free trial.

  • YouCam Perfect

    YouCam Perfect is a photo editor app targeted at selfies. It can easily remove shadows from faces using AI tools to remove objects and change backgrounds. It features generative AI tools to create avatars or change clothes, beauty tools, filters, and animated effects. The AI used to remove shadows uses content-aware fill to replace the pixels of the harsh shadows with nearby ones, similar to other AI removal tools, including Photoshop.

    YouCam Perfect has a 7-day free trial. After that period, you must pay for a subscription to continue using it.

    Download for iOS.

    Download for Android.


    • AI removal tool ideal as a shadow remover.

    • Filter and animated effects.


    • There is no free version, only a 7-day free trial.

Final Words

Now that everyone can take good-quality pictures with their mobile phones, removing shadows from photos is a common procedure. The apps in these lists use artificial intelligence to remove shadows quickly, so you can download and try them to find the best shadow remover app for you.

If you take photos with professional cameras, consider using professional tools like Optics to enhance your images beyond removing shadows. You can download a free trial to experiment and try its features as a plug-in and with the standalone version.

If you do not want to struggle with removing shadows, consider these tips for avoiding shadows in your photos:

Reduce the use of flash and procure to use natural sources of light.

Find the best angle for your photo where no shadows are cast.

Keep more distance between the subject and the camera.

Add more light sources and place them carefully so as not to create more unwanted shadows.

Good luck!


How Can I Remove Shadows from a Picture for Free?

You can remove shadows from any editor by adjusting the shadows and highlights, but this could take a lot of time, and the result will depend on the image's quality and type of shadows. Snapseed is seemingly the best free photo shadow remover.