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How to get rid of hard shadows? - Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator

When doing indoor pictures of people using the flashlight of my F200 camera i cannot avoid to get hard shadows e.g. on the wall behind persons, esp. around the head; i could not find a good way to get rid or ameliorate theese shadows with good results. Which tools do you use? Many thanks for help, Ed (I am quite new to PSE; i learned to use this program mostly from the book from Mikkel Aland; but i could not find a sample dealing with this problem.)...

  1. #1

    Default How to get rid of hard shadows?

    When doing indoor pictures of people using the flashlight of my F200 camera i cannot avoid to get hard shadows e.g. on the wall behind persons, esp. around the head; i could not find a good way to get rid or ameliorate theese shadows with good results.

    Which tools do you use? Many thanks for help,
    Ed

    (I am quite new to PSE; i learned to use this program mostly from the book from Mikkel Aland; but i could not find a sample dealing with this problem.)
    Ed Maurer Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Ed,
    It is difficult to give advice just based on the verbal description, but you might try the following:
    1. duplicate background layer
    2. create new (blank) layer above that
    3. use clone tool over the shadow on the
    new layer, cloning the "good" wall
    over the undesirable shadow.
    Another technique that I have used to correct blemishes is:
    1. duplicate background layer
    2. click eye of this layer to turn
    off visibility
    3. to bottom layer apply dust and
    scratches filter - play with setting
    4. turn on visibility to top layer and
    use eraser tool.
    Ken
    Kenneth Liffmann Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Not exactly an answer to your question, but the best way is to avoid these shadows. I know this is almost impossible with a built in flash, but with vertical images consider holding the camera in a way the flash is on top. This way the shadow will be behind the subject.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Leen,

    I was thinking the same way. Another consideration is to light up the room as much as possible, even though the flash would suffice for the person(s). Of course, that is not always practical or possible.

    Juergen
    JuergenDirrigl Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    There are many ways to avoid these shadows; a second flash on the bacground will do the job properly, just like in a studio, but generally a dark background is the easiest way. When you -and the subject- move away from the background, this background will be darker.

    But this problem usually only occurs with on camera flash. Whenever possible I try to use the ambient light and use a flash just only as a fill to reduce any unwanted contrasts.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Most of the digital cameras don't have a hot shoe, precluding use of a flash gun, unless one has access to a "slave" set-up.
    Hence, the user is forced to use the built in flash in a take it or leave it mode, without much inherent light control. I have been looking over the specs for new cameras as I am considering a purchase. The new Olympus C-750 does have a hot shoe. Then again, the beauty of these cameras is that they are compact and light, and for amateur use it is nice not to have to carry around all sorts of accessories, especially when on a trip. Can't have it both ways obviously.
    I think that the measures outlined to avoid the shadows in the first place are very cogent.
    Ken
    Kenneth Liffmann Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?



    but generally a dark background is the easiest way




    Which possibly answers Ed's question. If the background only can be selected and darkened, that could do the trick for him.

    Juergen
    JuergenDirrigl Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Ed,

    Did you experiement using the "Fill Flash" in PSE? Enhance>Fill Flash... (in Version 1 anyway). A slider will appear to adjust the intensity.

    Nancy
    Nancy S Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    I tried, but it's just doesnot take care of any cast shadows. It just only seems to brighten the brightest parts.

    Leen
    Leen Koper Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Ed, Leen,

    Using curves might also be a viable solution.
    (available from several sources as free third party add-ons)

    Nancy
    Nancy S Guest

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to get rid of hard shadows?

    Many many thanks for all your replies!!
    Kenneth, i just tried your techniques on two of my pictures, especially the first one gave me exactly the result i wanted. Btw i tried to use the clone stamp, but using it on a separate layer and adjusting with transparency as you told makes the big difference!

    Many thanks for the tips avoiding this shadows at the beginning! But with unplanned snapshots and the built in flash they are not avoidable sometimes.

    Nancy, i tried the "Fill flash" feature too, but when the effect on the shadow was sufficient the foreground was overexposed.

    Again i want to thank you all for these very quick and helpful response in this great forum!
    Ed
    Ed Maurer Guest

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