How to Keep Original Shadows While Removing the Background in Photoshop

How to Keep Original Shadows While Removing the Background in Photoshop

Photoshop Post-Processing

One of the most common challenges when removing the background of an image is maintaining the natural shadows that make it look more realistic. Fortunately, Photoshop is a powerful tool that can help you remove backgrounds from your images. But it can also be tricky to keep the original shadows intact. So today, I will show you an easy way to remove the background of an image (while keeping the original shadows) to use over any other background. We'll be using layer masks, blend modes, and adjustment layers to achieve a natural looking result.

Step 1

Open your image in Photoshop. I will use this simple frame to better illustrate the technique, but you can use any image you wish.

Step 2

Using your preferred method, make a selection of the object.

Step 3

With the selection active, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

Step 4

Go to Layer > Duplicate Layer. Name this layer as "Shadows" and click OK.

Step 5

Go to Layer > Arrange > Send to Back.

Step 6

Select the mask thumbnail of the "Shadows" layer. Go to Window > Properties and click the "Invert" button.

Step 7

Make a new layer below the "Shadows" layer using any color (or image) you want for your background. In this case, I will be using a wall image for my background.

Step 8

Select the "Shadows" layer and change the blending mode to "Multiply".

Step 9

You can finish the work here, or you can add one extra layer to better control the shadows. To do that, be sure to have the "Shadows" layer selected and go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels.

Step 10

In the Levels Properties window, click the "Clipping Mask" icon so the levels only affects the shadows.

Step 11

Lastly, adjust the shadows, midtones and highlights levels to your liking.


Keeping the original object shadows from a photo is easy! And you can use this method to place your cut out object over any kind of background you like and adjust the shadows intensity by making adjustments on the levels layer.

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