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Changing the direction of a shadow


New Member
Had a few prom photos last night with my teachers, and with my English teacher's I noticed it was off-balanced, so I decided to move myself to the right of the photo so the teacher was in the centre.
This posed a few problems and, given I'm okay with photoshop, I wasn't really prepared for how much of a challenge this would be.

I think I've done a relatively good job in terms of making myself look as though I was stood there, but the problem is that the shadow on my face is the only thing left that makes me look superimposed, so I need to switch the light and dark sides of my face in a convincing way. I tried this myself by essentially splitting my face into two different layers and then edit the brightness of each and put a gradient so that it looked more like a natural shadow. This didn't really work (though this is probably the way to do it, my amateur skills in photoshop probably make it less successful than if a more experienced editor were to do the same).

Any help on how I can do this properly? And if you're feeling really generous, if you wouldn't mind doing it for me (but I don't really mind having to do it as long as I have a guide to follow).

Original photo:
Photo in its edited state as of writing:

(Just to make it clear - because someone on reddit misunderstood - I'm on the far left and I'm moving myself to the far right)
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Why did you mirror your selection of the guy? for the posture?

In my opinion it's better not to mirror the image because you also mirror de light. If it's for the posture you can try to mirror only the jacket and pants and try to adapt the shirt.

(Hope is understandable with my english) XD



Staff member
(Sorry Argos, I did not see your reply before I posted)

Hello and welcome to PSG.

I realize that you may think it's better to flip yourself in the image because of the stance. However the incredible challenge of flipping the light source would be way more trouble than it's worth, and it will never look right.

Why not just move yourself to the other side without the filp?

I did this rather fast and probably could have moved you back further.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 8.49.06 PM.png


I tried this two ways and neither was satisfactory.
1. As Argos suggested, I tried moving you to the right side of the image without flipping horizontally, which preserves the correct shadows. But the problem is that you are now facing away from everybody else and it doesn't look right.
2. In your PNG image, I tried reversing the shadows on your face using two curves adjustments: One curve lightens the darker side, and the other curve darkens the lighter side. Then I tried combining the two curves using layer masks, but this looked pretty bad.

The good news is that the person in question is you. You can put on the same clothes and go to the same location and take another photo of yourself. Then photoshop that new photo into the original image.

(I posted this before I saw IamSam's reply.)
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