How to get rid of Shadows in a portrait

i need help with PS CS4. the problem im having is with shadows. i usually take portraits
of my family. we have a white painted wall which they stand infront off and everytime i get
a shadow of part of their head and part of their body and i have a hard time removing these shadows
your best replies will need an example there are all sorts of ways to do it, it all depends on the image and how detailed the shadows are. It could be possible, then again it might not look so good .........clone tool, recolor,delete, lighting filters........etc,etc
Answering generally, I use 3 easy methods which are
1. Shadow/Hilight
2. Curves
3. make a dup of your layer and change it to "screen" mode.
can you explain me in easy steps im new at this...please
All of these will require a mask.

1 Shadow highlight. Duplicate the layer. Go to Image/adjustment/shadow highlight. Play with the shadow amount and tone until the shadow you don't like is much reduced or matches the rest of the wall. Alt or Opt + click on the mask Icon at the bottom of the layer pallet. You will get a black mask hiding the adjustment. Paint on the mask with white to reveal the adjustment to just the shadow you want to remove. If your mask looks too edgy blur it some with Gaussian blur located in the filters menu. This works even better if you know how to use a smart object filter, because you can keep redoing the adjustment until it looks right.

2. Since you are new to this, just stay away from curves. It will just drive you nuts. But invest some time in learning what curves do, because you can fix a lot of things with them.

3. Screen: Duplicate the layer and change the layer mode to screen in the mode slot at the top of the layer pallet. You will notice that the whole picture will get brighter. Alt or opt + click on the mask icon again. That will hide all the brightness. Using a soft brush with white on the mask paint away the shadows you don't like. If your mask looks too edgy blur it some with Gaussian blur located in the filters menu.
The best way to "remove" shadows is to get them right when you take the picture. You can:

-have the person stand further from the wall
-use multiple lights
-use different kinds of light modifiers (i.e. softboxes, umbrellas, etc) on your lights to help give more diffused, soft lighting.

You should read some photography lighting books and do some Google searching. You'll be amazed by what you can find :D


Retired Administrator
Like David said, in future photographs, bounce a flash off of a neutral wall or ceiling, also move the subjects away from the wall as far as possible.
As for how to fix what you have now, there are a lot of ways depending on the situation, a couple of things have already been mentioned.
iDad suggested you post something here for a better answer.
Use a "back light" to wash the background with illumination. No shadows in the first place.

There are many references to proper lighting techniques if you search photography lighting topics.

Hope this helps.