Remove Shadows in Affinity Photo

lights on and off GIF


Did you ever take a picture of someone, and you think it looks great, but later you realize there are shadows on their face? This happens to me all the time. Luckily, we can fix this problem in just a few easy steps.




Step 0: Downloading the Image

For this tutorial, we’ll be using this lovely, but shadowy, portrait.

In addition to this written tutorial, you can also watch our video tutorial on removing shadows from an image.



Step 1: Curves

To brighten the photo, we need to apply a Curves adjustment layer. The shortcut for this is Command M (Mac) or Control M (PC), or you can apply a Curves adjustment by pressing the Adjustment icon.


Click and drag on the middle of the white line in the Dialog Box. This line is called the Spline.

Bringing up the Spline will brighten the whole photo.

Bring up the Spline


Step 2: Paint It On

The shadow has now been removed, but the whole picture is too bright now.

Invert the adjustment by pressing Command I (Mac) or Control I (PC).

Invert the adjustment


Now we can paint the Curves adjustment onto the specific parts of the photo we want brightened.

Select the Paint Brush Tool, and adjust its size by pressing the bracket keys underneath the equal sign on your keyboard.

Select the Paint Brush


Check the Color Panel to make sure you’re painting in white. Also, change your brush to 0% Hardness from the Context Toolbar.

Adjust Brush settings


Paint the adjustment onto the woman’s face.

Paint it on the skin


Step 3: Blend Ranges

At this point, the woman’s face is looking a little too bright, because we’re currently brightening all parts of her face. To fix this, we’ll use Blend Ranges.

We only want to brighten the shadows, not the highlights.

Make sure you still have the Curves Adjustment selected in the Layers Panel, and then press the Gear icon.

Select the Gear icon


To apply the adjustment to just the shadows, take the handle on the far right, and drag it all the way to the bottom of the graph.

Bring down the far right handle

With this same technique, you can easily remove shadows from any photo.

Nice work!

nice work GIF