The Drop Shadow tool is one of the most simple and easy to use tools in Photoshop. It gives an object a look of depth to a photo and adds a level of polish.

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In this tutorial we’ll show you how to add a drop shadow to the subject within an image, but this technique can also be used to add this feature to text.

Step 1:

how to apply drop shadow

drop shadow window

When opening the image to edit, you’ll see in the window two layers, one with the object and the other contains the background layer.

Step 2:

Image layer styles

Select the photo object layer and choose Layer > Layer Style > Drop Shadow to apply.

Layer Style Drop Shadow - is the Clipping Path watermark needed? It’s distracting.

Step 3:

layer style-drop shadow

Select the Effects option so the Effect pallet appears. Then click the Layer Style icon.

blending option

With the Layer Style window open, check the Drop Shadow box from the Styles menu and a list of more options appears, enabling you to choose additional effects like Inner Shadow, Outer Shadow, and Inner Glow.

Step 4:

Blend mode drop-down menu

You can also change the structure and quality of the shadow by selecting a the Blend Mode > Multiply from drop-down menu.

Step 5:

Drop shadow opacity setting

To increase or decrease the transparency of the drop shadow, change the Opacity by using the slide bar or entering the percentage in the option box.

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Step 6:

Angle option lighting

You can add a lighting effect to the drop shadow by increasing or decreasing the percentage of the Angle Option.

Step 7:

Distance option drop shadow

As the Distance Option is moved on the slider, it changes the position of the shadow.

Step 8:

Spread option drop shadow

The Spread Option should be used sparingly, as the quality decreases the higher the setting.

Step 9:

Size of the drop shadow

The Size setting allows you to control the shadow’s size, with a small setting the drop shadow appears sharper, and as the setting size increases, the drop shadow begins to blur.

Step 10:

Contour anti-aliased drop shadow

Use the Contour and Anti-aliased option to control the quality of the shadow. The contour curve displays how the shadow fades from drop shadow to transparency. Anti-alias mergers the edges of the contour and provides a clean finish.

Step 11:

Layer knocks out drop shadow

The final step is checking the box “Layer Knocks Out Drop Shadow” that controls the visibility of the drop shadow. And you’re done!

Final drop shadow image

To learn more Photoshop techniques, check out similar tutorials “How To Create A Realistic Drop Shadow” and “Image Masking Using the Magic Wand Tool.”

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Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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