Drop Shadow in Photoshop

Drop shadow in Photoshop is an artistic way to gain a natural shadow. Well, this is not real but a realistic drop shadow Photoshop operation will amaze you. For product images in the online marketplace, you need to rely on this one.

But, why should you use artificial shadows when you can capture images with natural shadows? Well, here is the stop where you need to focus and we will discuss it in detail.

We use the Drop Shadow to achieve the most attractive view of the product image. But, the Photoshop Shadow effect is not limited to product images only. The addition of the shadow is applicable to other image subjects as well.

Drop Shadow is an Adobe Photoshop technique. You do not need to achieve the best shadow during photography. The best part is, whether you have a shadow in the image or not, you can always add this one easily and effectively.

The amazing thing is, that there is no Drop Shadow in Photoshop definition you can use. But, the editing you can do with it can define all.

Steps to Create Shadow Effect in Photoshop

The Location

Photoshop has an FX effect where you will get the Drop Shadow window. The FX effect is also known as the ‘Add a layer style’ when you place the mouse pointer on it. Also, you will get multiple options with this. Well, we are not going to discuss them here in this tutorial.

Drop Shadow in photoshop

You can click on the ‘FX’ button to add a Drop Shadow and select the option. Or, just double-click on the layer you want to apply. A new window will open where you will get the option just at the end of the tree.

Drop Shadow in photoshop tutorial

Cutout Image Subject

Before we implemented the Drop Shadow, we cut out the subject from a Raster image. Always remember, that the shadow you can add will depend on the subject that you select.

If you do not cut out the subject, Photoshop Drop Shadow will count the whole image as the subject. And, the shadow implementation will be imperfect.

On the other hand, if you try to add this effect to your background layer, you will see no changes. So, better to cut out the subject first. And, add the Drop Shadow under it.

By the way, Clipping Path Services are best for cut-out hard edges subjects. For soft-edged subjects, use Image Masking for the best result.

photoshop technique to create shadow

Drop Shadow Settings

When you separate the subject from the whole image, it is time to add the shadow. Click the ‘FX’ button at the bottom of the layers window and you will see another window opened.

You can change the settings in order to match the shadow with the subject. And, these are the Photoshop elements of how to add Drop Shadow with the subject.


Blend Mode

The Blend Mode is ‘Multiply’ by default. And, this one is for darkening the shadow. The common property of a shadow is darkness. So, this Blend Mode Multiply is the right choice.


Right beside the Blend Mode option, you will find the color. You can choose any color from the panel and apply that as a shadow. According to the common property, the color is black by default.


You can control the opacity from this panel. The higher the percentage you choose, the darker the shadow you will get. So, 0% opacity means no shadow. And, 100% opacity means the darkest shadow.


You can choose the angle here. So, at any angle you choose, the shadow will be seen exactly the opposite of the light source. For example, if the light comes from the top of the subject, you need to choose 90°. You will have the Drop Shadow in the opposite direction which is at the bottom of the subject.


To set the shadow distance you need to tune here a little bit. The higher the pixels you choose, the farther the shadow will be. So, make sure you choose the perfect distance. Otherwise, the shadow will look unnatural.


Spread is for the shadow edge’s hardness or softness. A higher percentage of the Spread makes the shadow sharper. Oppositely, the less percentage you use, the shadow will be softer.


The size option of the Drop Shadow is close to the Spread option. The difference is, that Spread works on the edge, and Size works on the overall shadow. The more pixels you use for the size, the shadow will be gradually lighter from its own center.


In the Contour panel, you can choose the type of shadow. You will have the liberty to choose from twelve options. Not only that, here you can adjust the level of the Contour. First, select the option from the down arrow option you want to use. Then, click on the levels preview. And, you will get the levels option.


The anti-aliased option you can use as an advanced tuning. And, this will give you a smooth and fine Drop Shadow. The difference is very minor and if you are not experienced enough, you may not notice that.


The noise option is optional you can use it for a shadow. Especially, noise is especially appropriate for subjects that have lots of embedded transparencies. Well, you can also use it for any subject to add a different effect.


As an example, we are presenting a Drop Shadow of a football. Well, this is for a concept only. We did not do it more accurately but I am pretty sure you can do the best.

By the way, you may ask, how to add multiple Drop Shadows in Photoshop? You will have a ‘+’ sign with the Drop Shadow in Photoshop CC 2018 and later versions. Click on that and you can have another Drop Shadow option to edit.

Photoshop Tutorial


I hope this tutorial helps. Adobe Photoshop Drop Shadow is quite fascinating if you can apply it properly. The procedure is pretty simple. Well, you need to use your general knowledge to implement it. Also, make sure you understand the preferences well before doing professional work.

Though the process is easy, a simple mistake can ruin the whole impression. So, be passionate and work with accuracy. And, keep in mind, there are no best drop shadow settings in Photoshop. You need to create the best out of it.

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FAQ About Drop Shadow in Photoshop

Question: How to add shade in Adobe Photoshop?

Ans: You can use a couple of techniques in Photoshop to add shade. Drop Shadow is one of them and is very effective in product shadow for e-commerce websites.

Question: How to cast a shadow on a face in Adobe Photoshop?

Ans: Casting a shadow on a face in Photoshop is a tough job if you go through every detail. However, Drop Shadow can help you in some places.

Question: How to edit Drop Shadow in Photoshop?

Ans: In Photoshop, Drop Shadow is an FX effect on the subject. So, the editing is quite simple. Just double-click on the layer that has the shadow and you will have all the options to edit.

Question: How to add shadow in Photoshop CC 2019?

Ans: Adding shadow in Photoshop CC 2019 is quite similar to the other versions. You may not find a massive difference. Only the outlook is better in CC2019.

Question: How to add shadows to text in Adobe Photoshop?

Ans: You can add shadows to the text as well and the process is exactly the same as Drop Shadow. Well, you may have other options in Adobe Photoshop if you need them.