ForeverJoy Designs

Tutorial | Creating Dramatic Shadows for Photos

Hi there! It’s Monica here to show you an easy way to create more dramatic shadows for your photos.
One of my goals this year has is to work on improving my shadows. I typically don’t like to spend an enormous amount of time on the details of my layouts, but I do love the look of more customized shadows.

This tutorial will show you how to create shadows that give your photos a somewhat “curled” look on your layouts.
In this layout, I wanted to give the photo of my twin girls together a bit more dramatic look than everything else on the page in order for it to really stand out. Let’s first take a look at what this photo looked like without any shadow at all.

Pretty bland, right??

In this tutorial, we’re going to take a look at just that one detail of the layout.

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The first thing you will do is apply a shadow style. I use styles for most of my basic shadows and for this I applied a basic paper shadow. Once you click on the style, the shadow will appear on your photo and a little “fx” symbol will appear in your layer palette next to that layer.
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The next thing you want to do is to move this basic shadow to its own layer. To create a new shadow layer: (1) right click on layer effects (fx) beside the selected layer, (2) Select “create layer” option, and (3) Voila! The shadow then appears as its own layer under your photo!
Next we will work on adjusting this shadow layer by making it bigger and free transforming it.
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To make the shadow bigger, click on the newly created shadow layer and then drag from a corner to enlarge it.
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When you click on the corner of the shadow, three buttons will appear at the top of your workspace. The first one looks like a windshield wiper. Click on this button to customize the shadow further.
When you click on that button, a grid-like box will appear around the shadow with little dots around it.
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Click on these dots and drag them to free transform the shadow until you achieve your desired look.
I usually drag the shadow along the sides inward and leave the corners with a larger shadow to create the look of a curled photo.
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Here is the finished layout with the customized shadow for the photo we worked on.

For this layout, I used the adorable Tandem kit. It was perfect for documenting my girls receiving their first bicycle for their fifth birthday!


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