How to Adjust the Shadows of a Photo on Your iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adjusting the shadows of a photo on your iPhone can be easily accomplished through the native Photos app. Just open the photo you want to edit, tap ‘Edit’ in the top right corner, and use the ‘Shadows’ slider in the Light section to lighten or darken the shadows. It’s that simple!

After completing this action, the shadows in your photo will either be lightened or darkened based on your preference, allowing the details in darker areas to become more visible or giving the image a more dramatic look.


When it comes to photography, the manipulation of light and shadow can make or break an image. Shadows, in particular, add depth and dimension to photos, but sometimes they can obscure important details or detract from the overall aesthetic. That’s where the ability to adjust shadows comes in handy, especially for iPhone users who use their phones as a primary camera. Whether you’re a professional photographer, a social media enthusiast, or just someone who likes to capture life’s moments, knowing how to tweak the shadows in your pictures can elevate your photography game.

In today’s world, where visual content reigns supreme, a well-edited photo can stand out amongst the noise. Adjusting shadows can help in highlighting features, enhancing textures, or setting a mood. It’s a powerful tool in the arsenal of photo editing options and with the iPhone’s intuitive interface, making those adjustments has never been easier. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of shadow adjustments and turn those good photos into great ones.

Step by Step Tutorial to Adjust Shadows on an iPhone

This tutorial will guide you through the steps of adjusting the shadows in your photos using your iPhone.

Step 1: Open the Photos app and select the photo you want to edit.

Choose the image that needs shadow adjustment from your library.

The Photos app is where all your images are stored. You can scroll through your library or albums to find the photo you wish to edit. Once you’ve found it, simply tap on it to open.

Step 2: Tap ‘Edit’ in the top right corner of the screen.

Enter the editing mode to begin making changes to your photo.

Tapping ‘Edit’ will shift the interface to editing mode, where you’ll see various tools for making adjustments to your photo. These tools include filters, cropping, and adjustment settings for light, color, and B&W.

Step 3: Select the Light option and find the ‘Shadows’ slider.

Navigate to the section dedicated to adjusting light settings.

The Light option is represented by a dial icon. Once you’ve tapped it, you’ll find different settings including Exposure, Highlights, and Shadows. The Shadows slider specifically controls the darkness or lightness of the shadow areas in your photo.

Step 4: Drag the ‘Shadows’ slider to the right to lighten shadows or to the left to darken them.

Adjust the slider until you’re satisfied with the shadow detail.

Sliding to the right will reduce the darkness of shadows, potentially revealing hidden details. Sliding to the left will increase the darkness, which can add depth or a more dramatic effect to your image.

Step 5: Tap ‘Done’ to save your changes.

Finalize your edits and save them to your photo.

Once you’re happy with the shadow adjustment, simply tap ‘Done’. Your photo will be saved with the new settings applied, and you can then share or keep it in your library.


Enhanced DetailsAdjusting shadows can bring out details in darker areas of an image that were not visible before.
Creativity and ControlYou have the freedom to creatively control the mood and atmosphere of your photos by manipulating shadows.
Improved AestheticsProperly adjusted shadows can significantly improve the overall look of an image, making it more pleasing to the eye.


Over-adjustment IssuesIt’s possible to overdo the adjustment, leading to unrealistic images or loss of natural contrast.
Time ConsumingPerfecting shadow adjustments may require time and patience, which might not be ideal for quick edits.
Potential for Quality LossExcessive lightening of shadows might introduce noise or grain into the photo, reducing its quality.

Additional Information

While adjusting shadows is a straightforward process, there are a few extra tidbits to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s always better to shoot with the highest quality setting on your iPhone to ensure that when you do edit shadows, you don’t lose detail or introduce noise. Also, be mindful of the overall lighting in your photo. Adjusting shadows should be done in balance with other light settings like brightness, contrast, and exposure.

In the world of photo editing, subtlety is often key. Minor adjustments can significantly impact the feel of an image. Sometimes, less is more, and a slight tweak to the shadows can naturally enhance a photo without making it look over-processed. Remember, editing shadows on your iPhone is not just about lightening or darkening areas; it’s about shaping the light in a way that complements the subject of your photo.

Lastly, don’t forget to experiment! The best way to learn and improve your photo editing skills is by trying out different adjustments and seeing what works for your images. With each photo you edit, you’ll get a better sense of how shadows affect the mood and message you’re trying to convey.


  1. Open the Photos app and select the photo you want to edit.
  2. Tap ‘Edit’ in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Select the Light option and find the ‘Shadows’ slider.
  4. Drag the ‘Shadows’ slider right to lighten or left to darken shadows.
  5. Tap ‘Done’ to save your changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I undo the shadow adjustment if I don’t like it?

Yes, you can undo the adjustment by going back into edit mode and resetting the slider, or you can revert to the original photo by tapping ‘Revert’.

Will adjusting shadows affect the rest of the lighting in my photo?

While the main focus is on the shadows, adjusting them can slightly impact the overall lighting. It’s important to fine-tune other settings to maintain a balanced look.

Is there a way to adjust shadows on multiple photos at once?

Currently, the iPhone’s Photos app does not support batch editing, so you’ll need to adjust the shadows on each photo individually.

Can I edit photos taken in Portrait mode?

Yes, you can edit Portrait mode photos just like any other photo, including adjusting the shadows.

Do I need any third-party apps to adjust shadows?

No, you can adjust shadows directly in the iPhone’s native Photos app without any additional software.


Mastering the art of shadow adjustment on your iPhone can truly transform your photos from good to great. It’s an essential skill for any aspiring iPhone photographer and one that can make a world of difference in your images. With the steps outlined in this article, you’re well on your way to becoming proficient in manipulating light and shadow to create stunning, dynamic photos.

Remember to keep experimenting, stay subtle, and most importantly, have fun with the process. Happy editing!