Alibony Lessons for Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Digital Photography

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Photoshop Elements: Add a Drop Shadow

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 7

December 22, 2008

Adding a drop shadow to a photo or object gives it depth and makes it stand out in your photo creations and scrapbook layouts. In Photoshop Elements, it is easy to add drop shadows using layers and layer styles. In this lesson, we'll add a drop shadow to an object and adjust the shadow effects.

Before After

To add a drop shadow:

  1. Open two image files: a background image and the photo or photo object to which you want to add a drop shadow. This example uses a digital paper as background and a cardinal applique as the photo object.
  2. Copy the photo into the background image so that the photo or photo object appears in the layer above the background layer.
  3. In the Layers palette, select the layer that contains the photo or photo object to which you want to add the drop shadow.
  4. From the Windows menu, select Effects to open the Effects palette.
  5. In the Effects palette, click the Layer Styles icon, then select Drop Shadows from the drop-down list.

    Select layer styles
  6. Select the Soft Edge shadow (or any type you want) and click Apply. The effect is applied and a small fx symbol is added to the layer in the Layers palette.

  7. To edit the drop shadow, double-click the fx symbol on the emboss layer. The Style Settings dialogue is displayed.

  8. Adjust the settings as desired and click OK.


If you are adding several photos or elements to the same layout, make sure you use the same shadow settings on each object. After you have applied a style, you can copy the style and paste it into other layers:

  1. To copy the style, select the layer with the style. Right-click and choose Copy Layer Style from the pop-up menu.
  2. To paste a layer style, select the layer to which you want to paste the style. Right-click and choose Paste Layer Style from the pop-up menu.
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Updated on July 31, 2013