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How to Effortlessly Add Shadows to Shopify Product Images

Written by Cody

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Adding shadows to product images enhances realism and improves conversion rates.
  • PhotoRoom is a recommended platform for creating realistic shadows easily.
  • Consistent shadow use in images can enhance brand recognition and professionalism.

I’ve been in the e-commerce space for just over five years now. And you know what I always thought was WAY harder than it should have been?

Adding realistic shadows to products…

I know, I know it’s nothing crazy but I always thought it had to be an easier way to add a product shadow than to be a Photoshop wizard.

And I’m not just talking about a simple drop shadow. No, no I want a realistic shadow that comes at an angle, will dynamically change with the size/shape of the product, and can be applied within a matter of seconds.

Well folks, I’ve finally found it. The platform I now use to create realistic product image shadows is …drumroll… PhotoRoom.

In this article, I’ll get into why you should be adding shadows to your product photos, the possibilities now that you can easily add shadows, and I’ll even go through a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it.

Why Use Shadows Anyway?

Shadows in product photography aren’t just a fancy add-on; they’re a game-changer.

Think about it. When you scroll through an online store, what catches your eye? It’s those crisp, lifelike images that pop off the page, right?

That’s exactly what shadows do—they breathe life into product images.

But it’s more than just aesthetics. Adding shadows is about crafting a visual experience that tells your customers, “Hey, this product isn’t just another item on your screen; it’s something tangible and desirable.”

This in turn increases conversion rates. OnlineDasher states that high-quality product photos have proven to yield a 94% higher conversion rate compared to low-quality ones.

Of course, just because you have a fancy shadow doesn’t mean you can forgo other important elements of the image like the size, color balance, lighting, etc.


Take this image for example:

If you saw this as a consumer you would think… hmm that just looks like a vase with the background removed and a solid colored applied. And you’d be right! It doesn’t look natural at all.

Now how about this?

Add a little shading to the background and a small shadow to the vase and now it looks a whole lot more realistic.

Consistent Shadows Help Build Brand Recognition

When we talk about brand recognition, every detail counts, and shadows are no exception.

Consistent use of shadows in your product images can become a part of your brand identity.

This consistency in imagery creates a cohesive look across your platform, making your brand appear more professional and trustworthy.

It’s not just about making your products look good; it’s about creating a brand experience that’s uniquely yours.

Shadows Help Increase Conversions

These days you need to do everything you can to stand out from the competition and compete with the big boys.

But, if you’re a small business then you likely don’t have a very big budget.

You can’t go out and hire professional photographers to capture the perfect natural shadow or hire expensive editors to add them in for you.

The thing is, in a world of Instagram and visually appealing content you need to step up your game.

With 83% of purchase decisions being influenced by product images, your products need to look top notch and that means nice shadows.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Adding Realistic Shadows to Product Images

Okay, so here it is, the super easy way to add instant shadows with PhotoRoom.

Step 1: Sign Up for a PhotoRoom Account

PhotoRoom offers a free version but alas, the instant shadow feature isn’t included. So, you’ll need to sign up for the paid plan.

Step 2: Upload an Image

Drag and drop your image into PhotoRoom

Step 3: Add the Shadow

Select the “Instant Shadows” option from the menu and choose the type of shadow you want. I usually go for “Soft”.

Step 4: Add a Background (If You Want)

Depending on what I’m doing I either add a shaded background color or generate an AI background (Yes, PhotoRoom does that too).

For my shaded background, I usually choose a solid color and then add a couple of angles of light. Here’s an SVG if you want to use mine.

Here’s an example of the finished product:

Looks pretty good to me!

What are the 3 Types of Shadows?

PhotoRoom can do a soft shadow, a hard shadow, and a floating shadow.

Although not all-encompassing it will probably get the job done in 90% of the cases.

That being said, there are primarily three types of shadows you can utilize to enhance your product photos: natural shadows, drop shadows, and reflection shadows.

Let’s dive into each type and see how they can elevate your product imagery.

Natural Shadows

Natural shadows are the real deal. They’re what you see in everyday life, the kind of shadow that’s cast by natural light sources like the sun or indoor lighting. In product photography, creating a natural shadow involves simulating how light falls on and around your product, creating a realistic and subtle effect.

It’s all about mimicking how the item would look in a natural setting, adding a layer of authenticity that resonates with the potential customer.

Drop Shadows

Drop shadows are the crisp, distinct shadows that appear directly beneath or behind the product, giving it a grounded and tangible look. Think of it as the shadow that “drops” from your product onto the surface beneath it.

Drop shadows are great for making your products pop against the background, adding depth and dimension.

Reflection Shadows

Ever seen a product that looks like it’s sitting on a shiny surface, with a subtle reflection beneath it? That’s the work of a reflection shadow.

This type of shadow adds a sophisticated, luxurious feel to your product images, often used for high-end products like jewelry, watches, and tech gadgets.

Reflection shadows give the impression that the product is not just sitting on a surface, but interacting with it, creating an almost mirror-like effect. It’s a fantastic way to elevate the perceived value of your product.

How Do I Shadow an Image in Canva?

Okay, so we’ve covered how to create realistic shadows easily and what different types of shadows exist.

But what about for you Canva users?

Can Canva create realistic product shadows? In my opinion… not as well as PhotoRoom.

You see Canva offers 3 different shadow options:

  • Glow
  • Drop
  • Outline

In my opinion, Drop will provide you with the closest version of a realistic shadow but it isn’t quite there for me.

Here’s an example of what a Canva Drop shadow might look like using the same image above.

Meh… just fair. The drop shadow doesn’t behave dynamically and is applied to the whole underside of the shoes. The type of shadow certainly looks better than none at all but it doesn’t look as natural as PhotoRoom’s.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the app that adds shadows to photos?

PhotoRoom uses the power of AI to instantly add realistic shadows to your product images. It offers a range of shadow effects, allowing users to create realistic and dynamic shadows in their product images quickly and easily.

Can you add a shadow in Canva?

You can add a Glow, Drop, or Outline shadow with Canva. However, it doesn’t produce natural results and you’re better off going with another solution like PhotoRoom or using PhotoShop if you’d rather fine-tune it yourself.

Should product photos have shadows?

Product photos often benefit from having shadows as they add depth, realism, and a professional touch. Shadows can enhance the presentation and make products appear more tangible and appealing to customers.

How do you prevent shadows in product photography?

To prevent shadows in product photography, use diffused lighting and position lights strategically to minimize harsh shadows. Softboxes or diffusers can be used to spread light evenly, reducing the intensity of shadows cast by the product.

About Cody
I teach others how to start and run online businesses. From scaling a 7-figure e-commerce brand to ranking #1 on Google for various keywords, I can help you do the same.

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