How to add a drop shadow to an image

Here’s how to use Pages to quickly add a drop-shadow to an image.  This is what it looks like:

Apple with Drop Shadow

There are two steps – removing the background and adding the shadow.

1. Removing the background

First you need to remove the background, otherwise the shadow will be on the whole box instead of the object.

1) Click on the image.

Apple With Background

2) From the ‘Format’ menu at the top of the screen, under the ‘Image’ submenu click ‘Instant Alpha’.


A little crosshair target and box with instructions should appear.

Instant Alpha

3) Click and drag on the backgound. A blue highlighted area should spread over the image in areas that have a similar colour as where you first clicked. The further you drag the mouse, the larger the selected area will get. When you let go of the mouse, the selected area will be removed, so try to select as much of the background as you can without any of the actual picture changing colour. You can repeat this several times if you don’t delete the whole background in one go. When you have finished, either click ‘Done’ or press the return key.


alpha2Instant Alpha

2. Adding the Shadow

Once the background is gone, you can add the shadow.

1) Click on ‘Format’ button with the picture of a paint brush so that the sidebar pops out.

2) Click on the ‘Style’ heading at the top of the side bar.

3) From the ‘Shadow’ drop down menu, select ‘Drop Shadow’. If there is no ‘Shadow’ menu, click on your image and the menu should appear.

Format, Drop Shadow

Your image should now have a shadow on it.

If you want, you can adjust the blur, offset, opacity, angle and colour of the shadow, using the settings in the sidebar.

Drop Shadow SettingsApple with Drop Shadow


Now you have a picture with a nice shadow on it.

If you want to use this picture in a different program, you can ‘Export’ it as a jpg using the ‘Share’ menu in Pages, or you can take a screenshot.


7 responses to “How to add a drop shadow to an image”

  1. your photo drop shadow is really good and moe effective. I have got more idea from this post. thank you so much for his best idea

    1. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. ben

    Hi, I want to add a drop shadow, any way to this in “preview” not on “pages”?

    1. Preview can’t do it.

  3. Great job! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

  4. Axu

    Very helpful. Thanks.

  5. Danny

    Thanks for the help. This is just what I was looking for. You can make the cutting out of your ‘green apple’ easier with the “Smart Lasso” feature in Preview. Its easy to switch between the two programs using preview to cutout and pages to add shadow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.