|This article presents an adaptation of a factorization technique to tackle the photometric stereo problem. That is to recover the surface normals and reflectance of an object from a set of images obtained under different lighting conditions. The main contribution of the proposed approach is to consider pixels in shadow and saturated regions as missing data, in order to reduce their influence to the result. Concretely, an adapted Alternation technique is used to deal with missing data. Experimental results considering both synthetic and real images show the viability of the proposed factorization-based strategy. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Imaging Syst Technol, 21, 115–119, 2011.