In this paper, we proposed a discrete cosine transform (DCT)-based attnuation and accentuation method to remove lighting effects on face images for faciliating face recognition task under varying lighting conditions. In the proposed method, logorithm transform is first used to convert a face image into logarithm domain. Then discrete cosine transform is applied to obtain DCT coefficients. The low-frequency DCT coefficients are attenuated since illumination variations mainly concentrate on the low-frequency band. The high-frequency coefficients are accentuated since when under poor illuminations, the high-frequency features become more important in recognition. The reconstructed log image by inverse DCT of the modified coefficients is used for the final recognition. Experiments are conducted on the Yale B database, the combination of Yale B and Extended Yale B databases and the CMU-PIE database. The proposed method does not require modeling and model fitting steps. It can be directly applied to single face image, without any prior information of 3D shape or light sources.