In this report, we address the problem of face verification across illumination, since it has been identified as one of the major factor degrading the performance of face recognition systems. First, a brief overview of face recognition together with its main challenges is made, before reviewing state-of-the-art approaches to cope with illumination variations. We then present investigated approaches, which consists in applying a pre-processing step to the face images, and we also present the underlying theory. Namely, we will study the effect of various photometric normalization algorithms on the performance of a system based on local feature extraction and generative models (Gaussian Mixture Models). Studied algorithms include the Multiscale Retinex, as well as two state-of-the-art approaches: the Self Quotient Image and an anisotropic diffusion based normalization. This last involves the resolution of large sparse system of equations, and hence different approaches to solve such problems are described, including the efficient multigrid framework. Performances of the normalization algorithms are assessed with the challenging BANCA database and its realistic protocols. Conducted experiments showed significant improvements in terms of verification error rates and are comparable to other state-of-the-art face verification systems on the same database.