Tips and Tutorials Thursday | Eye Brightening | Southwest Florida Photographer

Here is the first of what I hope is many Thursdays of shared knowledge. I have learned so much through the power of the internet I think it is time to give back a little. Bear with me, I just learned how to do a screen shot yesterday (insert chuckles here) so the pictures may be a little rough. I would love to hear your feedback on whether the tutorial is easy to understand.

Eye brightening is a touchy subject when it comes to photographers. It is so easy to go overboard that you see many images of kids looking like zombies with glowing eyes. My goal when brightening eyes is just to remove some of the shadows and bring out the natural twinkle. When shooting moving children it is easy to get the perfect shot in not perfect light since your subject tends to move a lot. To brighten up the eyes and remove the under eye shadow a bit I use a very simple method utilizing the levels layer in Photoshop. Below are my step by step directions.

Here is the before image. It was a cloudy day and Rilyn was side lit here, just before sunset. Her eyes aren’t horribly dark but need just a little pop to them.

First step is to grab your lasso tool and do a loose figure eight around the eyes and eye socket. No need to be perfect we can fix this later.

Next, create a levels adjustment layer. Since we lassoed off the eyes our levels layer should have everything but the eyes masked off. I like to hit the back slash button (\) to know what is masked off. The red portion is masked and will not be affected by the changes we make.

On the levels menu you will see a little histogram. The middle slider changes your midtones. If you move the slider to the left you will lighten up your midtones. Adjust until the eyes are brightened enough to your taste. Remember, less is more ;-).

After I have brightened to my taste, I will take a soft black brush set to 50-70% opacity and paint on the layer mask to cover any area that I don’t want brightened such as the bridge of the nose.

Here is the after. Subtle, I know, but that is what I am going for. I don’t want my pictures to look like I did something to the eyes. I just want to enhance the natural beauty of my subject.

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