Enhancing the Eyes

There are four parts of the eye; the pupil, iris, catch light and whites of the eye. We don’t always need to enhance all four. The goal is to make slight changes so the image doesn’t look fake or over process. Using Lightroom’s adjustment brush we will easily make local changes to these areas by “painting in” the effect. Pressing and holding the ALT Key (PC) or Option Key (Mac) will enable us to paint out any effect we create.

Select a 2:1 ratio in the Navigator Panel. Focus on just the eyes using the Navigator window or by clicking and moving the image around.

Pupil

Select the adjustment brush and apply the setting in the image below. These setting can be changed once you apply the brush.

Make the brush size the same size as the pupil. Click once on each eye’s pupil. Zoom out by clicking on FIT in the Navigator Panel to view the results. If the pupils looks fake, tweak the settings in the adjustment brush panel. When done, click NEW to lock in the changes.

Iris

With the adjustment brush selected, apply the setting in the image below. Make sure Auto Mask is selected. Paint with the adjustment by clicking on the iris and hold the mouse button down. With Auto Mask selected, you don’t have to worry about going outside the iris.

Zoom out and view the results. If the iris looks fake, adjust the settings. When done, click NEW to lock in the changes.

Catchlights

With the adjustment brush selected, apply the setting in the image below. Make sure Auto Mask is selected. Paint with the adjustment by clicking on an area of the iris. Usually the catchlight is opposite of the keylight. When done, click NEW to lock in the changes.

Whitening the Eyes

With the adjustment brush selected, apply the setting in the image below. Make sure Auto Mask is selected. Paint with the adjustment by clicking on the white in the eye. Use the same tips to view the area you are painting. If the effect is too strong, adjust either exposure or saturation. Click the adjustment brush to lock in the change and view the image.

Before and After

Extra Resources

The overall process to enhance eyes should take less than a minute. To speed the process along we created a set of custom brush presets for enhancing the Eyes, Pupil, Catchlights and Whitening the eyes. These presets are FREE for Photofocus readers.


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About Vanelli

After a successful career as a three time Triple Crown Karate champion, Robert Vanelli turned his attention to teaching. As an educator for over 30 years, Vanelli has created several photography and digital workflow program including a special program, Click for Kids. Borrowing concepts from the martial arts, Vanelli instilled values such as integrity, and goal setting using photography as a vehicle to motivate children. As the lead photographer for Exposure Photographic Art Studio, Vanelli has had the opportunity of capturing images of special VIP’s, including the President of the United States, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former president of Toyota, Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, CEO’s of companies such as Yahoo,the Oakland A’s and several martial arts legends.

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