Professional Portrait Retouching – Brightening the Eyes
Posted on June 16, 2008 by Bo
One of the easiest ways to make your portraits really stand out is to brighten your subject’s eyes. This is a quick and easy photo retouch technique used by professionals that you can use on most any portrait.
Check out the video after the jump, as well as a step-by-step rundown of the technique used.
If video is not available, click here to view it on YouTube.
Here is a step-by-step guide of the technique described in the video.
- Open image, duplicate background layer.
- Change blending mode of the new layer to Screen.
- With layer still selected, go to Layer > Layer Mask, and choose Hide All.
- With the layer mask selected, use a white paintbrush and paint over the eyes, exposing the Screen layer.
- If you accidentally paint outside the eyeball, switch your paintbrush color to black and paint over the overlapping area.
- With both eyes exposed, lower the layer opacity to 50%. If the eyes are still too bright, take the opacity a little lower to 40%.
- If the pupils look awkward with the screen overlay, make sure your layer mask is selected, set your foreground color to black, and choose the paintbrush tool and resize the brush to a size slightly smaller than the size of one of the irises. Hold your cursor directly over the iris of the eye and click once.
- Before clicking anything else, go to Edit > Fade Brush Tool. Drop the opacity to around 60% to bring back some of the lightness. Hit OK and then repeat process for the other eye.
This technique may seem a little too easy, but it’s quick and effective and, after doing it a few times, you’ll find that it becomes even easier. Again, you can use this technique on almost any portrait you have, or even other photos where the subject’s eyes are visible.
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