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Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's all about the eyes


I've been getting a lot of questions about how I edit eyes in my pictures so here it is!

I do all this in Lightroom using the brushes. You can do the same thing in Photoshop using the burn and dodge tools but it's so much easier in Lightroom!

First, I take a premade brush that adds exposure, brightness, saturation, and clarity. I go over the entire eye with it. Sometimes this is enough for the look I want.

If I want to make the eye more dramatic, I take a new brush for negative exposure and darken the entire pupil and around the edge of the iris where it is naturally darker. (Thanks Brittany for the tip!) Usually this is enough for the look I want. If the color in the iris doesn't pop enough, I will use the same brush from step one and brighten it even more. If the white part of the eye looks yellow or grey, I use a brush to desaturate and brighten the white areas.

Here are some before and afters so you can see the effect of this process.

 001-eyes-2 001-eyes-14

 001-eyes-7 001-eyes-6
You'll notice the change is very subtle. That is what you want - just a little pop. If you do it too much they eyes can look really fake and I'm not a fan of that look.

 001-eyes-9 001-eyes-8

Here are some pics from a bridal shoot I just did. I will do a post after she gets married of all my favs but wanted to use these because they have such a dramatic before and after look. The before pictures are the ones straight out of the camera with no editing.

If you would like to see me doing a video tutorial of this process, here is a link to one I did for a workshop.

Lightroom Eyes


Sara Jarvie said...

thanks so much for that great blog. I am going to go home and edit some of the eyes in pictures.

Scott Smith said...

Thanks for sharing, I have a couple of preset brushes that I use as well for the eyes. Gotta love LR

David Terry said...

Very helpful post, Suzanne!

Cascio Photography said...

You are so awesome!! hehe your eye edits are just right... not to much but enough to get them to really pop! I love the drama in the last one!! GORGEOUS!!

LUKE said...

I will have to try some lightroom eyes Suz. I do all my eyes in photoshop. I use the levels to brighten them up and then sharpen the eyes seperately from the rest of the image.

Aaron Barker said...

Thanks for sharing. Mind going a step further and sharing your presents? ;)

Aaron Barker said...

Err... presets (but I'll take presents too)

kate moss said...

Wow- you are amazing! I love before and after pictures. And thanks for your nice comment on my blog. You made my day:)

Jeremy said...

Thanks for sharing!

It was good to see you again at the Lightroom workshop.

Take care,

Corey Luke said...

Thanks for sharing your knowledge at the lightroom workshop. Your images are wonderful!


Jarvie said...

I concur... thanks for sharing.
And thanks for sharing not only here but at the workshop!

Skyler Call said...

You say to use "a premade brush that adds exposure, brightness, saturation, and clarity". How do you create one brush that adjusts all those things at once?

Suzanne said...

Skyler - Sorry to not get back sooner. You can create brushes in Lightroom that adjust whatever you choose and how much you choose at the same time. Just like the one that comes with Lightroom that is called "Soften Skin". If you need further help please email me and I would be happy to walk you through it.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

Thx Lookie Loo!! I didnt know what to do with that brush in lightroom, will give it a try x