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How to Enhance Eyes in Lightroom

If you missed the previous two tutorials, Smoothing Skin and Whitening Teeth and Eyes, check those out when you can. This tutorial builds on basic but necessary and important things you need to know when using brushes in Lightroom.

I am starting with an image that has ONLY been brightened a bit and had the white balance warmed up. Other than those two things, nothing else has been done to the image.

In the Perfect Portrait brush collection there are ten brushes that are dedicated to the eyes and area near the eyes. Only a few brushes are used this time, but once you understand how to use a few, you will know how/when to use the others.

First thing fixed was the whites of the eyes. The Whiten Eyes brush was used to whiten the whites of her eyes. The brush feather was reduced, making the brush have a little more defined edges.

Next up was the Eyes Color Blue brush, which was used to accentuate the blue in the subject's eyes. Note - the Eyes Blue, Eyes Green, and Eyes Brown were created to enhance the existing eye color, not replace or change eye color.

After enhancing the eye color, the Sharpen Eyes brush was used to make the eyes sharper, more defined. If you used the brush and feel it makes the eyes too crisp, or too unrealistic (a common problem with photo editing), use the Flow slider to reduce the flow so that less of the effect is applied when you brush.

Remember - you have to change the flow BEFORE brushing. Changing it after you have already brushed on an area does not reduce the amount on brush strokes already applied. Delete the brush (click on it) and start again.

Lastly, the Eye Liner brush was used to define the area around the lids. Since she is a young subject, I used a low flow, which applied the effect at a lower amount. If your subject is older and would benefit from some "make up" being applied, use a heavier flow, and make use of the other eye brushes such as mascara and eye shadow.

Below are the brushes used in the eye area for this image. Where the white circle (i.e. pin) is located shows where the mouse was first clicked down and brushing began. Because it is easy to get many brush pins too close together, like I did with the Eye Liner and Eye Color Blue brushes in the image below, try to start brushes in different eyes and in different areas so that you don't get things confused. 

The following is a comparison of before and after the eye brushes (click on it to see a larger version). Notice that the difference is not very significant.  I've also used the brush Add Clarity at the end just to polish it off. Usually the best edits are those that are subtle and realistic. I could have made her eyes unbelievably beautiful, but not believable.


Hello!  I’m Amanda, a quirky, introverted Mom of four, who is passionate about helping others learn their cameras and editing software. I also currently homeschool my four kids, ages 13 to 6, all whom run away when they see me carrying my camera.  Visit me at my website and facebook page.

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