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Use the Clone Tool to Correct Blurry Eyes

Using clone tool to sharpen eyes in Lightroom

It happens to every photographer, hobbyist and profession alike, when we capture a wonderful image to only find later in post processing that one of the eyes is "soft" (i.e. a little out of focus). If the eye or eyes are only a little tiny bit soft, that can usually be saved via a Lightroom brush - I recommend the Perfect Portrait brushes), but if they are really soft a brush won't solve the problem. What can we do?

In the first year or two of using Lightroom, I would take images like this one to Photoshop to fix. However over the years I've learned how to make the most of the clone/heal tool and the brushes and I find I can do 99% of all my editing work in Lightroom. This is one of those tricks and I hope you are able to utilize it in the future as well.

Using the Clone Tool to Replace a "Soft" Eye with a Copy of the Sharp One

Important note - this trick only works if you have at least one eye that is sharp and the reflection and catchlights are very similar in both the eyes.

  • Zoom into the eyes so you can work in more detail.
  • Click on the Spot Removal icon in the local adjustment tool bar, just below the Histogram panel.
  • Click on the Clone tool.
  • Move your mouse into the image and brush only over the pupil and iris of the soft/blurry eye.
  • Move the target area that comes up (because LR will NOT choose the right area automatically) over the sharp eye.
  • If it is too obvious then lower the opacity which will help it blend in.

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