How to Make Eyes Pop in a Photo Using Photoshop

Photoshop steps to help you edit eyes in a photo. The most edited part of a portrait is the eyes; however, most people do not know how to effectively edit eyes.

Photoshop is the most in-depth and comprehensive photo-editing platform available to consumers. If you can learn how to effectively use Photoshop, you can edit plain and boring pictures into stunning and beautiful pictures. Here are the steps to make someone’s eyes pop in Photoshop.

If you like this article, you might be interested in some of our older articles on Best Photoshop Tutorials, Cool Photoshop Effects, Photoshop Tutorial To Enhance Photos and Still Keeping Skin Pores, Photoshop Tutorials for Beginners, Advanced Photoshop Tutorials, and Puppet Warp and Content Aware Feature In Photoshop CS5.

What We Will Make

final photoshop eyes

Make The Selection

Make The Selection

There are many ways to select pixels in Photoshop. While the pen tool may be the most accurate, it is also the least user-friendly. Regardless, people who know how to use the pen tool should use it. For beginners, the magic wand tool is good for making small selections, so use the magic wand tool if you’re a beginner. Unless the white of the eyes need editing, only select the iris. If the magic wand tool selects pixels outside of the iris, hold the alt key to deselect the unwanted pixels.

Copy The Selection

When you have both eyes selected, you will want to copy the selection to a new layer. This is a non-destructive method of editing, so it won’t hurt the original picture. Every edit that is nondestructive can be fixed. Masks are another nondestructive way to edit a picture, but for the purpose of this tutorial, we will focus on copied layers.

To copy the selection to a new layer, go to the layer tab on the top of the screen, select new and select layer via copy. Alternatively, you can just use the shortcut CTRL+J to make a new copied layer from the selection.

Lighten The Eyes

Just like most everything else in Photoshop, there are a couple ways to lighten the eyes. Here are a couple ways to lighten the eyes:

Use The Dodge Tool

Use The Dodge Tool

Use The Brush Tool

Use The Brush Tool

Use The Filler Adjustment Tool

Use The Filler Adjustment Tool

Select the dodge tool and make sure its set on the midtones. On the eyes, lightly brush over the highlighted areas to make them stand out a little more. You want them to stand out, but you don’t want to overdo it. Alternatively, you can select the burn tool to darken the dark areas even more. This will create more depth to the eyes. You may want to zoom in to eyes to increase your brush stroke accuracy.

If you want to use the brush tool, you’ll need to do a couple steps. First, make sure your color palette is set to white and black. Second, lower the opacity around 15 percent. Third, lower the flow to around 30 percent. After these steps are done, lightly brush over the dark areas with black, and brush over the light areas with white. Again, zoom in to the eyes to increase the accuracy of your brush strokes.

If you are familiar with filler adjustments, you can use them to lighten the eyes. Use the curves, levels and exposure filler adjustments.

curves, levels and exposure filler adjustments

Practice these steps and you will make every client’s eyes pop in their photo. Remember to be conservative to avoid a fake look. You want the eyes to stand out, but not take over the picture.


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