Bright & Sparkling Eyes With Lightroom – Here’s How It Works

Eyes are one of the most important parts of a portrait photo as they bring the image to life. Eyes are the first thing most of us look at when we see a picture. Since they are so important, having bright, beautiful and sparkling eyes is critical to making the photo attention-catching.

Unfortunately, this is not always possible due to a number of factors including lighting. But Lightroom has a way to fix this. In this tutorial, we learn how to enhance and brighten eyes in Lightroom.

Fixing the Bloodshot Eyes

To start editing the eyes in your portrait photo, activate the Spot Removal Tool in Lightroom. The shortcut key is Q. To achieve bloodshot fixing, use the Heal function. Choose a brush hardly a little wider than the blood spots you want to hide. Set a high Feather to keep the edges of the cleaned up area soft.

Once set, bring the brush over the bloodshot area by clicking and dragging. Doing this indicates to the software that you want to work on blemishes in the specific area. Lightroom then suggests you a part of the area that would serve as an ideal source for better pixels. You will see two points – one is the bloodshot area and the other is the area Lightroom will take pixels from.

Brightening Eyes

When you want to edit the eyes in Lightroom to make them bright and sparkling, you should start working with Local Adjustment Brush. This guide would help even the beginners who want to start from the scratch. To brighten eyes, add a local adjustment brush tool with the shortcut key K. You get a settings pane with different parameters and values.

For achieving brightness, it is important to focus on enhancing the Shadows and Exposure. The settings depend on the amount of lightening you want for the eyes in the photo. The parts of the eyes where you brush the adjustments also vary according to individual preferences. You might choose to brush over the entire eye one by one, for example. If you want to see the red overlay painted in the eyes by pressing O and press it again to turn off the red overlay.

After you paint, it is possible to return back to the settings to modify them. ensure that the control for the brush edit is always active when you want to make changes. You can confirm this by the black circle in the middle. Press K to activate the adjustment brush and press H to hide or unhide the pin.
Popping the Eyes

The next step in brightening the eyes is popping the irises to make them attention-catching. Here, we can use the Local Adjustment Brush again. You can do this by clicking on the New button present on the top right corner of the brush settings.

Be careful to get a new brush otherwise you will end up changing the settings that you recently applied. Then, double click on the ‘Effect’ to reset the sliders to zero. To bring out the iris, use the sliders for Saturation and Contrast and use the brush only over the iris. Choose the strength of the settings to suit your photo and it can vary from person to person.

You can make some adjustments and see what best suits the eyes. Remember not to go overboard with this setting. It can soon make your eyes looking funny.

Whitening the Eyes

If the eyes in your portrait require whitening, it is as simple as one another simple adjustment brush. To get started, click on the New button and double-click on Effect to rest all the sliders to zero.
According to the whitening level you desire, you get the required effect by reducing the Saturation level only. If the eyes are too yellow, use the Temp slider to add some blue shade. This edit is something you don’t need to go too far as nobody has perfectly white eyes.

Popping the Eyelines and Lashes

The next step in editing the eyes is popping the darker areas namely rim of the iris, lashes and eyebrows. Activate a brush and reset the values to zero. Here, you can use the smallest sized brush to darken lashes one by one. This is more advantageous for close-up portraits.

Sharpening the Eyes

Even if the eyes of the subject in the photos appear to be tack sharp, adding some more sharpness with Lightroom will get you the sparkle you want to see in good portraits. To do this, add a new brush and set all sliders to zero.

For this filter, you should focus on Clarity and Sharpness prominently. Adding clarity can at times darken the area and in such a case, you can use the Shadows increase to offset the darkness. Rim and lashes always need sharpening. You can also sharpen the whites but only if really necessary.

Removing Dark Circles

The Local Adjustment brush in Lightroom helps minimize or remove dark circles as well. Add a new brush and reset the sliders as usual. To remove dark circles, you need to make them light and soft. Use the following settings to achieve the desired results:

Tint – Neutralizing dark circles is easy with green because most circles have purple shade and green is the opposite color for correction.

Shadows – Little increase lightens the dark circles

Exposure – A slight increase would do the job

Sharpness- Reduce a little to offset the global sharpening

Clarity – De-emphasize the undereye area by softening it

While Lightroom offers a variety of settings to make desired edits, remember that the best edits are those that are realistic and subtle. Be careful that you don’t overdo it and end up with unrealistic eyes.

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