Tutorial: Minimize Under Eye Circles and Enhance Eyes

I get a lot of questions about how I retouch my photos so here is a little, easy Photoshop tutorial on how to minimize underye circles and enhance that little sparkle in the eyes. Also, see below for a chance to win a FREE ENGAGEMENT SESSION!

My number one priority in retouching is to keep it the portrait NATURAL! One of my first steps in retouching a portrait is always the eyes.

The eyes should be what draws you in to the portrait and unfortunately the camera not only adds ten pounds - it can also add shadows to your face and dark circles distract from the beauty of the eyes in a photograph.

But don't run out to a plastic surgeon just yet! Dark circles are a natural part of the human complexion (even for children!) so you have to be very careful in your editing to not to completely eliminate them or you will make your portrait look unnatural. (Unless this is what you're going for... :-)

So here is how I do it! (In Photoshop CS5)

Enhance Eyes
1. Select the "dodge tool" (looks like a push pin)
2. At the top toolbar, set the range to "highlights" and the "exposure" to 10%
3. Adjust the brush size to be a bit smaller than the size of the iris (the colored part of the eye)
4. Carefully click this over the eyes a few times, you may not notice it but if you click back in your history, you will!

*click the screenshot below to see highlighted details

Minimize Under Eye Circles
1. Select the "clone stamp tool" (looks like an old school stamper)
2. At the top toolbar, set opacity to 25% and flow to 100%
3. In your brush toolbar, you will need to adjust the size and shape of your clone brush to match the angle of the under eye (oval shaped)
4. Sample the skin underneath the dark circle by holding down the Option button and clicking, then let go of the option button and move your clone brush up over the dark circle and click again.
5. You can repeat step 4 a couple of times if you're still not happy but remember to not overdo it! And be careful not make the bottom lashes disappear either.

*click the screenshot below to see highlighted details

Your results should be subtle and natural. However, there is an art to this and it takes time to learn how to do it well. So, if it looks strange just keep trying to play with it and you will eventually figure out what works best for you. Email me or comment if you need some help. Enjoy!

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