Photography tips – pumping up the eyes

As Melody requested, here is the eye pop tutorial.  This is sometimes called “dodging the eyes”.  One thing to remember when doing this is to not go too far.  Some people do it too much and give the eyes a freaky, shiny appearance.  Our kids aren’t vampires, so they really don’t need vampire eyes.  Though they have been known to suck all the energy out of my body at times. 😉

Here we go…

1.  I usually start from the bottom when using the eye dodge technique, so this is the first or second thing I do in photo processing.  I’m not sure that is right, but that is what I do.  Take the Elliptical Marquee Tool (it may be look square with dashed lines in your toolbox…select that and right click over it to get the round one).

2.  Use this tool to select the whole iris of the eye.  Make sure you can select both eyes (the toolbar on top has an option to allow adding to the selection).  When you have both irises selected, right click and “layer via copy”.

3.  With this new layer, go over to the layers box on the right and change it from “normal” to “color dodge”.  This is what you get…freaky eyes!

eye dodge 1 

 4. Lower the opacity of the layer, I usually lower it to around 50%, until it looks normal.  Dodging brightens up the eyes, the colors and brings out the catchlights, BUT you still want them to look normal.

5.  Next, I erase any extra that I had selected around the irises.  I use a small eraser brush and will usually end up getting some of the iris, as well.  As long as you use a soft brush, the lines won’t be noticeable.

eye dodge 2 

6.  I usually do an extra sharpen on the eyes, so I sharpen this layer at Filter -> Sharpen -> Unsharpen Mask -> 100,4,1

7.  Flatten/merge the layers with the background layer…all done!

8.  Continue editing as usual.

Let me know if you have any questions!


I post photography and Photoshop tips (nearly) every Saturday, so check back for more or browse my archives under Photography Tips.  I’m open to content suggestions, so if there is an area you are interested in, just leave a comment.

7 Replies to “Photography tips – pumping up the eyes”

  1. OK, come check out what I did! Let me know what you think. You said to lower the opacity to about 50 but Natalya’s (and Vienne’s) eyes are so much darker than Kaillan’s. So I left it at 100. You are brilliant! Thanks so much for doing this tutorial for me.

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