Brighten up the eyes

The eyes are the most important part of any portrait image as they can immediately engage the viewer. When you’re shooting, you should always ensure that they appear suitably bright and sharp in-camera, however, basic adjustments can be made during postproduction to boost their appearance.

In Photoshop, use the Unsharp Mask filter to sharpen and the Dodge and Burn tools to selectively contrast the eye area. Duplicate the original layer and select the Dodge tool from the Tools palette. Dodge is used to lighten areas of an image; you’ll need to adjust the brush size to fit within the iris of the eye and select the Midtone option from the Range menu. Set a low opacity (around 10%) and begin brushing around the eye to enhance and brighten the existing hues. Adjust the Brush size and switch between the Shadows, Midtones and Highlights range to build on the results. Change to the Burn tool in order to contrast areas around the eyelashes and the edges of the iris. Finally add an Unsharp Mask filter in order to sharpen the shot, especially the eye area.

To avoid making adjustments later, focus on getting the right results in-camera during your next shoot. A reflector is an affordable and versatile piece of kit. On a portrait shoot you can use it to bounce light back into the model’s face.

Use a circular refl ector to illuminate the eyes and add a strong attention-grabbing catch light.

Pay attention to the direction and strength of the light, however.