5 Advanced Techniques for Making Eyes Sparkle

The eyes in a portrait often make or break the whole image, so when you're retouching them, it's worth going the extra mile. Here are some advanced techniques for making sure the eyes in your images pop.

I remember my first portraits when I bought my very first DSLR were a little lackluster. Well, that's not strictly true, they were completely lackluster. There were a lot of reasons for this, from pose and angle, to light and settings. But over time, I gradually edged closer to a nice portrait. However, there was something that always bothered me: people's faces didn't seem overly engaging. This was again due to lighting primarily, but a large part of what would end up improving my images were how I handled the eyes.

A lot of flattering lighting techniques, as well as more natural lighting scenarios, don't brighten the eyes much. Given they're usually set back into the head slightly, a lot of light won't hit them. You may still get catch lights, but they'll be dim and the eyes will lack color. By the right post production, however, you can bring the eyes out to look much more appealing. With a brightening of the iris and catch lights, you gain that far more engaging appearance typical of many great portraits.

How do you edit eyes in your images?

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7 Comments

sam dasso's picture

You really need to look into PortraitPro 19 from Anthropics. Same or better effects with just a few clicks.

Teresa Oldenbourg's picture

The video was nice but, everything looked like too much. Reminded me how we get carried away in post.

Samer Aburahma's picture

You are a photographer you should get it right out of the camera. minor touch up with any editors.

g coll's picture

You clearly have no experience in a professional environment.

Samer Aburahma's picture

You are clearly not a professional talker. I wasn't talking to you anyway.

Walter van Dusen's picture

I normally like his videos but this one got a little carried away that I couldn't finish watching it.

andy greenwell's picture

When I am finally put in charge, lol - it will be mandatory that every FStoppers article has to end with the sentence: "Now let the fighting, and name calling begin." I think they like the in-fighting. But it's why I very rarely read the articles anymore. Too many egos.