How To Post Process For Beautiful Eyes & Catchlights

It has been said many times before, the eyes are one of the key elements that photographers try and capture.

How To Post Process For Beautiful Eyes & Catchlights

Here is a little video showing a technique that I picked up from Scott Kelby. The book was called Professional Portrait Retouching.

If you want to follow along. I have have made a few little notes.


Music by Rolobenz – rolobenz.com/

  1. Make sure the overall lighting matches the artificial highlights
  2. Use the blending modes & fade the layers down to look suitable
  3. Use very soft edging on everything
  4. Normal Blur & Motion Blur make a good combo
  5. Make one, then copy for the other eye
  6. Refine the shape using the prospective warp
  7. Use pure white to make the highlight
  8. Play about with blending modes, but I like overlay mode.
  9. If you make colour versions, you can get some funky effects
  10. Different shapes can create some very funky effects.

This is a full length edit that originally took 32 mins, it has been speed up so you can see how this is little section fits in to the wider story. As you can see in both videos, Photoshop is a very powerful tool and has clearly had an impact on the world around us. I prefer to use the program in a fun and interesting way that gives me more tools to work with than just a camera. Getting the balance right to when too much is to much is over ever a personal question or a clients point of view.


Music by Mallory Knox: Oceans (acoustic) Wolf at your door records (2013)

How ever.. if you want a very quick fix to brighten up the eyes and create that extra bit of sparkle… this quick tip might be just the thing.

About The Author

Dave Kai PapierDave Kai Piper is a UK based Fashion & Portrait Photographer. As well as being a Pentax Ambassador, Fuji X-Photographer, 3 legged thing & Lexar Ambassador, DKP works as a consultant though Ideas & Images for such companies as Future Publishing. DKP is also an Adobe Community Professional. Current projects include consulting on the UK’s flagship consumer and trade show, The Photography Show. You can follow Dave on his Blog, Facebook and Twitter.

  • Simon Hunter

    Hi Dave. Great tutorial, but when I went to your website as per your video http://www.davepiper.co.uk it my virus program alerted me to the presence of JS/Redirector.NC.1 – couldn’t access your website, sorry!

    • http://www.IdeasandImagesorg.uk/ Dave Kai Piper

      Gosh !! I will look into this ASAP !!

  • Paganator

    I like the result, but couldn’t you do something very similar just by using the retouching tool in Lightroom to increase exposure in the lower part of the iris? From the video, I don’t understand the benefit of this method over plain old dodge… :-/

    • http://www.IdeasandImagesorg.uk/ Dave Kai Piper

      Sure ! There are many ways to create this look. What you have here is a very simple basic version. You could use some very carefully made highlights using shades of white and match the shape of the eye perfectly. Save out the layers as a group and you have some perfect PSD files to drag and and use any time. Also, if you just increase the brightness or exposure you are lifting all the tones. Using the Overlay mode that you can not use in LR really does make a whole of difference.

  • Fernando

    That’s almost exactly what I do to edit my photos. But, I still need more practice, of course.

  • Just Fred

    Agree about the virus on the webisite. Sophos says this,”The requested location contains malicious content, identified as Troj/JSRedir-HP and was blocked from downloading”. Avoid, avoid, avoid. This site has a trojan virus.

    • http://www.IdeasandImagesorg.uk/ Dave Kai Piper

      The site has now had a fresh install on a new sever and is fully clean.. May I ask what browser you are using ?

  • Just Fred