How To Make Eyes Pop In Photoshop

It’s really, really easy to make eyes pop in Photoshop – it can literally take 10 seconds! There are lots of different ways of doing it, but this is the process that works best for me, and all it involves is a bit of use of the ‘Dodge’ tool.

By the way, I did this post because someone actually contacted me and asked for it (thanks, Joseph!), so feel free to do the same if you have a topic you’d like me to cover on here (or ask on our Facebook page, if you’d prefer).

So, here’s a before and after image so you can see how making the eyes pop enhances the image. This is actually a photo of a friend of mine, from his 30th birthday party this year:

how to make eyes pop in photoshop

Before and After

So, to do this, simply open up your photo in Photoshop, and select the ‘Dodge’ tool. This is on the left handside, and looks just like a black version of the ‘zoom’ tool.

What ‘dodging’ does is to lighten the areas of the photo that you choose to apply it to. As we want to make our subject’s eyes pop, we can use this tool to brighten them up… simple!


So, you have the Dodge tool selected, but before you start applying it, look at the top left of your Photoshop screen to where it says ‘Exposure’, and move this exposure slider down so that it’s at around 10%. What this does is lessen the effect of each application of the dodge tool – if you had the exposure at 100% it would have a MASSIVE effect, which could look really overdone, so by having it at around 10% you can subtley keep adding to the effect until you get your desired ‘pop’ factor.

So, dodge is selected, expousre at around 10%; you’re good to go. Zoom in on your subject’s eyes, and start ‘painting’ (although you’re not actually painting, you’re simply brightening the eyes). Here’s a screenshot of my workflow window so you can see what I’m talking about.

how to make eyes pop

This is the shot before I’ve started to dodge the eyes, just so you can see what settings I’ve selected.

You can keep ‘painting’ the eyes until you’ve ‘popped’ them enough (careful of overdoing it!), and then you’re done – ‘popped’ eyes in under 10 seconds. As I mentioned earlier, there are lots of different techniques on how to do this, but this is what I find to be the quickest and simplest.

Here’s a larger before and after comparison:



Enjoy making the eyes of your subjects stand out!


  1. Wow thanks for this tutorial, I love the way you write yours, I totally got that and was able to edit my photo and have the eyes pop

  2. Glad it helped, vicki; thanks for your kind comment!

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