Make family and friends look great in a portrait by brushing in enhancements using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. For this tutorial, we’ll use the Brush tool to enhance different parts of the photo. Feel free to experiment with the photo provided, or use your own.
Darken the eyebrows
Enhance the eyebrows to be a bit more noticeable.
Choose the Brush tool and adjust the brush size using the Size slider in the Brush panel. Or, use the shortcut keys — the left bracket key on your keyboard ([) to decrease brush size, or the right bracket key (]) to increase it. In the Brush panel, click the triangle to the right of the Brush slider to view additional brush settings. For example, you can increase the Feather amount to add softness to the edges of the brush. Brush over the eyebrows and then adjust some of the settings, such as decreasing Exposure and Blacks and increasing Clarity.
Experiment with the settings to find the effect you like.
Sample settings: Brush size: 2.9; Feather: 100; Exposure: -0.30; Blacks: -7, Clarity: +11
Tip: To toggle between the overlay settings, press the O shortcut key. Click once to show the blue pin you can select to adjust a specific edit. Click a second time to show the red mask to see the areas you’ve brushed with the adjustment brush. Click a third time to hide the overlay.
Sharpen the eyelashes
Frame the eyes with darker eyelashes to make them stand out.
If you want to apply different adjustments to the eyelashes, create a new brush by clicking the (+) icon in the Brush panel. Brush over the top and bottom eyelash and rim for each eye. Then, adjust to make the lashes darker and sharper. If you accidentally brush unintended areas, click the eraser in the Brush panel, and brush over those areas to remove the edit.
Sample settings: Brush size: 1.6; Exposure: -0.44; Blacks: -17
Brighten the irises
Enhance the color of the irises to make the eyes pop.
Click the (+) icon to create a new brush. To reset the edit sliders you used in the previous step, right-click any of the sliders and select Reset All Sliders. Brush around each of the irises and adjust to enhance the blue.
Experiment with the Temp and Saturation sliders to see a range of effects in eye color.
Sample settings: Brush size: 3.0; Temp: +4; Exposure: +0.30
Lighten the whites of the eyes
Brighten the whites of the eyes to create more contrast with the irises.
Create a new brush and brush the whites of the eyes. Increase the exposure to brighten the whites while still making them look natural.
Sample settings: Brush size: 1.7; Exposure: +0.40
Deepen lip color
Modify the lip color with richer tones.
Create a new brush and brush over the lips. Adjust some tone sliders to bring out a natural red color in them.
Sample settings: Brush size: 2.0; Temp: 0; Tint: +5; Exposure: -0.25; Saturation: +20
Apply the finishing touches
To edit a previous enhancement, click the blue pin related to the specific edit and adjust the sliders as needed. Click the Show/Hide Original toggle at the bottom of the screen. Or, use the shortcut key (/) on your keyboard at any point to switch between the before and after views of the photo.
Tip: For more detailed information on using the Brush tool, or other selective editing tools, check out the Make selective edits tutorial.