Removing and Adding CatchLights

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For this photo editing lesson I’m going to be using this SOOC (straight out of the camera) image of my nephew.  You will remember it from this post over here about CatchLights and about how I loved the picture but didn’t like the reflection of the TV acting as a CatchLight. 
CassJustCurious 30

So today we’re going to do the following.  FIRST we’ll remove the CatchLight of the TV and the other misc light noise on his eyes.  SECOND we’re going to add in new CatchLights.  For this lesson I’m going to be using Photoshop Elements although the tools I use are available on nearly all photo editing softwares. 

Before we begin I want to remind you of the importance of zooming in to the edit area and out of the edit area frequently.  I always find that I get a little “edit” happy when I’m zoomed in for too long.   Ready?  Let’s go.

Step #1- Make a copy of your photo so that you have a place to compare before and after.

Step #2 – In your photo editing software zoom in to the area that needs to be edited so it fills your screen.

Picture 2

Step #3 – Select the Healing Brush tool from your pallette.  Now select the correctly colored area on the picture (Option + Click) and using the healing brush use your mouse to touch up the photo.  Be aware that you can change your brush size and the hardness of the brush.  The brush hardness defaults to 100 which means a very crisp edge, blending in photo editing is VERY important so I always set my hardness to 70% and then adjust from there.  Here are the results of the first eye:

Picture 3

Let’s check it out by zooming out and comparing the two eyes.  One with the bad CatchLights and one CatchLight free.  The eye without the CatchLights is less distracting, but I miss the CatchLights a lot.  

Picture 4

Step # 4 – Remove the CatchLights from the other eye using the same steps as above.  Now we’re ready to add in some “good” CatchLights.  You’ll select the DODGE tool.  I’ve highlighted in the arrow below – in most programs it’s smashed on the same button as the BURN and SPONGE tool so if you can’t see the DODGE icon click on the lower right hand corner of the button to reveal the other tools.  

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Step #5 – Here’s my tip on adding in the CatchLights- BE THE LIGHT.  You act as the light and think about where the light would hit the subject if you were the light.  This is important otherwise it will look really manipulated.  A light source between the 10 and 2 (like on the face of a clock) on the eye is usually where you see it in professional shoots.  Set your size and your exposure. When I do this I set my size a little bit bigger then I want the actual “Light spot” to be and I set my exposure to 50% and the range to Highlight and I click a few times so that it’s just a bit lighter then I continue to decrease the size of my Dodge tool and nudge the exposure up to 75% concentrating the “Light spot”.  Here’s the result: 

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Step #6 – Review your After to your Before.  I’m quite happy with the results.

Picture 9

Here’s the final product:

Now I’m off to go add in more CatchLights to photos that didn’t have any to start with but FIRST a question to you:  Which Photo Editing Software do YOU use?  When doing these posts in the future would you like to see a different software used?

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