How To Brighten Eyes In Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is high-quality photo editing software used by many professional and amateur photographers. It includes all the necessary features you need to create and edit images flawlessly. Portrait photographers focus on details such as a person’s eyes to enhance the portrait and make the eyes more expressive, so how can you brighten eyes in Lightroom? 

One of the simplest ways to brighten eyes in Adobe Lightroom is to use the ‘radial mask’ feature. It allows you to alter a person’s eyes, making them more expressive and livelier. Apply the ‘radial filter’ and explore the various effects available for you to use. 

If you are a beginner and know what important role a subject’s eyes play in portrait photography, take a look at the steps for brightening eyes in Adobe Lightroom. It will definitely help improve the quality of your images.

How To Brighten Eyes In Lightroom

Many factors can influence the outcome of images in portrait photography, such as lighting, using filters, and editing. This can cause finer details to darken or change color. 

The most commonly used feature to brighten eyes in Adobe Lightroom is the ‘radial mask’ and the ‘adjustment brush’ preset. It does not change other parts of the image and solely focuses on whitening and brightening the eyes when you highlight it in the pictures. 

If you are just starting and do not have experience using Lightroom, you may find it difficult, but you will find it increasingly easy to use when you get the gist of editing. 

Radial Mask And Adjustment Brush Feature 

  • Add The Radial Filter


You can find the radial filter function in the Develop module. The Develop module is located in the tool panel. 


The radial filter is displayed as a circle (it is the circle shown without the arrow). As soon as you select the radial filter tool, the cursor will change to a plus symbol that allows you to draw a circle over the picture area you would like to edit/adjust. 


Tip: You can press the shift key when dragging the circle over the image for a precise round circle. 


  • Modify The Adjustments

Once you move the circle to where you want it on the image, you can adjust its shape and size by clicking on the squares on the circle’s edge and dragging to resize or reshape. 


If you want to see the selected areas, go to the “show selected mask overlay” and select it. Sometimes the mask is difficult to see, e.g., when the picture consists of many shades of red, you can change the color of the mask by pressing ‘shift’ and O simultaneously. 


Lightroom automatically applies the effect to the outside of the circle and not the inside, but you can invert the mask overlay if you find it easier to work with the effect inside the circle. 


Further, alter the image where the effect is applied by making use of feathering. Feathering removes all the hard edges and blends images, creating soft edges. If you do not feather images, it will leave streaks between the unedited and edited parts. 


Adjust feathering by using the slider located at the end of the radial mask section. 


  • Add The Effects

Adding effects is the best part of the process. The radial filter offers various effects you can use. You can sharpen, darken, lighten, adjust saturation, etc., by moving to the tool section. 


You can add numerous effects at once, and if you made a mistake, you could double-click on the sliders to remove the effects (the value will return to 0). 


Enhance the radial filter by making small adjustments to the filter’s placement, size, and feathering. Delete the radial filter by selecting the center of the circle and hitting the delete key. 


It is possible to include more radial filters on an image. Go to the top of the tool panel and tap on “new”. 


  • Duplicate Eye

Once you are done editing the one eye, you can copy and paste a new radial filter tool. Simply select the radial filter tool, right-click and press on the ‘duplicate’ option.


The duplicated copy will paste over the original. You can click on the duplicated copy and drag it to the other eye. 



Adobe Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, which means it saves all the edits you made on the image separately as well as the unedited image. You can open the unedited image at any time since it has not been altered.  

Bonus Tips: How To Brighten And Beautify Eyes In Lightroom 


Here are four extra tips you can use to make eyes more vibrant in Lightroom:


  1. Eye Whitening 

To whiten the eye, you can use the whiten brush, preferably a thinner brush size, because using a thick size will make it difficult to perform the edits.

Many photographers do not deem it necessary to balance the whiteness of the eyes. However, this can contribute to harmonizing the portrait and should not be overlooked. 

  1. Intensify Eye Color


Lightroom offers many different options to intensify eye color, e.g., blue, green, brown, black, etc. The feature does not allow you to change the eye color only to enhance the eye color. 

If you took photographs of a model with green eyes and want to brighten and intensify their eye color, you need to use the green color option. 

  1. Sharpen Eye Brush


Sharpening the eyes will give it a more naturalistic look. You can use the slider to decrease and increase the sharpness. 

  1. Add Eye Liner


Use the Eye Liner Brush to lighten the area on the lower and upper eyelids. If the model is young, use a low flow to apply the effect at a lower amount. If they are older, you can use a heavier flow to apply the effect. 

There are other professional tools included, such as adding mascara or eyeshadow. 

Remember, when you edit photos, they need to look realistic, and instead of drastically changing some details, subtly enhance them. 


Adobe Lightroom is a great software to invest in if you are passionate about photography. It is usually the small details that make the portraits attractive. With practice, you can learn how to brighten eyes using Lightroom flawlessly. 

The eyes are truly the windows to the soul, and enhancing their features will make the image livelier and expressive. The ‘radial mask and adjustment brush feature’ is the easiest and most effective method to brighten eyes in Lightroom. 

Do you have an overexposed photo to fix in Lightroom? Go here for your how-to guide.