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Crimes Against Children’s Photography: Zombie Eyes

A DSLR and Photoshop (or in my case, Lightroom) can be a recipe for either joy or disaster depending on who is using them. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have the talent and ability to capture my children exactly as I see them everyday. Rarely are other people able to get that certain spark out of my babies that I know so well, so trusting someone else to take their picture is a hard one for me. Photoshop is quite possibly one of the worst things to happen to photography, rather than working to get a photo right in the camera, so many people are just clicking away with the thought “I can just fix it all in Photoshop later.” PHOTOSHOP DOES NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER MAKE.

It blew my mind when I realized just how much time I could save myself by getting things right in the camera rather than relying on post processing to save my images. I’m still not perfect but I’ve come a long way in the past several years. These days it doesn’t require much more than a slight exposure adjustment and sharpening to consider a photo done, but so many people are guilty of feeling as though they have to do more and one of the worst ‘mores’ people do is brighten childrens’ eyeballs to unrealistic lengths. It’s creepy, don’t do it.

In case you’re unfamiliar with glassy doll zombie eyes, allow me to demonstrate why it’s creepy as hell and how to edit eyeballs more naturally if you feel so inclined.

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  • Crimes Against Children’s Photography 1 of 10
    Crimes Against Children's Photography
    Up first? The terrible glassy zombie child eyes many people with Photoshop are guilty of.
  • SOOC 2 of 10
    SOOC
    This is the original RAW image file that came directly out of my camera. Cute right? We can do better.
  • Exposure up 3 of 10
    Exposure up
    All I did was bring the exposure up, one of the great reasons to shoot in RAW, there is so much more forgiveness when it comes to over/under exposing.
  • Lightroom 4 of 10
    Lightroom
    I do 95% of my edits in Lightroom. With this little paintbrush icon you can set your cursor to "paint" over a specific area with your choice of adjustments, here I adjusted the exposure and saturation to "paint" over only her eyes.
  • Slight (SLIGHT!) adjustment 5 of 10
    Slight (SLIGHT!) adjustment
    I'll bet you wouldn't even be able to tell the difference had I not pointed it out to you, but as subtle as it is, it makes a huge difference in the overall photo.
  • Slightly (SLIGHTLY!) adjusted 6 of 10
    Slightly (SLIGHTLY!) adjusted
    The catch light in her eyes is just ever so slightly brighter. Win.
  • The dangerous road to zombie eyes. 7 of 10
    The dangerous road to zombie eyes.
    I mean, up close it's not that big of a difference! The whites of her eyes are so white and the blue is so blue! It's so pretty! OOH!
  • WRONG. 8 of 10
    WRONG.
    You are wrong. That big of an adjustment close up leads to RIDICULOUS glassy looking zombie doll eyeballs when zoomed out.
    Don't do it.
  • Comparing the three 9 of 10
    Comparing the three
    Can you tell the difference now? The difference between human and creep? The slightest adjustments will make all the difference (right or wrong) when it comes to your final photos.
    Don't be guilty of glassy eyes.
  • Allow Vivi to now haunt your dreams 10 of 10
    Allow Vivi to now haunt your dreams
    Hang a glassy eyed zombie baby on your wall and this is what your dreams will look like.
    Consider yourself warned.

Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.

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