Bringing Out the Beauty of Your Pet’s Eyes

I’m often asked how I get my clients’ dog’s eyes to sparkle with an enhanced depth and color that is so subtle yet makes a tremendous difference, so I thought it’d be fun to share a before-and-after of Godfrey from his Biggies Bullies calendar contest session and showcase these transformative tweaks. (Godfrey, who helped raise $691 for the rescue during the 2021 Biggies Bullies pet calendar contest, an annual fundraiser held every January, will be featured in the 2021 Biggies Bullies pet calendar that will be released in mid-September.)

Drag the slider below to the left and right to see a before-and-after of Godfrey. While you’ll notice dramatic changes from the RAW file in terms of exposure, white balance, and leash removal, pay close attention to how different his eyes look after running an eye-enhancing Photoshop action. (If you’re not familiar with actions, they’re basically a grouping of tasks that are applied to an image by playing a series of steps with the click of a button.)

pit bull puppy on a wooded trail at Robin Hill Park in Moon Township

This particular action adds both light and life to the eyes by brightening, sharpening, and adding contrast. This is especially important considering that I was shooting among a slightly darker wooded trail that prevented the ideal amount of natural light from creating catchlights, the subtle white reflections visible in the corners of a subject’s eyes. Simply running this action and tweaking the opacity of the various adjustments brought back the color, detail, and depth of this little guy’s peepers that are surely going to melt hearts when people flip to his calendar month.

With the generous support of dogs like Godfrey and 66 additional entries who collected 19, 560 individual votes, this year’s contest raised a record-breaking total of $12,688, which will be used to assist Biggies Bullies with rescuing and re-homing pit bull type dogs in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas as well as providing education on responsible pet ownership, positive force free training, and the importance of spaying and neutering.


This post is a part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches. To see what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “Eyes,” check out Gretchen Ciccone with GCiccone Photography, capturing special moments. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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2 thoughts on “Bringing Out the Beauty of Your Pet’s Eyes

    • Bark & Gold Photography says:

      You can do similar effects on the eyes in Lightroom with adjustment brushes, but I’ve found that actions are not only faster, but they’re also more powerful.

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