Unless you’re extremely lucky, then you probably like me get dark circles underneath your eyes. So here’s how to get rid of those annoying dark circles. If you are used to Photoshop, you have attempted to do this using the Clone tool (on normal) or patch tool. This in effect just moves ares of skin. You then lose the shape of the eye.. which results in it looking fake. Something we don’t want. If you look closely at your eye, you will see the skin change as you get closer to the eyelash line. So if you use skin from your cheek and clone it under the eye.. It’s not going to look right. Here’s a really simple way to do it. {I’m using Photoshop CS5}

+ Open photograph up in Photoshop and select ‘ CLONE STAMP TOOL’ .

+ Change the setting at the top to ‘LIGHTEN’ .

+ Change ‘OPACITY’ from anything between 30%-45%. This is so the clone won’t be too heavy and look fake!

+ By using the ‘ALT’ key on your keyboard, you can pick up an area of skin. So… select ALT > CLICK MOUSE on the spot you want to clone from. Release the ALT key and now you are free to clone an area. (See below) Carefully use the brush and cover over the dark circle. You will see the dark circle start to go! (Hurray!) TIP!  Remember using the keyboard shortcut [ and ] makes the brush bigger and smaller. 

+ Done! Here’s a before and after. You can also use this trick on lines along side lips.

Removing Dark Circles in Lightroom

Dark circles are fairly common on faces so if you are shooting portraits for a living you know how to fix them in photoshop. There are many ways to do this in photoshop but this post is about Lightroom. So I will show you how you can minimise dark circles and reduce wrinkles or skin folds from being too prominent.

This is by no means aimed at professionals, its actually for the rest of us who just want to create nice & pleasing images.

And the key thing to keep in mind is that you only want to reduce its appearance and not completely remove it. Otherwise it may look too unreal and the fact its been retouched may be too apparent. So being subtle in this retouching is definitely the way to go.


The tool we need to use is the Spot Removal tool (hotkey Q).

  1. Before you start using it zoom in to 1:1 so you can easily use this tool on the subjects face.
  2. Next make sure Heal is selected (as opposed to Clone) and adjust the Size of the brush as needed.
  3. Make the Feather setting fairly low like 20-30, you don’t want to have the edges too soft so the effect won’t work.
  4. Reduce the Opacity down to 50%, you can adjust is later to fine tune the result.
  5. Click and hold the mouse under the eye and draw an arc shape over the affected area. Lightroom will try to select a source area from where healing will take place. It will most likely be wrong. Note: if you drawn shape is not perfect don’t worry, your brush settings will help smooth up the edges.
  6. Drag the source pin just under the destination pin, somewhere on the cheeks of the face where the facial tone is lighter than the affected area.
  7. Repeat the process over the other eye and basically you are finished.

Adjust the Opacity of each of the pins to take, until the result is fairly natural and satisfactory.