How to Remove an Undead Zombie Eye from a Photo

by Barrett


Sometimes a perfectly good-looking eye won’t reflect its twin in a camera’s flash. That can really ruin a picture. Bring it back to life in seven easy steps with some photo-editing voodoo from Adobe Lightroom!

I call it ‘Dead-Eye Syndrome.’ And it’s a killer. It can unexpectedly strike at the heart of your favorite photos.

We all know how ‘red eye’ is a common problem with flash photography.
And how that devilish defect tends to occur in low-light situations when someone’s pupils are wide open.
(Blue-eyed people have a greater problem with this than brown-eyed folks.)

But barring this complication, eyes tend to normally reflect the flash in the form of a glint or sparkle.
Totally expected…

In certain circumstances though, one eye may unfortunately reflect the flash less directly than the other eye. Or sometimes not at all….
Now that can look really weird!

And the otherwise best photo you’ve taken in years can make somebody look like an undead zombie.

This Dead-Eye Syndrome is definitely going to ruin that pic…

Time for an Eye Job
Red eye is so easy to fix these days. Cameras and computer software have simple tools to magically turn all that red to black.

But what are you supposed to do with a dead eye?!
Well, to bring it back to life, you’ve got to give it the similar glint of its partner.

And that’s going to take a little tech voodoo…

Dead Eye Surgery in Seven Steps
The basic task is to clone the glint from one eye and place it on top of the sickly-looking pupil in the other eye.

Here’s how you do it using Adobe Lightroom 6:

  1. Click on the ‘Spot Removal’ tool.
  2. Click on ‘Clone.’
  3. Adjust the Brush Size to exactly cover the reflection of the good eye.
  4. Move the tiny circular brush to the dead eye and click where the reflection should be.
  5. Lightroom will choose a section from the photo to clone and highlight it with a second circle.
  6. Drag that second circle to hover back over the flash reflection in the good eye.
  7. Click again on Spot Removal to repair the dead eye and lock in the change.

It’s a little counterintuitive, but what you’re essentially doing with ‘Spot Removal’ is removing the ‘dead spot’ that should have the glint in it, and then replacing it with the appropriate flash reflection from the other eye.
(As opposed to copying the glint from the good eye and then pasting it to the dead eye)

Voila! Both of your eyes now have matching reflections.
Normality has been restored in your picture.
You are no longer an undead zombie.

Take a look at this example:


This is cropped in from the original photo. I think part of the frame from my glasses is also a contributing culprit that’s blocking the flash’s reflection. But it’s still a good example to use.













After surgery – No more Daddy Zombie…










Illuminating the Darkness
I know there’s lots of debate about the appropriateness of touching up a face in a photo.

I don’t think this falls under the same category of concern.
You don’t really have a non-reflective dead eye.
There is no darkness to your soul.
(I hope.)

It’s more of an aberration created by technology.
(Unless your evil eye always photographs that way… if so, immediately run to your ophthalmologist…!)

We’re simply reversing a little error and letting your true beauty shine through…

You’re welcome.