Photoshop: Sunglasses Reflection

So you took an awesome picture at the beach, but you were facing the wrong way! You were wearing sunglasses, but the reflection wasn’t strong enough to capture the beautiful beach. Here’s how to add a nice reflection!


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The image below is what we’re going to be working with. As you can see, the sunglasses don’t give off much of a reflection. It’s hard to tell where this woman is. Let’s add a nice reflection!

The first thing that needs to be done is a selection! In Photoshop, there are numerous ways to create a selection. However, because the sunglasses stand out behind the skin of our model, I’m going to use the Quick Selection Tool (). This tool works by dragging your mouse inside the area that you want to select. Photoshop will do it’s best to select similar areas to include in your selection. Try to do your best to select as much ‘lens’ as you can.

If you’re using Photoshop CS5, I would also recommend using the Refine Edge () feature with Smart Radius activated to make sure that all stray hairs are dealt with.

If you’ve chosen to Output To a New Layer With Layer Mask, which I would recommend, you should be left with two layers. A layer containing the glasses, and your original layer, which might currently be hidden. You can turn the original layer back on by clicking the small square to the left of the layer.

Now that your lenses are on their own layer, it’s time to introduce your new scene! I’m going to use an image of a beach in this case. To add your new image to this document, either drag the new image onto your current one, or you can Place it by using the File > Place command. Once the image is placed on your document, you may want to resize it and place it overtop of the glasses.

Obviously this doesn’t look very nice, but because we chose to output the glasses selection onto a New Layer with Layer Mask, we can easily deal with this. In your Layer’s Panel, right click on the newly placed image, and choose Create Clipping Mask.

This will place your image of the beach inside the glasses selection!

That looks…yeah, not yet. There are a few issues at the moment. The first issue is that because the selection wasn’t 100% perfect, there are bits of the beach image spilling off the lenses. This can easily be fixed by editing the Layer Mask of the selection layer. Again, this is another reason why I recommended to Output to New Layer with Layer Mask. Simply select the Layer Mask of that layer, then using a black brush, paint the areas that should be hidden. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. The next step will help as well.

The second issue, is that it doesn’t look very reflective! Let’s deal with that. In your Layer’s Panel, make sure to select your beach image again. In order to blend this image with the lenses, we need to change the Blending Mode. Right above, the Blending mode should be set to “Normal” with a 100% Opacity at the moment. For the image that I’m using, I found that the Hard Light blending mode, with a 55% Opacity works well. You might need to experiment with the different Blending Modes that are available to get the result you’re looking for. Hard Light, Linear Light, and Linear Dodge (Add) tends to work best for edits like this.

From here, because the image of the beach is “Clipped”, you’re free to drag it around, and it will remain inside the lenses. Here’s the final result that I settled on: