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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Make Teeth Whiter in Photoshop

Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, we're going to learn how to whiten teeth in Photoshop easily and convincingly. This is a really practical edit to add to your portrait retouching repertoire.

Are you looking for a Photoshop action that you can simply click and be done with? The Pioneer Natural Retouching Action is a really quick and easy way to make teeth whiter in Photoshop, as well as making other common edits like brightening the eyes and softening the skin. Be sure to check out this action along with thousands of others over on Envato Market.

Pioneer natural retouching actionPioneer natural retouching actionPioneer natural retouching action

Download the Photoshop Action

What You'll Learn in This Teeth Whitening Tutorial for Photoshop

  • How to select and mask just your subject's teeth
  • How to desaturate and lighten the teeth
  • How to seamlessly blend in your adjustments

What You'll Need

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Photograph of a subject with teeth showing

1. How to Select and Mask Your Subject's Teeth

The best way to whiten teeth in Photoshop is to start by isolating the colour range of your subject's teeth. We're going to unlock some of the power of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to help make this selection.

Step 1

Open your photo in Photoshop.

Step 2

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. There is also a shortcut to the Adjustment Layers at the bottom of the Layers panel.

New Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopNew Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopNew Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

Step 3

In the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer, select the icon showing a hand with left and right arrows. This will turn your cursor into an eyedropper. With the eyedropper, click on an area of the teeth.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue/Saturation Adjustment Layer in Photoshop
Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

Step 4

Notice that the hue/saturation adjustment has determined the colour value as either Red or Yellow. Either of these will work for your purposes, and this result will differ from photo to photo.

Take the Hue slider all the way to +180 and the Saturation slider all the way to +100. This is going to look pretty crazy, but fear not.

Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

Step 5

Use the range sliders at the bottom of the hue/saturation adjustment to isolate the colour range of the teeth. Click and drag in the middle of the sliders until the teeth begin to be isolated from the mouth & gums.

Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

We've now successfully isolated the colour range of the subject's teeth.

2. How to Desaturate and Lighten Teeth

Step 1

On the same Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer as before, select the sub-menu of the colour range where you found the teeth. Depending on your photo, that will be either Yellow or Red (the adjustments should still be at +180 Hue and +100 Saturation).

Step 2

We now need to Desaturate and Lighten the teeth. These specific settings will vary from photo to photo, but something around -40 Saturation and +50 Lightness should be a good starting point.

Hue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in PhotoshopHue / Saturation Adjustment Layer in Photoshop

3. How to Seamlessly Blend in Your Adjustments

In the previous step, we successfully whitened the teeth in the photo. However, our edit is affecting the entire image, which means the red in the subject's skin has been desaturated and lightened as well as the teeth. Let's learn how to fix that and seamlessly blend in our adjustment.

Step 1

Select the mask of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. You'll need to click on the actual mask, which is displayed to the right of the adjustment icon and looks like a white box.

Select Mask in PhotoshopSelect Mask in PhotoshopSelect Mask in Photoshop

Step 2

Invert the Mask by using the shortcut Control-I. The box should now be filled with black, and the adjustments you made are no longer visible in your photo.

Invert Mask Selection in PhotoshopInvert Mask Selection in PhotoshopInvert Mask Selection in Photoshop

Step 3

Select a Brush (B) with a medium hardness and a size a little bit smaller than the smallest tooth. For me, that was a Size of 28 and a Hardness of 50%.

Brush Selection in PhotoshopBrush Selection in PhotoshopBrush Selection in Photoshop

Step 4

Zoom In to 300% and Brush over the teeth, being cautious not to brush into the subject's gums or lips. As you brush, you'll see your adjustment start to reveal itself.

Using a Brush in PhotoshopUsing a Brush in PhotoshopUsing a Brush in Photoshop

Step 5

Zoom Out to view your entire photo and see how your adjustment looks in context. If you feel it's a little too heavy-handed, try reducing the opacity of the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer to 80% or to taste. You've now successfully blended in your adjustment and learned how to make the teeth whiter in Photoshop!

I hope you take what you've learned from this tutorial and try it out on your photos. The steps you take should always be the same, but the settings you use will be unique to each image. Take this as the jumping-off point, and be sure to play around to get the best results each time.

Happy teeth whitening!

5 Great Photo Retouching Photoshop Actions From Envato Market

Be sure to check out some of these amazing photo retouching Photoshop actions available on Envato Market.

Dramatic Eyes Action (PSD)

Dramatic Eyes ActionDramatic Eyes ActionDramatic Eyes Action

We all know that the eyes can make or break a portrait. Make your subject's eyes pop with this easy-to-use Dramatic Eyes Photoshop Action.

Eye Makeup Photoshop Action (PSD)

Eye Makeup Photoshop ActionEye Makeup Photoshop ActionEye Makeup Photoshop Action

This Eye Makeup Photoshop Action can quickly add some real drama to your model's face by adding colourful glitter. With unlimited adjustment layers, you're sure to find something for your photo!

Double Light Photoshop Action (PSD)

Double Light Photoshop ActionDouble Light Photoshop ActionDouble Light Photoshop Action

Create an incredibly realistic double light effect with this Double Light Photoshop Action. There are ten colour effects included, which can bring your photo to some amazing places.

Sharpen Retouch (PSD)

Sharpen Retouch Sharpen Retouch Sharpen Retouch

This Sharpen Retouch Action can bring the most out of a camera's potential. Sharpening is the final step to really make your photo shine.

Lensbeby (PSD)

LensbebyLensbebyLensbeby

Use this Lensbeby Photoshop Action to turn any photo into a faux tilt-shift lens photo! This brings some amazing intrigue to your portrait, leaving your subject in focus and blurring everything else.

Check out these tutorials and roundups to learn so much more:

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