Feb 24, 2015

How to Add a Reflection to Sunglasses in Photoshop

Learn how to add a reflection to sunglasses in today’s episode! Adding a little Paris to your studio portraits is simpler than you might think!

Hey, Cool Shades!

Start by scaling the scenery down to the right size. Lower the opacity to see how it will look inside of the lenses. Be aware that only one of the lenses needs to look good, because it will be copied!

Next, select the area right around the lens with the Marquee tool. Go to Select – Inverse, then press the delete key. Now you should have a little square of reflection over one eye. Copy that layer and move it over to be on top of the second eye. Now make the reflection layer invisible and select the Magic Wand tool. We use this to select out the lenses (be sure that “sample all layers” is checked). Use the refine edge tool to soften or bring the edge in a bit. Group those layers with themselves and hit the layer mask button.

To style the reflection so that it doesn’t look fake, create a levels adjustment layer. Darken the darks and mess with the output levels so that it looks more like a reflection. You can add a Hue/Saturation level as well, to match the color from the original lens. In this case, we make it a little bluer and lessen the saturation.

Being able to see through the glasses a little bit is extremely helpful in terms of realism. We use a black to transparent gradient to select areas to be darker, and others to be more see-through.

Now the part you’ve all been waiting for…time to blow some minds! Select the layer that the reflection is on with the Marquee tool. Go to Filter – Distort – Spherize. From here it’s very simple to adjust the slider to a certain amount of curve. This bulges the image out and makes it appear less flat!


user image You
(will not be published)

  • Bob

    Nice job Aaron. Thank you for taking the time to do this tutorial during your busy schedule with CreativeLive seminar this week! Here’s a composite I’ve been working on.


    • user image

      Hi Bob!

      Thanks so much for the kind words and for being a fan! And beautiful image!

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    Trevor Coultart

    Don’t want to be *too* pernickety, but don’t we first need to flip the reflected image horizontally to make the reflection accurate?

    • user image

      Why would it matter if the subject isn’t in view? Or it’s not text.

  • user image

    BTW the photo of the reflection is set to Lighten blend mode (in the video) and Aaron doesn’t mention doing so nor does show it to us.

  • user image

    Nice tutorial….can you please give some tutorial on Advertisement Design For Indian Jewellery…more focus on jewellery wear by model.

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    kodjo kevin

    Cool, really interesting…. can u do something about label design?

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    Alberto Ramirez

    Thanks for the episode, I do have a question.
    There are a specific brand of sunglasses I own that I have being trying to make this kind of effect but the thing is that they are Golden Yellowish kind, I find it very very difficult to make a REALISTIC look when doing this kind of effect.

    The brand is Mykita, more specific the FRANZ model.
    This is what I have so far but how can I get the “SEX AND THE CITY” look of the poster?

    I think I’m almost there, but still not convinced.

  • user image

    Why do you wait ’till the end to distort? I tend to do that just after positioning the “reflection”-image(s). I get a better feel for how much it should be distorted that way. Is there a specific reason why you do that last?