Even though you may frequently tell your subjects to “say cheese”, no one actually wants their smile to be akin to a block of cheddar. If your photos could use some post-production Crest Whitestrips, check out these tips to whiten & brighten teeth in Photoshop (including Photoshop Elements).
Select the Lasso Tool
Start by drawing a selection around the teeth. To do this, select the Lasso Tool from the Toolbar.
Draw a selection around the teeth
To start, draw a selection around the teeth while staying as close to the edges as possible. After making the selection, right click on the selected area, choose feather and give it a value of approximately 3-5 pixels.
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
Click the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon, then choose Hue/Saturation from the list. A Hue/Saturation adjustment layer will appear above the Background layer.
Change the edit option To yellows
By default, Hue/Saturation affects all colors in the image equally, and that’s because the edit option is set to Master. To edit only the yellows in the image in order to remove the yellow from the teeth, change the edit option to Yellows.
Lower the saturation of the yellow
Click on the Saturation slider and begin dragging it to the left. The further you drag, the more you’ll desaturate the yellow in the teeth, making them whiter. Keep in mind that teeth naturally have some yellow in them, so if you drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left, you’ll remove the yellow completely, resulting in teeth that look dull and grayish-white. Keep an eye on your image as you drag the slider and leave just enough yellow to keep the teeth looking natural. The setting you need will depend on how yellow the teeth were to begin with.
Brighten the teeth
Now that the teeth have been whitened, you may want to brighten them as well. To do this, change the Edit option in the Properties panel from Yellows back to Master to adjust all colors at once (not just the yellows). Click the Lightness slider and begin dragging it towards the right. The further you drag, the lighter the teeth will appear. Keep an eye on your image as you drag the slider so you don’t brighten them too much. After the teeth are to the desired whiteness & brightness, press CTRL+D (on a PC) to deselect the area.
And there you have it! By following the steps above, you can take your subject’s smile from dull & yellow to white & bright!