Nothing seems to be a more prevalent request than to whiten one’s teeth in photographs. Be it wedding images, everyday shots, or anything in between – it’s very easy to make the necessary changes to the teeth in Photoshop CS6 to make them shine bright and stand out.
We’ll look at two different methods to whitening teeth in Photoshop. So read through them, take your pick, and start editing your images like a pro.
How to Whiten Teeth in Photoshop
There are likely more ways than the below to make yellow teeth not so unappealing in photos, but these are our best picks.
1. Using the Hue/Saturation Tool
Right-click the Lasso Tool and choose select the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
Although teeth are slightly rounded at times, this tool will work great for what we want to do.
Click on a corner of the mouth where the tooth and gum meet, and then move the mouse to a point where you can cover the tooth. Keep moving along the lip or gum (wherever the teeth happen to rest in the photo) until you cover the whole mouth.
Partway through, the canvas should look similar to this:
When the selection is completed, it shall look like this one:
Now right-click in the teeth area and select Refine Edge. Ensure the same lasso tool is still selected when right-clicking.
Slightly adjust the Smooth factor so the selection edges aren’t sharp and unrealistic looking.
Press OK and then head up to the Hue/Saturation item in the Image > Adjustments menu.
The adjustments made in this window will change the tone of the existing color of the teeth. I find this to create the most natural-looking white teeth in Photoshop.
What you want to do is adjust the Hue as a decrease to the point of the teeth making a near red color. Then decrease the Saturation to reduce the red color and bring it to a more white or grey color. Finally, (and be stingy here) increase the Lightness. This last adjustment isn’t always necessary but it does add a nice bright feel to the teeth. Don’t overdo it, as it can easily make the image rather unrealistic.
Our final result when using the Hue/Saturation tool is a quick and easy bright color to an otherwise slightly yellow mouth.
Cool Tip: Press Ctrl+D to quickly deselect a selected image, returning it to a normal appearance.
2. Adjusting the Color Balance
Select the teeth as we did just previously by using the Polygonal Lasso Tool.
Open the Color Balance window from the Image > Adjustments menu item.
While these settings look similar to those found in the Hue/Saturation window, the adjustments here are for specific color ranges.
We’ve moved the Red to a more blue-ish color, the purple toward Green and then Yellow over against the Blue. This will remove the yellow, slightly change the blue, and give the teeth a small hint of a light blue color.
While there is a little blue hue to the color of the teeth, the overall appearance is much better than it was previously.
Which Solution is Better?
Both of the above methods will change any discolored teeth to a regular-looking white set. While both methods take only a short time to complete, the question you might have in your mind would be which is considered the better method?
It really depends on the original color of the teeth as to which solution is preferred, so the results will vary depending on the method and the original image. That being said, the first method with the Hue/Saturation tool is more likely to encompass a better result given the wide variety of images you may need to correct. The option sets of that method give greater control over the colors.
Here are the results side by side for easy comparison:
Try both the above methods next time when you need to whiten teeth using Photoshop, and let us know what worked better. If you know of a better way, share it in the comments.