If the eyes are the window to the soul, then you won’t want to overlook this detail in your portraits
posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 11:30 AM EDT
When you look at a portrait, one of the first things that often jumps out at you is the subject's eyes. It's often said that eyes are the windows to the soul, so it only makes sense that a good portrait will depend upon the eyes. Human eyes are very reflective, which can be used to your advantage. However, it can also cause issues if you aren't careful.
The reflection of light in eyes in photography is called a catchlight and in the latest episode of "Two Minute Tips" David Bergman shows us how to capture nice catchlights and avoid potential issues with unwanted reflections in the eyes.
We are used to seeing a tiny specular highlight in the top part of people's eyes when we see them outside. It's a natural look and it's one that is often replicated in a studio. You want your subject to look toward your light source to get a nice, natural-looking catchlight, regardless of the light source. The shape of your light source and light modifier can greatly change the shape of your catchlight. In fact, you can often learn more about another photographer's lighting setup by inspecting their subject's eyes.
Catchlights seem like a small detail, but they are very important in your portraits. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received for landscape photography was to always check the edges of my frame before shooting. It can be easy to miss a distracting element along the edge because it seems so small relative to the task at hand. A catchlight is similar in that respect. It seems small. You're worried about overall lighting, focus and much more when shooting a portrait. But think about the shape and size of your catchlight to ensure your subject looks natural and lively.