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Thread: Reflection or light on an eye

  1. #11
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Quote Originally Posted by Sevo View Post
    In MP photography, eyelights tend to be camera-mounted Inky-Dinks or Dedolights - i.e. 250W halogen (or 100W HMI) fresnel spots. A bit more than just a white card.
    No they don't. That's my day job. You're thinking of the style about 50 years ago.

  2. #12

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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Catch lights really do add another dimension to portraits somehow, they bring attention to interesting irises and pupils. Or rather, irises can be one of the more interesting features of a person.

    I find wide open eyes and large pupils are best. Getting as close as possible, and focusing on the iris is also helpful.

    A subject wearing glasses can make catch lights harder to achieve, though in some cases more interesting.

    I usually get nice ones outside in soft / low light (with the sky as the source), or in the studio with a soft box (or other modifier), as close to the subject as possible. Or by putting subject in front of a window with nice light outside.

    I've tended to get the best catch lights outside using medium format, however I find the Super D a great camera for outdoor portraits, and don't think it impossible to get good catch lights outside using it.

    Natural catch lights almost always look great, studio catch lights have to be worked at more, the placement and even the angle of the modifiers is important to the look.

    I think it's OK (even desirable) to have more than one catch light per eye, as long as the placement is good.

    I've read, and I think it's true, that catch lights look best when they're in the top half of the iris. Too low can make for a ghoulish appearance (I think this refers mostly to in-studio catch lights) as natural ones tend to look good wherever placed, and usually are more all over the place.

    One of my favorite portraits from Thomas Ruff has two catch lights in each eye. You can infer some of the lighting setup based on the catch lights. Looks like Ruff was using two strobes with round modifiers ... perhaps umbrellas?

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    Here are two medium format photos I took, one outside in low light (using the sky), and one inside using a window, where I particularly like the catch lights:

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    And here's a 4x5 I shot in-studio where I think two catch lights work:


  3. #13
    C. D. Keth's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    There's nothing worse to me than seeing the catchlight from a ringlight on the lens. That is followed closely by catchlights from umbrellas.

  4. #14
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Ditto , Christopher! Please follow that up with two widely separated catchlights, one on each side of the eye that shows a two light set up in the wrong location. When the fill is on the same side of the camera as the main (where it belongs), those catchlights tend to get combined and look natural and much more beautiful. If a photographer thinks more fill is needed on the shadow side, make it a big white or gold flat that's far enough off to the side where it doesn't reflect in the eyes.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  5. #15
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    One catchlight per eye as there's only one sun. A catchlight is a natural phenomenon that occurs because of the sun reflecting in peoples' eyes. It also adds life to the eyes which often appear dead in a photo without them.

  6. #16

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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Klein View Post
    One catchlight per eye as there's only one sun. A catchlight is a natural phenomenon that occurs because of the sun reflecting in peoples' eyes. It also adds life to the eyes which often appear dead in a photo without them.
    that's ridiculous. the sun has never been the only bright object reflected in people's eyes and we've been living in a world littered with artificial light sources for ages, so there's no reason to limit yourself to a single catchlight, especially if your subject is lit from multiple angles.

  7. #17
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Before I knew, I removed catchlights

    A few years before this thread started
    image

  8. #18
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    Quote Originally Posted by maltfalc View Post
    that's ridiculous. the sun has never been the only bright object reflected in people's eyes and we've been living in a world littered with artificial light sources for ages, so there's no reason to limit yourself to a single catchlight, especially if your subject is lit from multiple angles.
    The brain only anticipates one catchlight per eye. More is not natural. Just because you're using let's say three lights to light a subject, you don't put in three catchlights in each eye. The viewer doesn't care how many lights you use and is expecting to see only one.

  9. #19
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    This thread is out of date...contemporary kitsch imagery uses fake ringlight effect...

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  10. #20
    Pieter's Avatar
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    Re: Reflection or light on an eye

    I'd hate to find out what you guys think of Martin Schoeller's light...I think he uses 2 Kinoflos.

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