The secret in portrait photography: catch light in the eyes

The secret in portrait photography: catch light in the eyes

Apr 22 , 2020

Eyes are the windows to the soul and a very important element in every portrait photo. When comes to the selfie ring light, we often talk about the catch light.
 Our eyes are very reflective, and in the photos, they will reflect the light from the light source, which is called catch light. In portrait photos, catch lights add life to your subject’s eyes and draw more of the viewers’ attention to them.



What is catch light


Catch light or catch light is a light source that causes a highlight in a subject's eye in an image. They are also referred to as eye lights. The catch light is either an artifact for a lighting method, or purposely engineered to add a glint or spark to a subject's eye during photography. The technique is effective in both still and motion picture photography; helping to draw attention towards the subject's eyes, which may otherwise get lost among other elements in the scene.

The importance of having a catch light in your portraits


One mistake new portrait photographers make is to find soft, gentle light, then assume they can photograph subjects naturally, facing in any direction, simply because they're not in harsh light.
Unfortunately, even on an overcast day with soft light, your portraits may turn out gloomy and dull if the subjects' eyes do not have a catch light! A catch light can be created simply by having your subjects face a naturally bright light source, or by adding a reflector or flash to the image.


Therefore, it is almost always a good idea to ensure that you have at least one light source, be it natural or artificial, that is strong enough to create a "sparkle" in your subjects' eyes.

How to create a catch light


To create a catch light, simply position a strong light source at an angle between you and your subject that allows the light source to be reflected in the subjects' eyes. The most common mistake is placing the light source too high, in which case the subjects' eyelids and eyelashes may obscure most or all of the catch light.



The easiest way to ensure you have a catch light, on the other hand, is to place the light source slightly beneath your camera's position, or just to the left or right of the camera, depending on your desired lighting effect.


What’s more, the selfie light and the ring light also create the beautiful circle catch light.


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