WEX Offer: Save 50 On The Olympus OM-D E-M1X

How To Create Catchlights In Your Portrait Shots

Here are 3 quick top tips on capturing catchlights in portraits which includes advice on why they're a good thing as well as instructions on how you can feature them in your photos.

|  Portraits and People
 Add Comment

Portrait with catchlights

 

1. What's A Catchlight?

A catchlight is simply a light's highlight reflected off the surface of your subject's eyes. They subtly breathe life into portraits by adding a little more depth to the eyes and are something that painters were using in portraits long before photography was a popular pastime.

 

2. How Do I Create Them?

What light source you're using, how strong it is and how far it is from your subject will change the shape and size of the catchlight. The larger the light source, the bigger the catchlight will be and if you have multiple light sources, you can end up with more than one catchlight appearing on the eyes.

You can use artificial or natural light to create catchlights, just remember that direct flash will produce a much smaller catchlight than flash that's reflected off a brolly and if you're working outside, the catchlights can have a slight blue tint to them. When working indoors with fill-in light as well as a key / main light source, your additional, fill-in light may create an additional set of catchlights in your subject's eyes. Some people like the effect so if you're one of these, just make sure one is dimmer than the other so they're not too distracting. You can always try removing one set in your editing software too, but it's always easier to get it right in-camera first rather than relying on Photoshop.

 

Portrait

 

3. Where To Position The Catchlights?

If you look at the eye as if it was a clock you should try and get the catchlight to sit, ideally, at 10 or 12 o'clock but anywhere between a quarter to and quarter past should work just as well. Of course, this isn't set in stone and you may prefer to use a lower position. Placing your light source above your subject's head will also help you get the positioning of the catchlights right.

 

You've read the technique now share your related photos for the chance to win prizes: Daily Forum Competition

Support this site by making a Donation, purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, WEX

It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.

Other articles you might find interesting...

4 Top Tips On How To Photography People In Markets
5 Top Gig Photography Tips Every Music Fan Needs
Shoot Better Environmental Portraits With These 5 Tips
3 Top Tips On Shooting Stunning Summer Silhouettes
12 Essential Tips For Capturing Images At The Edinburgh Fringe
How To Take Great photos At A Re-Enactment Weekend
5 Basic But Essential Top Portrait Photography Tips
7 Top Carnival Photography Tips

Comments


danbrann 16 640 17
18 Jul 2016 6:40PM
24654_1468863635.jpg
danbrann 16 640 17
18 Jul 2016 6:41PM
24654_1468863671.jpg
danbrann 16 640 17
18 Jul 2016 6:41PM
24654_1468863693.jpg

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.