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More than one catchlight

Geraint 11 715 34 Wales
20 Feb 2009 1:08PM
Is this generally a 'no no' when it comes to portraits? I almost exclusively use one light on the model and bring a reflector in when I think a bit of fill is needed. This produces a second catchlight in the eyes, and sometimes I think it suits the shot whereas sometimes I find it a distraction. I suppose it depends where on the eye it appears...Anyway, I know it's all subjective but I was wondering if there was an unwritten rule that says that 'more than one catchlight is a sign of a crap photographer'...Wink

P.S. I find it less of a problem outside in natural light, as the catchlights are less pronounced, so a reflector acts as sort of the main catchlight with the sky/other reflections also contributing.

P.P.S I should mention that I generally use a square softbox with gaffer tape stuck on the corners to mimick an octagon shape to make the catchlights more natural...

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rowarrior 10 4.4k 9 Scotland
20 Feb 2009 1:24PM
Hmm, well I heard some camera club judges think it's the end of the world, and others that thought it wasn't a problem. Depends what you're doing with them I guess lol
Mjhearne 11 432 4 Scotland
20 Feb 2009 3:07PM
I dont see it as a problem, infact I like to see catchlights. I tend to always have more than one in my photos! EEEKKK! So some people class this as crap photography??
CathyT 12 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2009 5:01PM
Hoffy suggested to get rid of one of them on HERE...

it was snowing outside and the catchlights were caused by snow on the ground , then garden fence, then a bright sky. For this shot I left both in.

I suppose with studio work you have more control but using window light you could have some quite messy catch lights and would need to get rid of some.
csurry 15 9.2k 92
20 Feb 2009 5:06PM
Nice click fishing Cathy Wink
CathyT 12 7.3k 18 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2009 5:07PM
paulashby 9 10 1 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2009 1:04PM
Catchlights make or break a portrait I think less is more in this case but looking at fashion shots you often see more than one and it tends to be done well, the one that gets on my nerve is the old light over both shoulders flash set up that you used to see in many high st photographers, this one definitely looks amateurish and please don't pay to much notice of the old camera club judges some of them really do need to look again at how studio lighting is used.
Professional 10 128 United Arab Emirates
13 Mar 2009 5:03PM
I had a shot of my daughter with 2 catchlights, but many comments critique that i should delete one and keep one.
videoman Plus
13 58 1 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2009 7:43PM
Catchlights can enhance a portrait or they can be a distraction.
If it's the former, leave them alone, if it's the latter then reduce the size and/or intensity of the offending lights, or remove the distracting lights if you have multiples, but the only judge you should believe is yourself!
thewilliam 9 6.1k
17 Mar 2009 11:36AM
No portrait would ever leave our studio with more than one catchlight in each eye, but this is probably old fashioned thinking!
Krakman 11 3.6k Scotland
17 Mar 2009 12:03PM
Multiple catchlights don't bother me.
Tonyd3 Plus
13 1.0k 17 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2009 12:06PM
It is, just look at the very best the photo and video industry has to offer, ie Ads on TV and Pop videos using the latest technology. time to move forward into the 21st century, rules are for breaking.

Would be nice to see some of your professional work in your portfolio.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2009 1:27PM

Quote:rules are for breaking

i would have thought only if it produces something worth looking at.

i saw a portrait last night with 5 catchlights in each eye, what the hell is that all about, there was only one sun last time i looked and i thought the whole objective was to recreate natural light and shadow.
there is something slightly unnatural about a woman with two white umbrellas in each eye in my opinion. Wink
Krakman 11 3.6k Scotland
17 Mar 2009 1:31PM

Quote:i thought the whole objective was to recreate natural light and shadow.

Is it?
Mjhearne 11 432 4 Scotland
17 Mar 2009 1:40PM

Quote:Quote:i thought the whole objective was to recreate natural light and shadow.Is it?

Not sure I agree either.

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