Tuesday, January 4, 2011

1-4-11 Eyes Make a Portrait

Today I want to highlight the importance of catchlight.  Catchlight is the reflection of light you see in the eyes.  In a portrait it makes the eyes stand out.  A portrait without catchlight will seem dull and lifeless.  My model today to illustrate the difference catchlight makes is my sweet pooch, Maya.  Yes, I am using the dog because after all, my goal is to be different and creative this year.   In the first image Maya is lit by window light on her left side.  Her left eye has catchlight but the right eye is dull.  Still a cute picture but it can be better if her right side had a little lighting. 

In the next image I got out my Larson 42"x72" retractable super silver reflector and set it on Maya's right side.  Now there is catchlight in both eyes and her fur is more evenly lit.  The left eye is lit by the window light and the right eye has the window light reflected back into the eye with the reflector.   Much better image.  

The last image is the second image with a few enhancements just for fun.  

This will not be Maya's last time on the blog but the first of many as she is aways with me and loves to greet clients when they come to the studio.   In fact some of my clients who come to the studio every year often will ask to see her BEFORE we can start a session.  Cheers for now, time to feed the dog.


  1. Interesting lesson. I definitely see what you mean. I like the photoshopping in the 3rd version. Don't know how you got the background without also getting the dog.

    I will say, that before I went to the trouble of getting out my "Larson 42"x72" retractable super silver reflector and set it on Maya's right side," I probably would have turned Maya. ;<))

  2. Maybe next time you can take a picture of how you took the picture So we can see the reflector and how it's being used.

  3. Rory, turning Maya was not an option in the location we did the portrait. Had we not been limited in space turning her would have worked. In the images with the reflector Maya was turned more away from the window light but because of the reflector there was no loss of light on her.