Friday, May 7, 2010


You've heard the saying, "The eyes are the window to the soul." Well, in photography, not only are the eyes windows to the soul, but you can sometimes SEE the window IN the eyes!

To the left is a small selection from a restoration I've just completed. The original image was badly faded and discolored and very tiny (only 1.5 x 2"). When you looked at the original, you saw the little boy, but couldn't discern any of the details.

After bringing some of the original detail back, I found that both eyes had light streaks across them. While you couldn't see this at all in the original, in the restoration it became a major distraction.

The catchlights captured by photography are always in the shape of the light source. If your subject's face is illuminated by a rectangular window, the catchlight will be rectangular. If the light source is round, the catchlight will also be round. If you use a flash, you will most often notice a single very bright spot in the center of the eyes. (not the most attractive catchlight, in my opinion)

I couldn't see any visible scratches in the original image that would have caused these light streaks, so I have to wonder if these streaks are actually the shape of the flash the photographer used. Regardless of the source of the streaks, they had to go.

Remember to look at the eyes of your subjects. Watch for the catchlights. A window with diffused lights creates beautiful light in the eyes as does light coming under a porch or other outdoor structure.

By the way: sometimes, you will find yourself reflected in your subject's eyes. (Look carefully at the little boy's eyes at the beginning of this post.)

It's going to be a beautiful weekend here in the MidSouth. Take your camera and a favorite person and practice finding and capturing the light in their eyes.

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