Catch If You Can

…and I mean catch lights. And you should always have them in portraits. Like in this one of model Kim that I took a few hours ago:

The catch lights are the little sparkles of light in the subject’s eyes. They make the subject look alive.

To get them, make sure there is a light source in front of the subject, above. This can be…

  • A reflector.
  • A natural light source, like a window with non-direct light.
  • A flash in an umbrella, like here.
  • Or a flash in a softbox – this gives you a square catch light.
  • A flash on your camera, bounced at the ceiling behind you.
  • A flash on your camera, direct or with a little bounce card.

The last option is not ideal since it will give you a small, centered catch light. Ideally, the catch light is high in the eye. Not in the middle of the pupil, and that is what direct flash gives you.

If your light source does not show in the eye, move it lower.

Like most things in photography, it is simple once you know it – nd especially, once you start paying attention to it! So from now on, look for catch lights in your subject’s eyes, and do what you need to get them if you are not getting them!



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