Hendersonville, North Carolina ~ 828.785.2389

August 22, 2011

More Than A Snapshot: Photography Tips | Hendersonville, NC Photographer

So here we are with our 7th installment of our More Than A Snapshot series. Today I want to talk a little bit about catch lights. But first, if you have missed any of our other installments, you can check them all out here:


2. Fill your frame.

3. Capture the scenery.

4. Remembering the details.

5. Composition

6. Be Weird

Catch lights are another thing that can take a good picture to a great picture. Just by adding a little light.

So what are catch lights? Catch lights are the little spots of lights that reflect in peoples eyes. That little dab of light that makes the eyes really sparkle. Makes your picture really come to life.

So how do you get a catch light? Sometimes it will be a happy accident. Sometimes you will have to work for it a little. Sometimes you will have to work for it a lot if the lighting isn’t good where you are shooting.

Let’s look at the difference between an image with catch lights and an image without the catch lights.

The first image is without catch lights. 
See how the eyes are sort of just a dark pits. 
Still a cute picture.  Just missing a little something.

This one is obviously with catch lights. 
See the reflection of light from the window in their eyes.
See how it makes their eyes sparkle. 

Do you see how much those little specks of light can do?

They take the eyes from dark pits to lively, sparkling awesomeness.

In order to get this catch light, your subject needs to have some light getting into the eyes. If you have had a session with me, you have probably heard me say something about finding good light. Good light to me is natural light. Generally speaking, the flash on your camera is not going to give you “good light”. I highly encourage you to learn to shoot without your flash as much as possible. Natural light is so much more beautiful in your images. All that being said, there are times when the flash is necessary. Times when there just isn’t enough light. But please do practice without it.

Sometimes if you are lucky you will get two catch lights in each eye.
Having your subject look up towards you is a great way to get some catch lights in their eyes.

If you are shooting outdoors, open shade is the best option if you can find it. Place your subject in that shade and then look into their eyes. If you can’t see the catch lights, turn them in a different direction. Keep doing this until you see that sparkle in their eye.

If indoors trying to take pictures of your kids playing or something, try to have them play near a window or door. Somewhere where the natural light is coming into your house. Then position yourself between your subject and the light source. You should see those sparkles shooting this way.

Go find that natural light, turn your subject so the light is catching in their eyes, and shoot gorgeous images.

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