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Photography Question 

Getting Catchlights in Subject's Eyes

Is there a sure-fire way to capture catchlights in a subject's eyes?

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2/24/2007 4:46:29 PM

John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
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4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Debbie,
A small strobe near the lens will give you a catch light. Near does not mean an on-camera strobe, though that works. Generally a strobe within about 3 feet of the lens works well. If you use an on-camera strobe, you’ll have a catch light just about dead center in the pupil. If you make this the main source of light in your shot, you’ll have other problems, but you’ll have a catch light.
Thanks, John Siskin

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2/24/2007 6:16:30 PM

Bruce A. Dart   Hi Debbie,
A "catchlight" is the reflection in the eye from nearly any direct light source -- and it can be from window light as well. A camera level strobe often produces another, unwanted catch light (red eye) when the flash is on the same level as the subject's eyes. For this reason, as well as better shape of the subject, lights are usually raised to nearly 45 degrees above eye level and aimed down to light the face, or subject.
Multiple catchlights, evident in magazine cosmetic ads, add sparkle to the subject's eyes. The angle of the strobe produces a catchlight in that spot in the eyes; i.e. high to the left of camera gives about an 11 o'clock position of the catchlight in the eye. Bounce light, especially from a ceiling, gives soft light and usually no catchlight. It has to be more direct.

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2/28/2007 1:44:54 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Use Photoshop. Can't miss.

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2/28/2007 2:01:45 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  Many flash heads come with the pop-out reflector card - for capturing catchlights. Aim your flash at the ceiling... pop-out the white plastic card on your flash.... and shoot. Result... nice bounce flash with catchlights in the eyes.

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3/1/2007 3:34:53 PM

Roy Blinston
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2005
  Additonal to this... just paint them in using Photoshop... or tweak the existing catchlights for any effect desired.

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3/1/2007 3:36:41 PM

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