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How Bright Flashes in the Eyes Change a Photo

How to Get the Most Out Of Your Photo conference:

You have chosen the model’s pose , set the lighting and found the desired shooting angle. Everything seems to be fine. Your model is motionless, looking into the lens with a lively and bright look. You focus, take a picture and … Somehow the end result is not quite what you planned to get. What could have gone wrong? It’s all about the look – the eyes of the model in the photo look somehow boring, not like in reality. Sounds familiar? What is missing? No, only the glare in the eyes disappeared.

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Glare, or lights in the eyes, is the reflection of light sources on the iris of the model’s eyes. You will always see such glare in professional portrait photography. For example, if you look closely at celebrity portraits taken by professional photographers, you will notice that the eyes of models always sparkle because of the light reflected in them. Newcomers to photography often forget about the enormous importance of such bright spots, how they enliven the look, make eyes sparkling like jewelry.

But glare in the eyes is not difficult to create. It is important not to forget to do this every time you take a portrait photo session. Compare two photos. Pictures were taken in the same place, and both models had the same facial expression. The only difference is the presence of eye gloss.

How are glare created?

All you have to do is shoot in a place where a bright object or light source is visible .

Key things to watch out for:

  • for daytime shots you should choose a place where the sky is in the field of view
  • for night shots or indoor shots, select the place where the source of some kind of light is visible
  • don’t let the model look directly at a bright light source
  • do not let the colored light reflect on the face of the model

Outdoor shots: the daytime sky creates the best glare

When shooting outdoors where the sky is visible, you don’t have to worry much about using the flash and lighting equipment.

Note! Do not let the model look directly at the bright midday sky! Not only is it harmful to the eyes, but too bright a light will cause a person to squint , and the photo will no longer have large bright eyes.

Taking off indoors

When you are indoors, make sure that the subject does not look in a dark place, as this means that the pupils will not reflect light and will not get the necessary glare. If you are shooting in the afternoon, check if you can position the person so that the window from which the sunlight pours is in his / her direct line of sight. If you shoot at night, you can use a scattered light source (such as a lamp) to create glare. It should be located on the side where the model is looking. But you may not be able to get the desired eye illumination effect if the light from the lamp is too weak.

Tip 1.

If you are unable to place the light source in the field of view of the subject, use a reflector. The reflector is also suitable for good face lighting, especially if the main light source is behind the model. Your assistant can hold the retro-reflector near the face so that the light hits the face correctly and gives a vibrant glare in the eyes. Reflectors come in many shapes and sizes.

Tip 2.

Use the rule of thumb “10 hours”, “2 hours.”

There is one general rule that many portrait photographers use. This is to place light sources at an angle from the model for 10 hours or 2 hours. It is believed that these positions look the most profitable, since light rays will naturally be created if you shoot outdoors in the afternoon sun. So why not try and see if this trick works for you?

About glare

Ideally, the glare in the eyes should be round. This is the most natural and visually pleasing shape (for example, the reflection of the sun of a round shape). The shape of the glare in the eyes in your photos can be a problem if you use a reflector or diffuser square in shape. These squares of light will be reflected in the eyes as squares.

Be careful with the amount of glare visible in the eye – fill light or reflectors will add extra rays of light. Usually one or two highlights in each eye look good. Therefore, you will need to retouch the image in a graphical editor or in a certain way to adjust the lighting to remove excess spots.

Difficulty shooting a model with glasses

Reflections of light in glasses of glasses are also glare, but they can kill a portrait faster than anything else. The first thought that many of us have is simply to photograph a person without glasses. It may work, but it can be a problem.

If your model in everyday life either wears, does not wear glasses, or sometimes uses contact lenses, you can shoot a portrait without glasses. A person will feel quite comfortable. But if a person always wears glasses, they are constantly present in his life, then a portrait without glasses can be perceived unnaturally. In addition, the model’s eyes may look defocused or even beveled to the side.

Since the light source during portraiture is usually located above the subject’s head, one way to avoid glare in the glasses is to slightly raise the glasses’ arms. This technique tilts the lenses of the glasses down and makes it possible to eliminate glare on the surface of the glasses. Be careful to tilt your glasses too much – if you overdo it, the portrait may look strange.

If the tilt of the glasses does not eliminate the glare, you may have to raise the light source.

Another hack: try to remove the glass from the frame and put on the model an empty frame. This method has been used by photographers for decades! For most eyeglass frames, it is easy to remove and replace the lenses with a screwdriver from the set of screwdrivers for glasses (which you must have in your arsenal). This is an excellent technique, but you need to be skillful and careful not to break glasses and not lose small cogs. So, not every photographer will use this method. And not with all modern models of frames.

What exactly will help: patiently search for the desired position of the head of the object, place the right light sources, monitor glare in the glasses of the model. Then everything will work out.

Have fun!

Try to create curly glare in the eyes. How to do it? The effect can be obtained using curly patterns.

It is necessary to cut a large template in the shape of a heart or star from hard white cardboard. Place it in the direction your model is looking. Point the light at this curly pattern. Light will be reflected from the white surface of the pattern and further from the shiny surface of the shell of the eyes. Get glare in the shape of a heart or asterisk.

About glare effect

From life hacks of photo artists: if you take a dramatic staged photo and you need to show a dead face, just remove the glare from the eyes and the effect of an inanimate face will be achieved. Can you imagine how important these small bright sparks are for the feeling of life ?!

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