My Photo Blog

The Answer Is In The Eyes

Just about everyone takes pictures as a part of our everyday lives. For many it is capturing a moment, or something they wish to share with family and friends. The question is, how was the subject lit? And what makes it more interesting than the one in the drawer, or computer hard drive with thousands of other images? When it’s a portrait, it’s in the eyes! Yes, the expression is important. But the key to how the subject was lit is also in their eyes. As I dived into professional photography, the effect of lighting fascinated me. Zooming into a portrait and looking in their eyes I could see the types of lights that were used and where they were placed. If the subject was in natural light from a window, you could see that too. You could see if the photographer used soft boxes, reflectors, or umbrellas. Did they use a bounce card, or reflector? It’s in there. Going beyond subjects with eyes, reflective subjects also hold that information. When you look at an advertisement for a sleek luxury car, notice how the light flows across it unbroken. In most cases it is done with a soft box, or reflector that exceeds the length of the car. Looking at photographs of foods that are wet, or glazed will give you the same information. For most subject matter those reflections just become a part of the image, until you are shooting chrome. There you not only have the lights, but you and the camera are reflected as clear as day. Even today, I find myself analyzing how a photograph, or motion picture was lit.

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