Monday, February 24, 2014

Bright Eyes: Tips for photographing and editing eyes

I have always been obsessed with eyes and the way they can be captured in a photograph. But when I first started doing photography I didn't quite understand what I was doing and tended to edit people's eyes in a way that made them look overdramatic and *cough* fake. I wasn't doing it on purpose of course! I just wanted to add some brightness to people's eyes the way I saw others do in magazines as well as other photographers that I admired at the time.

The photograph below was the way I used to think eyes should be edited. Really bright and dramatic. I would usually circle the eye with a magnetic lasso and then brighten the whole eye because that was the only way I knew how to do it!

Now I shoot and edit people's eyes quite a bit differently. The key part being, I try not to edit people's eyes AT ALL. The next photograph is of the same girl about 2 years later. The only thing I did here was sharpen her eyes with a sharpening tool just a tiny bit.

So here are some tips for getting clear, crisp eyes in your photos!

1. Position your subject in good light! The light changes throughout the day so be aware! If you're shooting in bright sun, try to find some shade! However, some sunlight can naturally lighten the eyes if you're shooting in golden hour (about an hour before the sun goes down) and those photos can also be really lovely.

2. Use natural reflectors. I'm a natural light photographer, so I hardly ever use my flash (except for indoor wedding receptions that are dimly lit.) So I'm always looking for those natural reflectors that will reflect light into the eyes and face! Walls, surfaces and even the ground can reflect light! Take a few test shots to see where the light is best to place your subject.

3. Lastly, don't overdo the editing. The goal of getting natural, bright eyes is to position your subject in a way that makes their eyes look bright naturally so that when you go to edit your photos, you don't have to edit the eyes and make them look over-the-top (like I used to do.) If the eyes need a little something, I'll usually just go over them with a sharpening brush at a low opacity and that usually brightens them up a little as well!

I hope that helped some of you out! If you have any photography questions just shoot me a message! 

-Sincerely, E. 

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