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12-21-2018, 08:49 PM   #1
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question on how to eliminate lighting reflections from the eyes.

Hello,

One of my pet peeves is seeing a close up portrait and seeing the reflection of the lighting gear used
in the models eyes.

Question, is there a better technique of taking close up's that does not cause the gear to be reflected
in the models eyes?

Thanks.

12-21-2018, 09:03 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by midnightvisions Quote
Hello,

One of my pet peeves is seeing a close up portrait and seeing the reflection of the lighting gear used
in the models eyes.

Question, is there a better technique of taking close up's that does not cause the gear to be reflected
in the models eyes?

Thanks.
I think a single catchlight in each eye enhances a portrait. Octagonal softboxes produce a rounder catchlight than square ones.

If using multiple light sources the just go to work in Photoshop, first painting out the unwanted reflections and then optionally painting in the desired ones.
12-21-2018, 09:09 PM   #3
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I think portraits without catchlights are dead, myself.

Someone with shark eyes because the photographer didn't arrange light in the upper half of the iris? Yuk.

Photoshop out if you feel differently, though. It's what you do in product photography, like cars, to remove some of the many light sources used.

12-21-2018, 09:36 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by midnightvisions Quote
One of my pet peeves is seeing a close up portrait and seeing the reflection of the lighting gear used
in the models eyes.
Perhaps you are refering to " bad " catchlights. I agree that sometimes they are too big and seem to be in the wrong spot on the eye. But as both Peter and Ian mentioned, ( good ) catchlights enhance the image and bring life to the eyes.
Below I have linked a brief tutorial on catchlights and their purpose and use. I hope this helps.


An Introduction to Catchlights

12-21-2018, 11:28 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Thanks for the opinions, and pjv thanks for the link to Catchlights.
I understand why the lights look better at the 10 and 2 position, is because we are adjusted to see light coming from above. Seeing big softbox lights reflecting in the lower eye looks odd to me, and I've just started to hate seeing it. I also can't stand it if the light is softbox shaped, square, rectangular, octagonal or other. It is an effect that is just over used and I'm growing to hate it all together.

I'm curious if anybody has developed another photographic technique that provides the brightness, but does not provide the obvious reflection in the eyes.

Yes there is photoshop, but I have not been able to undo a soft box reflection out of a persons eye and not leave obvious traces. So I'm back to wondering of there are any tricks for photographing the model that does not show soft box reflections in the eye.
12-22-2018, 01:19 AM   #6
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Ansel Adams ** has a nice example in his book "Camera and Lens"--see Photo 138 on page 274 (of Foujita). He (Adams) mentions using two light fixtures and "The angle of lighting was such that there are no reflections in the glasses. [and] There are no catch-lights in the eyes (which some photographers may consider a fault)." So apparently it can be done w/o and particular additional equipment.

One of my colleges has a series of many very large portraits and I find the sameness of the catchlights to be very unnatural and rather ugly. And by extension I can see how individual portraits, all w/ a catchlight, would become problematic. In any event, whatever I or any other photographer (besides yourself) likes or does not like is of no consequence.
_____
** By the way, it may be useful to look at his Book V "Artificial-Light Photography"--I never looked at that book so I cannot say more about it.

Last edited by dms; 12-22-2018 at 01:25 AM. Reason: added footnote
12-22-2018, 06:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
I think portraits without catchlights are dead, myself.
It's been a tradition for newspapers to paint out the highlights in the eyes of photos they print if the person is deceased.
12-22-2018, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Its something to consider, but I don't think I would worry, so long as the catchlights are naturally placed ...ie coming from above, like the sun or ceiling lights. That's a recent shot of mine that clearly shows the main softbox light. (a brighter square shape) and the umbrella fill light (a dimmer rounder reflection). I rather like them, and feel they add the needed life and sparkle. I don't think it would be any better as a portrait without them, or different ..... What do you all think?

12-22-2018, 07:18 AM   #9
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There's the old trick of putting two strips of gaffers tape to form a + sign on the softbox to make the highlight look more like a naturally occurring window. I'm not a people photographer, but I've done variations of this where I let some branches or grass or other plants go between the subject and the softbox to (literally) take the edge of square specular reflections.
12-22-2018, 08:37 AM   #10
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One technique for greatly reducing reflections from glass covering a copy board is to use linear polarizers on the light sources (all oriented the same way) and a polarizer over the lens adjusted to minimize any reflections. It probably won't be as effective with eyes because the surface of the eye tends to depolarize light, but it might be worth a try.

You might want to experiment with smaller light sources to begin with so you don't have to invest in large sheets of polarizer material that would be needed for soft boxes or other large lighting sources.

Last edited by Bob 256; 12-22-2018 at 08:44 AM.
12-22-2018, 10:05 AM - 3 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by midnightvisions Quote
but I have not been able to undo a soft box reflection out of a persons eye and not leave obvious traces
Use the healing brush or clone stamp tool to get rid of the reflection. It is easy whether on the pupil or iris. Then just use a soft brush to paint in a white catchlight.

Before and after pictures here....
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12-22-2018, 10:11 AM - 4 Likes   #12
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...and now without catchlights !!! The sparkle of the portrait is lost completely.
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12-22-2018, 10:27 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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Just for fun once, I took a portrait I made with a two-light setup - with twin catchlights in each eye. I then made a copy of the JPEG, but painted out the more distracting catchlight in each eye.


I showed the portraits, side by side on my computer screen to several people, each time asking which they preferred - not drawing any attention to the eye details.

Everyone picked the single catchlight image, without knowing why they preferred it.
12-22-2018, 01:53 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
It's been a tradition for newspapers to paint out the highlights in the eyes of photos they print if the person is deceased.
Very interesting, NaN!
12-23-2018, 01:13 AM   #15
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Thanks for the feedback. Pschlute, I see how Photoshop can edit the lights out, but in this case of very hard contrasts, its almost adds an evil effect to the eyes, kind of devil dog. I want to bring out more natural color of the eyes without washing them out with lighting effects. I haven't found a technique that works, but I'm resigned that I may have to photograph the eye separately and then Photoshop them in. Some days the ideas in my head just don't translate to the real world.

Bob256, I like it, it has the potential to work.

dms, gonna look those books up. What's old is new again, but the basics rarely change even with time.

Brian R, Diffuse the edges so the brain does not register the light as a soft box pattern, An additional diffuser could also help with overall spot burn. I think Adorama dis a tutorial like that on their youtube page, gonna look that up.

Thanks guys!
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