How to Photograph Catchlights in the Eyes

A catchlight is a light source that causes a reflective highlight off of the surface of the subject’s eye in an image. Portrait photographer’s seek catchlights because they add dimension and life to the subject.

Today we are focusing on how to achieve natural catchlights using natural light.  Three words: FIND THE LIGHT!

Open Shade:

Position your subject beneath a covered awning, open garage, bridge archway, or some other covered area in the shade  and face the subject towards the sun. The image below is a great example of this technique.

How to Photograph Catchlights in the Eyes

Open Sky:

Another good technique to capture catchlights in the subject’s eyes is taking the photo late in the day when the sun is low and again, face the subject towards the sun.


Cloudy Day:

A cloudy sky serves as one big soft box.  The clouds diffuse the light providing a soft muted light.  Again, face the subject towards the light source (sun) to achieve catchlights, even though the sun might be completely engulfed by clouds.


How to Photograph Catchlights in the Eyes

Window Light:  

Place the subject indoors in front of a window or door again facing the light source (the sun outside).  The light will filter in through the window and provide natural catchlights.


So remember,

  1. find the light

  2. face the subject to the light!

Would you like to read more photography tips and tricks?  Visit the post on how to photograph “2 Under 2” from guest blogger Jenn Brookover.

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Life, Lens, + Love,

Rachel and Lisa