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[Part 2] Making Your Eyes Look as Brilliant as Celebrities!

Have you ever had the experience of appearing dull in a photo that lacks impact despite the attractive pose you have struck with your eyes looking large and bright? If your answer is positive, then catchlight could be the reason. The key to making you look as brilliant as a celebrity is to capture "light" in your eyes! (Reported by: Oliya T. Yabuta)

The above are two photos taken at the same location with the same facial expression. The resulting impression is distinctly different depending on whether light is captured in the eyes.

Choose a location where bright light is in view

If we look closely at the photos of celebrities taken by professional photographers, we can tell that light is captured in their eyes, making them appear brilliant. This light, generally known as "catchlight," is an indispensable element in the works of professional photographers, as its presence changes the impression of the subject's face drastically. It is remarkably easy to make use of catchlight: simply find a location where a bright object or light source is in sight.

Find a location where light is in sight

  • For day shots, choose a place where the sky is in view
  • For night or indoor shots, choose a place where a light is in view
  • Do not look directly into a bright light source
  • Do not cast colored light on the face

The perfect type of catchlight is none other than the "sky" in the day. Acting as a huge catchlight, the broad sky makes your eyes appear brilliant. Simply ensure that the sky is in sight in the direction you are looking into. There is no need to look directly into the sky, as your eyes would turn out small if the sky is too glaring.

Meanwhile, for indoor shots, you need to pay attention to the orientation of your face, as it may cause your eyes to turn out dark even when you are shooting indoors in the day. As illustrated in the bad example above, catchlight is not captured when your face is looking into a direction that is dark. If you are taking a photo indoors in the day, including a window brightened by the sunlight in the direction you are looking into helps to create an effective catchlight.

For an indoor shot at night, include a lamp with a large shade in the direction you are looking into. You may not be able to obtain the desired catchlight effect if the light is too small.

HINT: Create a heart- or star-shaped catchlight in your eyes!

By placing a large, white board cut into the shape of a heart or a star in the direction you are looking into, you can create a heart- or star-shaped catchlight! Casting light on the white board produces a bright catchlight and makes the shape clearly visible.


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Oliya T. Yabuta

After his career with a TV production firm and a computer peripheral manufacturer in product planning and advertisement production, Yabuta became a writer and portrait photographer. He excels in writing commentaries that are beginner-friendly.