The magic of catchlights

Catchlights make any portrait come alive,  with just that glitter of light in the eyes,  your portrait takes a whole new dimension. But the tricky question is,  how to get them?

Well,  if you’re in studio and have control over your lighting, then,  that’s easier. Take a test shot, position your umbrellas or reflectors so the catchlights look natural,  pros suggest a catchlight placed at 10 or 2 o’clock (imagine the eye is a clock).   A catch light at the bottom of the eye is not as appealing.

What happens though if you are  (like me most of the times)  shooting in natural light?  Find a light source or a reflective surface.    Sky,  have your subject lift his/her face a bit towards the sky so a glint of light appears in the eye.    Water, snow,  sand,  and of course,  a window.    Try your hand at catchlights,  and have fun doing it!    Try placing your subject facing the light source or have the light source slightly on his/her side,  you will see the difference in the eyes.    Have your subject look up,  or down and see the results.

You may not get them everytime,  especially if you are shooting children,  they like to be free to move around and aren’t always in a perfect catchlight position. But when they do,   try and make the most of it!

I never add catchlights  in Photoshop afterwards,  I did try once and found that I couldn’t get a result that looked natural enough for me.   You know some of these catchlights often reflect  other things like the shooter itself,  buildings, shapes of trees,  etc.   And that,  I cannot replicate in Photoshop.

So,  go ahead and have fun!    Capture those catchlights and feel free to share your thoughts,  or results,  here or on the Facebook page 🙂

P.S. Today is the last day to enter the giveaway hosted by Angie Arthur Photography at The Arthur Clan,  you can win lots of goodies!!

Get your entries in!


Oh and btw,  Halloween will be here soon!  Have fun everyone and stay safe!  Here’s last year photo of my little ninja (with catchlights,  I had to find one that serves the purpose of this post!).  Happy Halloween!


7 Comments on The magic of catchlights

  1. Roberta
    October 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm (8 years ago)

    I love when you can see the whole scene in the eyes as yours shows so beautifully. I am always making my grandchildren stand in the patio window while I snap away!!

  2. Suz
    October 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm (8 years ago)

    I found you via The Arthur Clan. I will be stopping in frequently!

    xo Suz

  3. Rosie F.
    November 1, 2011 at 10:41 am (8 years ago)

    Love these pics, Isabelle. I was wondering if you will have Xmas photo card templates for sale this year?

    • Isabelle Lafrance
      November 1, 2011 at 2:11 pm (8 years ago)

      For sale? No 🙂 But I will try to have some as freebies in early December. Thanks for stopping by Rosie!

  4. Megan
    November 15, 2011 at 1:58 pm (8 years ago)

    Beautiful photo there. And yeah I see what you mean with natural catchlights. That was a very interesting tip about catchlights, by the way. 🙂

  5. Geoff
    November 17, 2011 at 12:18 am (8 years ago)

    Your blog’s looking gorgeous Isabelle … I’ve not been to visit for a while and thought I should stop by for a peek 🙂


    • Isabelle Lafrance
      November 17, 2011 at 8:48 am (8 years ago)

      Thank you Geoff! Thanks for your visit!


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