Eyes are the windows to the soul and a very important element in every portrait photo. In this video, photographer David Bergman focuses on a very particular part of portrait photography – catchlights. In only two minutes, he’ll teach you why catchlights are important in your portraits. But he also shares a tip about what you can learn what you can learn from other people’s photos only by analyzing catchlights.
Our eyes are very reflective, and in the photos, they will reflect the light from the light source. In portrait photos, catchlights add life to your subject’s eyes and draw more of the viewers’ attention to them.
To capture the catchlights, your subject needs to be facing the light source. The shape of the catchlights changes depending on the type of light, its position and the modifier you use. So, as a photographer – you can use this to figure out the lighting someone used. Here are a few examples: if there’s a round shape in the model’s eyes, it’s most likely coming from an umbrella. If the catchlights are rectangular, then they come from a softbox. When the photographer uses a ring light, there will be funky, donut-shaped catchlights. You can also experiment with square or star-shaped catchlights with a light like this.
At the end of the video, David adds that catchlights are small details, but you shouldn’t underestimate them. They add life to the subject’s eyes and create a more captivating portrait.