How to take professional looking photographs of your own iris

Oct 19, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

How to take professional looking photographs of your own iris

Oct 19, 2021

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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In this video, macro photographer Jens from Another Perspective walks us through how to take these intriguing ultra-close ups of your own or somebody else’s iris. Once the iris is cut out from the background in Photoshop it provides a unique view of what the eye looks like, in a way that you would never normally see it. Just a quick word of warning: I’m a bit squeamish when it comes to eyes so for anyone of a similar disposition you might want to skip this tutorial!

Like we showed before here on DIYP, for this you will need a macro lens, and a box to rest the head on to keep it still. As a light source, Jens recommends using the LED light from a smartphone, or video light. You place the light close up next to the side of the face and shine the light perpendicular towards the side of the eye. You never want to shine the light into the eye from the front for a number of reasons: first, you don’t want to damage the eye, and second, you don’t want to get lots of reflections. He says that you can use a speed light but be very careful to make sure that it is placed further away from the eye and that it isn’t shining directly into the eye. If you’re taking an image of you’re own eye then an external monitor or flip screen is also an advantage.

Jens recommends using manual focus for greater accuracy, and an aperture of f/16. This is why you need a very good light source. All irises are different and Jens explains that some are more detailed than others. You typically want to choose a subject that has an interesting and textured eye, as many appear to be ‘flat’ and don’t make such interesting images and it is much harder to focus on these types of eyes.

In post-production, Jens doesn’t change too many things in order to keep the image looking natural. He boosts clarity and saturation a little and removes noise, and if there are any reflections from the light source he quickly clones that out. He then cuts out the iris and pupil from the rest of the image placing them on a dark background. The detail he manages to capture is remarkable, and it really does highlight the unique beauty and individuality of each eye when it is removed from the context of the rest of the eyeball. I could almost see a set of dinner plates printed with these designs!

What do you think? Will you try to photograph your own eye in extreme close up?

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Alex Baker

Alex Baker

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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One response to “How to take professional looking photographs of your own iris”

  1. Owen Kaufman Avatar
    Owen Kaufman

    Haaaa — nice try, CIA