I was asked recently what ‘catchlight’ meant in portraits. Trying to describe it seemed to be a bit cumbersome so I thought I’d add these two portraits to illustrate – without and with.
My model here, my daughter, has quite light irises so lack of a catchlight is not so bad. However many subjects have really dark deep eyes and it helps to lift the eye from a black disk with just a spec of a light.
As matter of interest, these taken on medium format (120) black and white film, negative scan. The original images were an exploration of portrait/fashion photography and this is a crop of full photograph – I suspect some will be able to guess from which image and photographer I took my inspiration.
Loving the catchlights! But loving the “drama” without. It’s almost like two different emotions even though the facial expression is the same.
Your daughter is beautiful by the way.
Thank you. I agree on the catchlights – yet in truth we are talking about the tiniest fraction of the picture as a whole yet they can have such impact.
All Dads’ daughters are beautiful, but thank you!
Lovely portraits. It’s fascinating how different the two pictures are with just that tiny difference. I think both the pictures have impact but have a very different feel. Thanks for the tutorial.
Thanks – not really meant as a tutorial but if you found it helpful, what more can I ask! Cheers
Such beautiful photography! I am almost embarrassed to post after seeing this! I like both of these.
You’re very kind. Thank you. 🙂
Awesome information and seeing the two…it is amazing that two tiny sparks of light can have such a dramatic impact….beautifully demonstrated! Thank you!
Thanks Kirsten. People aren’t the only things to warrant a catchlight, animals too. But put too much effort into enhancing what there is can completely ruin the picture if the work becomes too obvious – understated rather than over overstated is my approach.