This week’s challenge is catch lights. This one requires a subject. If you don’t have someone to model for you, try a pet or a self-portrait.
Catch lights are that small reflection in someone’s eye that gives them a little sparkle. Portraits that lack them can look a little lifeless (or you can intentionally have no catch lights for a moody, dark look).
The easiest way to get a catch light is to have the subject facing the camera and have a light source hitting their eyes. I actually didn’t have a lot of portrait examples because most of my portraits are actually lightly directed photos of couples of families, so they don’t involve people looking at the camera. But I did find a bunch of candids that feature catch lights anyway. Turns out people crying really makes those catch lights pop, plus the catch lights give the eyes some extra emotion.
I find the nicest catch lights come from a larger light source like a window, a reflector, or the sun. A pop-up flash can produce a very tiny, pinpoint catch light, which doesn’t look great. If you’re having some trouble figuring out how to get catch lights, try using a constant light source like a video light or a lamp and moving it around your subject while looking at their eyes to note if there’s a catch light. Alternately, you can move your subject around until you see the light in their eyes.
If you have any questions, join us in the Facebook group. I’ll be checking in there daily to see your work and help you achieve the best results.
If you’re just finding this now, you can check out the full list and more information on the challenge here. You can follow me on Instagram at @documentyourdaytoday and use the hashtag #documentyour2021.