The Crazy Eye Lights- Catch Lights Gone Wild! / by Christian Webb

 Christian Webb Photo

Christian Webb Photo

Just a quick post regarding catch lights in headshots.  I've seen some headshots where the catch lights become the most dominant thing in the photo.  Using multiple lights, a variety of shapes and different sizes to get all sorts of funky things going on in the eyes. I'm pretty partial to natural looking or classic catchlights whether round or square.  However,  I know that there are some lighting set ups that have become pretty regular where a rectangular lighting set up in one way or the other produces that same rectangular or square catch light in the eyes.  Cool.  I think it's gotten to be a pretty specific, contemporary look and for the most part, it looks great when done right.  But what happens when it goes overboard?  I'll tell you what happens: You end up drawing way too much attention to the eyes for all the wrong reasons and the catch lights take on a creepy effect making your subjects look like androids.  First and foremost,  any use of lighting and the arrangement of such lighting needs to be specifically for ONE thing - To effectively light your subject according to the goal in mind.  Specifically, I'm  referring to headshots more than anything.  With a headshot, you light and photograph with the intent of capturing your subject and conveying their look and character in a shot.  Trying to purposefully design "cool" catch lights with a superfluous amount of lighting or elaborate placement of those lights serves as nothing more than a distraction.  I guess if you're shooting an artistic portrait of some kind then anything goes yeah?  But for a headshot, try and let the catch lights just be as they are without obvious manipulation of the process.