How to photograph catchlights :: Portland, Maine Photographer

I LOVE, lovelove, photographing catchlights! It can totally make a photo come to life, because it makes the person just seem so alive. I strive to make sure that every photo I take of a person has catchlights in them.

What are catchlights, you ask? Catchlights are what some people refer to as the sparkle in a person’s eye in a photograph. It is literally a little circle (or whatever shape your light source is) of light in a person’s eyes that keep them from having what is known as “shark eyes.” It makes their eyes seem normal instead of like black holes! Capturing the light in someone’s eyes completely changes the way a photo looks.

Here is Steven without catchlights.


Here is Steven WITH catchlights.


See the difference it can make?!

How do you do it? It’s pretty simple. You just need to have your person shift their face toward a light source. This can definitely take some practice to figure out how to move the person so that they do have them in photos, but once you get it, you’ve got it! You can also change the shape of the catchlight, the angle, and its position. There is a lot of freedom over this! Catchlights also form the shape of their light source, so if you are using a square window, your catchlight will follow that shape. I strongly encourage you to look at magazines – every model has catchlights in their eyes and try to see if you can find the different shapes based on what they were using for light!

Here are some more examples of catchlights in someone’s eyes 🙂

2014-04-02_00022014-04-17_0003bridal portraits, bridal photography, linda barry photography, portland wedding photographer2014-02-23_0016portland maine photographer, smiling eyesDSC_0014

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You can usually find me adding books to my never-ending “to read” list; challenging myself to do things like not shop for a year; sneaking crispy m+ms from my secret hiding spot so I don’t have to share them with my daughter; and melting over seeing my children smiling at each other.

Oh and I guess I should mention - I’m a seasoned Portland wedding photographer who provides not only kick-ass wedding photos, but also a meaningful and laid-back experience from the time you book to the delivery of your final images. 

I share all things personal, business, tips, and life as a mom and business owner here on the blog!

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