Catch lights

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by alannahrose, Dec 15, 2009.

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  1. alannahrose

    alannahrose TPF Noob!

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    Just wondering, why do people always tell me that there are too many catch lights in my subjects eyes? Is there a rule somewhere or is it personal preference? And the only thing I have available to me is regular work lamps, so I have to use more than one.
     
  2. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How many do you have - 100? :)
    I got to lights in front of the subject thus I end up with two.
    When using external/ on-camera flash, I have one.
     
  3. alannahrose

    alannahrose TPF Noob!

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    In most of them, I have four.
     
  4. robbie_vlad

    robbie_vlad TPF Noob!

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    Four is a lot. I find more than 2 to be distracting in most cases.
     
  5. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    For the most part (and remember that all rules in art are meant to be broken... but broken with purpose!), a single round catchlight is considered to be desirable.

    The circle of a round catchlight is a repeated shape as the iris and the pupil are both round as well. A single catchlight mirrors the singular nature of the iris and the pupil. It provides a single point of interesting contrast in the eye. When you have multiple catchlights in the eye, it can obscure and distract from the pupil and iris.

    BUT! Like I mentioned parenthetically above, rules are meant to be broken to suit whatever the artist is trying to convey or illustrate or... Breaking rules should always be done with purpose and intent. Have a square catchlight... have a perfectly round catchlight on either side of the pupil... have three describing a triangle in their arrangement... etc...
     
  6. alannahrose

    alannahrose TPF Noob!

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    I use them because I need that much light and I don't have the money to buy anything better yet. It's just upsetting because when I ask to have a picture critiqued, that is what most people say even though I explain the situation.
     
  7. spudgunr

    spudgunr TPF Noob!

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    Do YOU find the multiple catchlights to be distracting? Have you considered editing them out to either blend them into one, or to just make a black pupil? If nothing else it would get everybody off your back about it ;-)
     
  8. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    I hear you! I feel for you! My first "formal" portraits were done in front of a wrinkled piece of white muslin and SIX 60W clamp lamps... It was SO far from ideal...

    Thankfully, my best friend stumbled into a deal on a set of Calumet Travelites and a bunch of modifiers!

    As hard as it is with improvised lighting, I found myself doing a bunch of editing on them to end up with a single matching catchlight in each eye...

    Even if you describe the situation, people are going to comment on the multiple catchlights because they ARE breaking a "rule" and they ARE distracting...

    Here's hoping that providence smiles upon you in the form of better lighting gear soon!
     
  9. alannahrose

    alannahrose TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. I personally like them because I have never seen any like them before, but I'm weird like that.
     
  10. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    Then I guarantee that you'll love your pics when you get some better lighting gear and can start creatively playing with lighting to create different catchlights intentionally!
     
  11. William Petruzzo

    William Petruzzo TPF Noob!

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    Hey, you gotta make do with the gear available to you. If the catch lights bother you, you could pretty easily remove them with Photoshop.
     
  12. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    if lack of lighting is a problem, use the builtin flash with some DIY diffuser. It won't be perfect but it'll work.
     
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