Photographing reflection in eye

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Tzatziki, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Tzatziki

    Tzatziki TPF Noob!

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    I'm trying to shoot what I anticipate will be a pretty tricky shot, and I was hoping for some advice.

    Our school has a massive bonfire (5+ stories tall) for our homecoming celebration. It's a huge event and many people facepaint themselves with school symbols, etc.

    The shot I'm trying to get is a close-up of a face - maybe even just one or the other half - with the focus on the reflection of the bonfire in the model's eye(s). The exact framing doesn't matter to me so much as getting the reflection sharp.

    I don't have access to a macro lens (plus I don't know if this even qualifies as "macro"). I have a Canon EOS70D with a 50mm/1.8 prime, and several zooms (17-40/4.0, 70-200/2.8 are the nicer ones).

    Which of these lenses would yield the best shot? What aperture should I use? (I do have access to a tripod) You see a lot of photos of eyes with no reflection at all - is it all lighting, or is there a particular technique to getting the reflection to be strong? It will be nighttime, and the only light source will be the bonfire - should I use a lens hood?

    And any other tips you have for photographing a reflection in an eye would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Tzatziki
     
  2. osirus

    osirus TPF Noob!

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    get a model with big eyes

    id use the 1.8 prime as it will be darker out i take it..
    and you dont want a flash reflection in the persons eyes.
    get close to the fire so the refection is big and bright in there eye.
    focus on it and click.
    id use f1.8 and try and keep above 1/60th if possible, how dark will it be?

    If the fire is 5 storys tall well it should throw off alot of light i take it , so you may be ok there.

    tricky part will be getting you own reflection out of the shot...
    if its light enough, and your hand is steady enough,( tripod) maybe try the 20-200 2.8 to get yourself further back into the reflection so you are smaller and less noticeable..
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You do not need a macro because this shot is not a macro shot. The image of the bonfire's focus distance will be the distance from your camera lens to her eyeball + the distance from her eyeball to the bonfire.

    To prove this to yourself, try a mirror shot. Stand 5 feet in front of a mirror.Set yuor camera's focus to five feet,and then take a picture of yourself standing 5 fet from the mrirror. It will be badly out of focus. Then,set the distance to 10 feet. You will be rendered in focus.

    I checked on bonfire exposures....something along the lines of f/5.6 at 1/500 to 1/640 second will make the flames look hot and flaming, at ISO 400. If I were you, I would think about asking the girl to hold a small makeup compact with a built-in,small mirror,and holding it up to her face and shooting the bonfire reflection shot that way, as another option. Maybe have her hold it up over one eye as a variation.

    With a digital camera, you should be able to figure out the right exposure working from the starting point above. My guess is the exposure will need to be slower than 5.6 at 1/500 to get her face illuminated well by fire light, so the bonfire is going to look rather hot, maybe almost detail-free. I'm not all that confident that the surface of an eyeball is going to be able to reflect the entire bonfire, which can be 30 feet high or so... Sounds like a fun project.

    I think you might have to settle for either the mirror shot, OR a nice closeup of a big-eyed girl's eyes shown with huge, bonfire catchlights, shot at a slow exposure at something along the lines of f/2.8 at ISO 800 at 1/30th second. Sort of a portrait by bonfire light.
     
  4. Tzatziki

    Tzatziki TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. Here are the two shots I'm trying to decide between.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Which do you like better? And is there any stuff I should do in post? This is actually the first time I've ever done a portrait so I don't know much about what to touch up.

    Thanks!
     
  5. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I like the first one since her eyes are turned more towards you thus acting more like a mirror compared to second one where it glamors the model but not the bonfire. From my angle, maybe I'm just too tired from the LONG NIGHT, but it seems that your focus points weren't eyes. Especially in portraiture it is recommended that you focus on the eyes UNLESS you're trying to get some funky effect.
    I use Lightroom for post processing and generally for portraits on eyes, lips, jewelry I boost up the contrast, clarity and sharpness - it is enough (most of the time) for an eye-catching print.
     
  6. Felix0890

    Felix0890 TPF Noob!

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    I prefer the first one. Her right eye is more focused whereas in the second, both eyes are OOF. I'm sure they're not done yet, but make sure you fix the poor girl's skin; it's not flattering at all. :meh:
     
  7. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I prefer the first photo due to the way her eyes are positioned, the catchlight of the first,and the way the D is shown.
     
  8. Tzatziki

    Tzatziki TPF Noob!

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    I haven't done any work with it yet; what part of the skin do I need to fix? (other than the abrasion from the face tattoo?)
     

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