Creative Catchlights in these are these lit like this?


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Nov 5, 2010
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Were you looking at any photo(s) in particular? I saw a bunch of photos, each with different catchlights (as might be expected for shots taken outdoors).

Unless they are actually creating them in post, catchlights are just the direct reflection of a light source within their family of angles. So the shape/size of them is just reflecting what is in front of them.

I'd guess that this particular photography goes out of their way to emphasize the eyes (and thus the catchlights) in post.
I can't captue the photo from the slide show to link it up....If I go to galleries and Downtown to the girl holding the Yellow Base Ball....I see what appears to me to be a reflector, but i'm not educated enough to know that a reflector can accomplish this effect....

In others I see multiple catchlights in the upper part of the eye, and its not like a triflector that I have seen...but then I think Octabox?
There are a few flash catchlights in some of the shots. By far the most predominant technique that photographer is using is one of the EASIEST WAYS EVER to shoot with digital...placing subjects in either open shade, or deep shade, and shooting with the subject's eyes angled toward large areas of bright sky. Look at the shots with a kind of "butterfly" catchlight, where the photographer's reflection creates a dark dividing line between the bright areas--that result when she shoots close to the subject....when she backs off with a telephoto lens, the sky forms a larger, single catchlight that stretches most of the way across the top of the eyeball.

In smaller towns and cities where there are lots of 2,3,and 4-story old buildings, this type of "alleyway photography" is pretty easy to pull off...just find an alleyway or sidewalk where the subject can be placed in shade, and have bright sky behind you, the photographer's camera position!!! The bonus is that the shade is VERY,very easy to work with...the images are lighted with fairly soft "skylight"...not "SUN-light", but light from the sky. In that type of flat, even, shadowless lighting, bad skin is minimized, the subject's eyes will be OPEN wide and not squinty, exposures are easy to figure out, and the background areas will be darkish if they are in the shade, and blown-out, bright, and "airy" if they are in SUN-light. This type of soft, even light lends itself well to extreme manipulation in post work,without worrying about losing highlights. Set your WB pretty warm, like 7,500 or so.

This is an old, well-respected way of utilizing natural light, by shooting in shaded areas, and then, using the way the natural light hits the background to create nice photos. One can also work right near the "edge" of the light, for a bit more modeling of subject features. My description of this might sound to some people like I am putting this method down, but that's not the case. I am just stating how this type of lighting is done. Monte Zucker's tutorials describe this approach in hiuge depth and detail. A "Shaded area" can also be something as small as a restaurant or hotel's canvas awning, or a porch overhang, or a large doorway.

Subject in shade, eyes facing large open expanse of sky. Shoot. Process. Beautiful.
Derrel is right on, it's pretty much all done with natural light working in the shade. Once you figure the technique out, and find the proper shade, it is a very easy technique. The photography at that link is nicely done, but I don't think there are any complicated technical tricks.
Thank you for this insight. I think this photogs work is just beautiful and I am grateful to know a bit more about it. Looks like there are no ugly people in Kansas City to boot!
Just to add to Derrel's great way to think of this, is to say that you are using the open sky as your light source. If the sun was your light source, then they wouldn't be in the shade, but if they are only exposed to the open sky (no sun) then they are likely in the shade.

A good tip for recognizing and figuring out this type of lighting scenario, is to just stand where your subject will be and look back at the camera position (where you'll be). Anything that you're looking at from that position, can essentially be your light source. So if you look back and and you see a big open sky...that is the light source for your photo.
Thank You, Mike!
I love the style, but the over processing on the eyes on some of them really brings it down... The eyes in some of the images are so saturated, bright and contrasty that the face is kind of irrelevant or gets lost in the shuffle and looks flat. The not so close ups where she isn't losing the contours of the face to the eyes are gorgeous!
The style is very much what I like in general. Beautiful work.
I know....I want a few 4 or 5 story buildings and a great sky to work with. It would be just grand!
This thread kicks butt. Thanks to the OP for asking and to everyone's great insight. Looks like I've got somethin' new to try! :)

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