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Making the Eyes Come Alive
Old 02-09-2003, 09:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Does anyone have any tips for making the models eyes come "alive" and really sparkle in a photograph?

The item that usually grabs my attention the most in a portrait is the eyes. There are obviously a lot of images of beautiful subjects here but the ones that usually leave an impact on me are the ones where the models eyes really sparkle. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to capture that in any subjects I have photographed.

In particular Andy McFarland's work with Wendy June have incredible sparkle from the eyes.

Is there camera, lighting, or photoshop technique that helps attain this or is it just that these particular models have very luminiscent eyes?

Thanks for any help.
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photoshop....
Old 02-09-2003, 11:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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....use the "Lasso" Tool, then "Un-Sharpen" Mask.

Play with it. Some guys have created their own unique combination, for which, I don't think they give the key to open the door...at least not all the way open.

JT Smith has a great technique as well, I know he has a "Mentor Program", maybe he provides these types of secrets as part of these.

Good luck .


 
 
This might help
Old 02-09-2003, 12:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It's right here on this site!

How to make eyes sparkle in Photoshop
 
 
Some things...
Old 02-09-2003, 03:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Eyes have intricate detail (lashes, etc.)... if the skin has blemishes or ther things with detail, they detract from the eyes... to make the eyes pop. make the skin smooth and flawless. Like this:



You already know about sharpening the eyes, but another adjustment is what I call raising the black level. THis is available in PaintShop Pro as "Highlight, Midtone, Shadow" control. I have never found an equavelant command in Photoshop. It is a clipping algorythm, that clips the toe off of the bottom of the response curve, without altering the gamma or "slope" of the rest of the curve. This will lose data in the image,,, especially shadow detail, and must be used with care. Apply it ONLY to the eyes, to darken and increase the punch in the lashes and pupils. Isloate the eyes with a feathered selection before applying it.


 
 
A matter of light and reflections...
Old 02-09-2003, 06:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the other posters have interpreted your question as how to fix images where the eye sparkle isn't quite right.

I take your question to be how do you get the sparkle there in the first place. It's just a matter of sufficient light and some reflections. Many times the photographer is using a white reflector to kick some light into the model's eyes. Her dark pupils and the eye's moistness form a mirror which reflect the image of the reflector in front of the model and produce that catch light. A really easy way to get a catch light sometimes is simply to wear a white shirt when photographing models. The catch light can also be popped in with a little burst of flash.

Or you can add it in in Photoshop. Just make sure that the catchlight is where the light would put it. It looks very odd when the catchlight is really out of sync with the rest of the lighting in the image.
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Re: Making the Eyes Come Alive
Old 12-08-2005, 12:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You will find subjects with light colored eyes sparkle more. Blue, Green, Gray, Hazzle, etc......

You can use photoshop but why settle for post processing or making excuses to clients by saying, I can photoshop.

Reflectors and light placement are the number 1 reason eyes pop. Light placement for catch lights are very important.

With my rule, the first thing you light is the eyes for my beauty work. The soul is truly in the eyes. Eyes are the very first thing to make a beauty image pop.

If you read the light and subject before snapping the picture you will be able to make those eyes pop. Place the lights or control the light to make it happen. Don't just assume because you have light that it's going to make everything ok.

The biggest mistake some photographers make is, "have light, will photograph". It should be, "I can control the light or have it control me, will photograph".

My suggestion......next time you photograph a human, you treat the eyes as the only subject. Treat the eyes as if these are your subject or client's request. Go into it as if you are shooting product photography and specifically light the eyes.

J T
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Making the Eyes Come Alive
Old 12-08-2005, 02:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Old school lighting required the catch light to be form 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock on the eyes. Most portraits need you to sharpen the eyes and the lips to get your sparkle.
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Re: Making the Eyes Come Alive
Old 12-08-2005, 03:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hello Bonner,

Thanks for the input. I guess I must be in a time warp today. I started receiving replies to a message I posted on GG and I couldn't remember posting much of anything this week. Then I looked at the post and barely remembered it and looked at the date and saw I posted it back in February of 2003. No wonder I couldn't remember it. I do good to remember where I parked my car this morning.

You are definitely right about the 10:00 and 2:00 positions. I don't think you can even get a PPofA merit print unless the catchlights are there.
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