The reflections in my niece’s eyes are called catchlights. These little reflections give life to your child’s eyes in a portrait. In studios, the lights are set up to create catchlights. What do you do if you want to get these reflections in your own photos of your family?
Start by noticing. Look for times in your home or outside that your child’s eyes are sparkling. Maybe it is in the shade of your garage or near the windows in your bedroom. The photo above was taken on the porch of the beach house we stayed in this summer. Porches are a great place to find enough light for a photo, but not so much that your child squints or there are harsh shadows on their face. The bright area outside the porch creates nice catchlights.
Even in a place where the light is good, just a slight change in where your child is looking or where you are standing can create or eliminate catchlights.
Once you start noticing catchlights, you’ll see them more and more. I’ve been watching Downton Abbey. In nearly every shot, the actors’ eyes are sparkling.
Capturing them takes some practice, but noticing them is a good place to start.
Try it: look for catchlights. Let me know how it goes.