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For the longest time, I have wanted to explore a facet of photography that I’ve always found fascinating: eyes. Of course, there is always the trite but true:

Eyes are the window to the soul.

Yet there is so much more that can be explored here. Eyes, for the most part, portray emotions better than any other part of the body. Mouths can obviously portray emotions very well, but at the same time can often lie. Hands can speak of emotions, but require a physical action to be used. However, eyes require no action, and never lie. If the emotions are equated to the soul, then perhaps it really is true that they are the window thereof.

An example of kind of what I am looking to do is similar to this photo:

Great shot of eyes, what I am looking to accomplish

Technical Challenges

Eyes are a wee bit on the, um, smallish side, and I really want to focus on the eyes, and not on the rest of the face. Therefore, my shots will need to be very close, because I want to crop the picture to a panoramic of the eyes, but maintain as much size and detail as possible.

I believe the biggest challenge will be lighting. In many photos that are taken (sans perhaps glamour shots) the eyes are often transformed into darkish spots. I want to ensure that each person’s eye color is correctly portrayed, and that we aren’t looking at something shadowed.

As I’ve already said, I want to focus on just the eyes. This means that I will either crop the photos to a pano, or need to use something creatively to block out the rest of the face. My framing may get a little creative!

I’ve never done potraiture in any depth before, so I’m trying to learn all about lighting – evenness, brightness, natural tones, etc. For example, I’ve learned that to get the glints in eyes (when I want them) I’m going to need something called a “catch light” that is just a bright light that is reflected directly in the person’s eyes. I am also not sure yet what kind of lights I can use, I just know that typical incandescent lights are giving me a nasty yellow-orange glow. This part may require a little bit of investment.

Overall, I’m really excited about the many different directions I could take this. I already have some subjects in mind that I want to ask to volunteer. Some have simply amazing eyes that don’t even need to do anything to evoke (or portray) emotion, and others I think will be perfect for showing emotions. I am excited about the different mediums and effects I could use as well: intense color, black and white, duotone, blasted out, etc. I don’t want to have to do too much Photoshop work, but I also believe that in photography, you are working to achieve and formulate the shot that you want, and tools that help you achieve said goal are just that – tools. Not cheating techniques. 😉 Now if you completely change it, or use PS to enhance your basically crappy images hoping to get a great one, that doesn’t work. But otherwise, it’s good.

Unfortunately, I have only a limited amount of time to pull this off as well. I really would like to get it done by the time finals roll around, so that I could set up a mini-gallery to reward all those who have helped me. So that means I’ve got to learn how to do it, shoot everyone, print, matte, post, and provide a small text for every photo. But I am very excited about it, so hopefully with a bit of diligence and a lot of luck, I’ll pull it off.

Keep ya’all updated, and if any of you have any suggestions or tips, especially relating to portraiture and lighting, I would LOVE to hear them! Thanks!

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No *****, a crappy picture is just that, a crappy picture. Photoshop will not make a crappy picture great, it might, MIGHT make it barriable.

In response to: “…use PS to enhance your basically crappy images hoping to get a great one, that doesn’t work…”

October 31, 2005 10:45 am

Hehe, reminds me of all the times in Ybook and Newspaper that people came to us with “Okay I know you can’t see the people at all cuz it’s too dark and blurred, but we REALLY need this as our dominant. Can you fix it?”

Remember those good ol’ days of keyboard-head-bashing Tom? Oh ya…. 😉

October 31, 2005 12:25 pm

Or that time that someone (same as above) decided they would take it upon themself to improve a picture. They turned the girls face green with a paint brush and thought it was perfect!!

So glad those days are behind us

October 31, 2005 1:36 pm