What are catchlights you might ask?
The Digital Photography School describes them as, "the highlight of a light source reflected off the surface of the eye. This highlight adds depth and dimension to the eye, and gives the eyes life in a portrait or snapshot." I might also add that catchlights come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the light source. However, you'll want to avoid what I call "pinlights," which are the tiny balls of light you sometimes see in a person/animal's eyes when you use your on-board flash. For example, look at this picture of Kitty Paw before I knew how to properly use flash:
|Photo taken with on-board flash pointed directly at Kitty Paw.|
|Photo taken using external flash pointed at 45 degree angle backwards.|
- Identify your light source. Where is your light coming from? Whether it's a window inside or out in the sun, turn your subject towards the light (unless you're in harsh lighting...in which I recommend the shade).
- Get in between your subject and the light. In the case of my self-portrait, I laid down in front of the window and held my camera up. The more directly your subject is turned toward the light source, the bigger and more defined your catchlights will be.
- When using a flash, bounce your light at a 45 degree angle behind you (towards a wall - that's not always a hard and fast rule...so be sure you practice this technique).