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Eye Photography Tips: How to Take Stunning Pictures of Your Eyes

by Facetune Team / December 15, 2021

You’ve probably heard it said that your eyes are the windows to your soul. They can express an array of emotions like happiness, fear, love, confidence, confusion and more. The photographer’s job is to notice when an emotion arises in their subject’s eyes and capture it in that exact moment.

An experienced photographer has the instinctive ability to capture the emotions in someone’s expression at the right moment. But what if you’re not a professional photographer and still long to take captivating portraits of your eyes?

You’re in luck: Below you’ll find 13 of the best eye photography tips to ensure that you take stunning pictures of your peepers.

  1. Know your equipment

The tools you’re using to take the pictures play a role in the quality of the final result. In most cases, any camera will work just fine. However, some camera types are considered ideal, and you might want to get your hands on one of them if you want to create the best possible eye photographs. Here are some tips on the equipment you’ll need:

  • Cameras: Of course, the camera megapixel counts, but since eyes are generally still objects, most cameras will work fine. For extra-stunning shots, you may want to think about using a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) or a mirrorless camera with a high megapixel. At the lower level, a 25-megapixel camera will do, or you can look for one that’s above 40 megapixels.
  • Macro Lens: A macro lens is your best bet when you want to capture detail at the highest level. It has superior magnification capability that makes it easy to capture a close-up shot of your eyes. The ideal macro lens is one that’s 100mm and above to capture incredible detail. They’re simple to attach to your smartphone camera. Macro lenses are recommended for close-up eye shots as they allow you to get as close to the eyes as possible. You can still take some good macro shots on an ordinary camera, but your eyeballs won’t cover the entire frame and might not be as detailed as you’d like them to be.
Try these eye photography tips for stunning selfies of your eyes
Image credit: Unsplash
  1. Rest your eyes well before the shoot

Unless your aim is to shoot red eyes, photographing your eyes when they’re excessively red isn’t a good idea, and it doesn’t look good either. The sclera, or the white part of your eyes, is extremely sensitive. When it becomes tired or stressed, it turns red, resulting in an unusual eye appearance.

So if you’re going to include the sclera in your photographs, make sure you give your eyes adequate time to rest (learn how to remove eye bags in photos here) before you start shooting. Getting enough rest for your eyes does not always imply that you should sleep. Simply avoiding activities that may cause eye strain, such as not using your phone or computer for a few hours, is sufficient.

If your eyes still look red even after giving them some much-needed rest, you may try over-the-counter eye drops to reduce the redness.

  1. Decide on the eye direction

Directly glance into the lens to get all the details of your pupil and iris. It helps you to capture the shot like a pro. You can also shoot from a different angle by fixing your eyes on an object. When you fix your eyes directly on an object, capturing the apple of your eye and the iris becomes easier. Keep in mind that your iris is the most beautiful part because of its color contrasts.

To get the best of this shot, consider using a tripod to allow you to take the shot at eye level. Notably, even the slightest movement can cause blurring of your shot. That’s another reason to use a tripod — so that you support your camera properly.

  1. Use maximum lighting

When capturing the eyes, lighting is everything. Try opening a window or door to allow as much natural light as possible to come in. The soft lighting will warmly light your face, preserving your eye color and natural complexion. If you can’t access natural lighting, you can always use artificial lighting, too. Just make sure the light source is continuous so your pupils don’t dilate or contract.

  1. Use a mirror

The most convenient way to capture an eye macro photo is to use a camera with a tilting screen that allows you to alter the frame angle and focus. If your camera doesn’t have a tilting screen, you can still get the reflected shot by placing a mirror behind the camera.

Photographing in selfie mode with a smartphone’s front camera is not the best option in terms of lighting. If you’re going to utilize your phone for the shoot, you’ll want to use the mirror.

  1. Try various perspectives

Taking a picture of your eyes from an unusual or distinct perspective could be the key to making your photos stand out from the many other selfies posted to social media. Consider attacking it from an unexpected direction, rather than the typical bird’s-eye view or straightforward shot.

Try snapping an image of the eyes with your camera pointed directly upward or slightly downward to improve your result. This can work quite well when you have a tripod that will support your camera’s various lenses to shoot images from any angle.

Eye photography tips for taking stunning selfies of your eyes
Image credit: Unsplash
  1. Balance your shots with grid lines

When using a smartphone to take photos, turning on the grid lines of your camera is one of the simplest methods to get a great image. When you switch it on, you’ll see nine squares (three by three) on your screen. To fill in the nine squares on your screen, the subject of an image should be divided into three pieces, both horizontally and vertically.

According to this “rule of thirds,” placing a point of interest along the lines or intersections in the nine-piece grid will result in a well-balanced image. To enable this feature on most smartphone cameras, go to Settings, then Camera, and toggle the Grid button to “on.”

  1. Set the camera’s exposure and focus

When taking photos on your smartphone, you probably already know that pressing anywhere on your screen causes your camera to automatically focus on the subject in the area where you tapped. However, these taps on the screen can do more than just focus your camera; you can also use them to set the exposure.

Exposure is the level of brightness or darkness of the image you’re trying to shoot. So, if you’re trying to catch a certain portion of the eye, tapping on it will brighten it up. If you want a specific effect on a particular part of the eye, you must first ensure proper exposure before taking the shot.

  1. Adjust your ISO settings

The term “ISO” refers to your camera’s sensitivity to light. Simply put, this is the setting that makes your photo bright or dark. It’s one parameter that many new photographers often overlook. Poor ISO settings create image noise or add grain to your photos. When taking photos of your eyes, you can decrease image noise by appropriately adjusting ISO. Keep in mind that only manually adjusting the ISO will yield sharp photographs.

A range between 100 and 800 is ideal, depending on the lighting where you’re shooting. The majority of cameras work best in this range. The lowest ISO gets you the cleanest photographs. In good lighting, shooting will be simple, as your camera won’t need a high ISO to get a clean image. So, if there’s lots of light in your location, ISO 100 or 200 is the ideal setting.

However, when shooting in a dimly lit environment, you may need to increase your ISO. This will allow you to operate with a faster shutter speed, which will help you achieve a sharp image. A high ISO might cause some specks to appear in the image, but they will not detract from the overall quality.

 

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  1. Mind your aperture and shutter speed

The depth of field is reduced when taking eye macro shots. As a result, if you want to lock your focus, you should always pay attention to your aperture settings. Using a big aperture, such as f/1.8, will make it impossible to get a sharp image, even if the subject is extremely close to the camera.

If you want to improve the depth of field, it’s best to utilize a narrow aperture, an f/8 or f/11. But note that, regardless of the settings chosen, the depth of field in macrophotography will always be small. At the same time, the aperture is more significant than the shutter speed.

For that reason, you need to pay attention to the aperture settings and let your camera determine the shutter speed for you. However, before you start shooting, double-check all the settings — shutter speed settings included.

  1. Take shots in high dynamic range (HDR) mode

HDR can help you get a stunning shot because it combines three separate exposures of your subject into one image. This allows you to see details even in extremely bright or dark areas. It’s also good for you to keep the original photo as well so you can compare and contrast the two images and determine which one is the best. This will allow you to choose between a conventional shot and an HDR shot.

Eye photography tips for taking stunning selfies of your eyes
Image credit: Unsplash
  1. Switch to burst mode

Many photographers employ the practice of taking numerous photographs in quick succession and then selecting the finest of the group. You might use the same approach when snapping an image of your eyes or capturing that perfect selfie.

Remember that timing is everything when taking pictures, and getting the timing right can be a real challenge when you are both photographer and subject. In this case, taking many shots can improve the chances of snapping a great pic at just the right moment. This approach may take up a lot of space on your storage, but after you’ve found your perfect shot, you can delete the rest.

  1. Remember to edit

The eye shots you’ve captured may already be spectacular, but a few adjustments could take them to a whole other level. Some edits you can make to improve your photos include white balance, exposure, red-eye reduction, color contrast, saturation, and shadows. Just make sure your changes aren’t too drastic, and your image still seems genuine.

You don’t want to have your eyes appearing unnatural, so keep edits simple and consider using a selfie editing app like Facetune.

Eye Photography Can Be Super-Impressive — If You Know How to Do It

Taking stunning shots of your peepers doesn’t need to be difficult. The eye photography tips shared here are simple to accomplish with your digital camera or smartphone.

The main trick is in the lighting and camera stability. When you get these two right, you’ll be on your way to creating a beautiful collection of eye photos. So start taking photos of your eyes today and see the windows to your soul in a whole new light.

 

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