Light Up Your Photos with Catchlights | Photo Tips and Tricks

One of the reasons I decided to take up photography is that I wanted to be able to take stunning pictures of my kids. I scrapbook, and when I would flip through scrapbooking magazines, look through my Stampin’ Up! Idea Book and Catalog, or search online for inspiration for my next page, I would see all these amazing pictures of people’s kids and think to myself, my pictures don’t look like that! I really wanted to be able to capture portraits of Julia and Madeleine that would turn a simple scrapbook page into a work of art. And when I learned about catchlights, it made all the difference in my photos!

What are catchlights, you ask? Catchlights are reflections of the light source in your subject’s eyes. They add sparkle, depth and life to your portraits, and learning how to capture them is surprisingly easy. This is a technique that anyone can use ANYTIME, whether you’re shooting with a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or even the camera on your phone!

Below is one of my favorite examples of how catchlights can add that wow factor to your photographs. This is my adorable nephew, Liam, and he’s been known to make even the crankiest, crustiest old “baby haters” swoon. And how could you NOT adore him? Look at those eyes!

f/4.5, 1/200 sec, ISO 1000

So, here’s how to capture these little gems of light. First, identify your light source. Where is your light coming from? Is it the big picture window in your living room? Or the afternoon sun? Whatever it is, turn your subject toward the light, get between your subject and the light, and shoot. If you’re shooting outdoors and you find that having your subject turned to face the sun is uncomfortable and causing them to squint, go ahead and angle them. You should still get some great catchlights, like I did in the picture of the little cutie below. Just remember that the more directly your subject is turned toward the light source, the bigger and more defined your catchlights will be.

Example of Catchlights in Little Girl's Eyes

f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

Yep, it’s that simple! Now that you know what catchlights are, get out there and practice…I can’t wait to see your works of art! Cheers!

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