Expression will always set the feeling of a portrait, but anytime you are photographing a person, it’s all about the eyes. The eyes get right to the person, you’ve heard the expression, the eyes are the window to the soul. There is much truth to that especially in a portrait. Once you have captured the expression in the eyes, everything else falls right into place. Think about the first time you viewed a photograph of yourself recently, you either like it, didn’t like it, or loved it, and if you go back and look at that photograph again, the two things that are going to matter unconsciously, are your expression to start, and then your eyes that tell the full story of you in that image… check it out.
So, with this portrait of Lyndsey and Jenna, who by the way are twins, the natural expressions and beautiful eyes will keep all of us captivated. The most impressive element in capturing this moment is the light itself, and the light quality. This alone makes the expression and eyes much easier to achieve great results.
This light is created with studio strobes using a Beauty Dish (you can see that in the catch light in the eyes) with a diffusion and close underneath their face is a silver reflector, this one is named the Eye Lighter (by Larry Peters), reflecting light into the bottom of their eyes.
This is a good but delicate example of how the light of nature makes the quality of light. Look carefully at the specular highlights that are found on the bridge of the nose, cheeks, lips and forehead. The diffused highlights are also in these areas but with no specularity such as the color of the lips and skin tone that we associate with. Diffused shadows here are very soft and minimal with the “butterfly” type of lighting setup, and then the “me and my shadow” light quality is actually out of view on this image, all comprising the 4 lights of nature: Specular, diffused specular, diffused shadow and me and my shadow.
What you see in this photograph is how the camera saw the light. And the bottom line is, it’s about seeing light, studying light quality and finding a good mix of understanding how the camera will see light differently then how the human eye will see light. Once you take a study on these qualities of light and how it reacts to the camera settings and image processing, it becomes a greater part of the imaging experience, but all in all, in a portrait, the eyes do have it…!
Image © Eddie Tapp
All Rights Reserved
Models: Jenna Lacy & Lyndsey Stewart