Home photo studios: how to shoot pro-quality portraits with a basic studio kit

Home photo studios: how to shoot creative portrait photography at a fraction of the cost

How to create a catchlight in your subject’s eyes

How to create a catchlight in your subject's eyes

A catchlight is the reflection of the light source in the subject’s eye, usually characterised by a white shape. Most decent portrait photographers will strive to ensure that there’s a good-looking catchlight present in their finished work – and for good reason.

Without a catchlight, your subject’s eyes can end up looking a little lifeless and flat. The type of catchlight you have will depend entirely on your main light source: its shape, and how far and how high it is in relation to your subject.

As a general rule of thumb, however, you should try and position the light source so that the catchlight falls at either the 10 or the 2 o’clock position within the subject’s eye.

PAGE 1: What you need in your home photo studio
PAGE 2: How to set up your home photo studio
PAGE 3: How to create a catchlight in your subject’s eyes
PAGE 4: Final tips for creative portrait photography


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  • Sirs, I quote “Move a light further away from your subject, and it will become more
    diffused and softer; move it closer and it’ll become harder with
    stronger shadows.”. I believe that you have this backwards.

  • Valeri Tian

    Actually, the author is correct. The softness depends on light source size and not on a distance. The closer you come to the subject, the softer is the light. The light softness is different from light power