When Amber approached me to photograph her eye, I had to think long and hard about it as I had never photographed an eye before. I have all the necessary gear but I had never taken this particular shot. I researched the topic, as I always do and engaged in conversations with other photographers in photography forums and hatched my shoot plan:
When planning the shot I realized that I would be working within a couple of inches of Amber’s eye and that would necessitate the need for a mobile but stable platform. I opted for my Manfrotto monopod which was absolutely ideal. Stable platform so I could turn IS off and the mobility to rock back and forward to focus.
I decided to try 4 different set-ups
- Continuous lights (Octoboxes)
- LED Ring Flash
- Studio strobes – lit from the side to reduce the catchlight – triggered with traditional Pocket Wizards
- 580EX II fitted with a snood and grid to collimate the light, mounted off camera and controlled with a Pocket Wizard Flex TT5, MiniTT1 and the AC3 controller
This was pretty much discarded from the get go because it was uncomfortable for Amber
The catch light was simply too large and because it was LEDs is was a series of white spots which I did not like at all.
The results were good but the resultant catch lights were large. It was recommended that I direct the light from the side to reduce the light but I wasn’t happy with the results.
Option 4: The Winner!
This was a eureka moment, just before the shoot I thought “what if I use a snood to narrow the beam of light?” and it worked a treat with very small catch lights. The challenge with this set up was directing the narrow beam of light onto the eye but once done it was perfect.
I had to focus manually but that was no big deal. The camera was mounted on the monopod to give me both stability and movement.
1/60th @f/8 with the strobe power set to +1
I am very happy with the outcome, as is Amber 🙂