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

Ambers Eye

Amber’s Eye


Camera: EOS 1D Mk IV
Lens: Canon L Series EF 100mm f/2.8

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

  1. Continuous lights (Octoboxes)
  2. LED Ring Flash
  3. Studio strobes – lit from the side to reduce the catchlight – triggered with traditional Pocket Wizards
  4. 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

Option 1:

This was pretty much discarded from the get go because it was uncomfortable for Amber

Option 2:

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.

Option 3:

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!

ri macro photographyThis 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 :)