What are Catch Lights and what is their role in Photography ?

What are Catch Lights and what is their role in Photography ?

Manabendra Sarkar asked November 24, 2016

1 answer

Abhilash Rajput November 24, 2016

Talking in terms of Photography, Catch Light is a light source that causes the subject's eye in the Portrait to get highlighted. It is also referred to as Eye lights or Obies. This technique is useful in both still and motion picture photography. A “catchlight’ is simply the highlight of a light source reflected off the surface of the eye.

This highlight adds depth and dimension to the eye, and gives the eyes life in a portrait or snapshot. Adding a catch light can help draw attention to the subject's eyes, which may otherwise get lost among other elements in the scene.  eyes without catch lights are often said to appear dull or lifeless. Lighting is often arranged in studio portraits specifically to create attractive catch lights. A catch light is usually fairly dim or focused, as to not affect any other part of the scene or face.

Many other lighting methods are known for the distinctive or unique catch light they produce. Among those methods are ring lights, which produce several highlights in a ring, and large soft boxes, which produce large, square highlights. Catch lights come in all shapes and sizes, depending on the shape and size of the light source, and its distance from the subject.

Positioning Catch Light : 

The position of a catch light is determined by the placement of the “key” and “fill” lights, and changes as their height and angle away from the camera lens change. A studio portrait will show the final product with a single catch light in each eye, typically in the 10 or 2 o’clock position, created by the main (“key”) light. the most pleasing balance resulted when either of those positions was used.


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