But it can get interesting and contentious when we start talking about the shape of the catch light. And it can get religious when we talk about the number of catch lights. Let's take on the issue of shape first.
I've seen a number of articles saying that catch lights should be round. The roundness would mimic a reflection of the sun, which is round. I don't agree. I don't think that we really notice the sun reflection in the eyes of someone we are looking at. Instead, I think of catch lights as mimicking a window or a doorway. These are usually rectangular shapes. So I often prefer the look of a rectangular softbox catch light. Even outdoors, I think we are more likely to notice a large diffused sky as a highlight in the eye than we are to notice the sun. With a strong sun, the subject would usually be squinting, tearing, or looking off in a different direction.
|rectangular catch light|
Also note the size of the pupils in the examples here. For my taste, the one above is a bit too small. I much prefer the look of the pupil in the image below. I talked about this a couple of days ago in my post about using beauty dishes (see the FLASHLIGHT section).
What about the number of catch lights?
Most traditional photographers will say just one light showing in each eye. Again, this goes back to the sun. There is only one sun in the sky. So one main light that reflects in the eyes. Personally, I don't usually notice multiple catch lights in photographs I look at. I much prefer multiple catch lights to no catch light at all. I think I will just let others fight that battle. Paraphrasing my old friend Bruce Fraser, "that is one hill that isn't worth fighting or dieing over."
Bottom line? Make the eyes look good!
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