Eyes Help?

Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
64
Location
Florida Panhandle
I am getting better at this photography "thing" ;) however one thing I seem to CONSTANTLY struggle with is my daughter's eyes. She has really dark brown eyes, and no matter what I do I can't seem to get any depth in them (other then them just looking "black" and flat.)

I don't use the flash normally, and try to just go with the natural light that I have. Any suggestions?

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Daughter by nicoleleebeckphotography, on Flickr

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ft pickens6 of 19 by nleebeck, on Flickr
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
6,167
Location
Meadville, PA
That's a beautiful young lady. My son also has very dark eyes, and I've not found a way to make dark eyes look light...a flash can add a nice catch light it that sort of thing is important to you.
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
5,608
Location
Texas
Fill flash will add catchlights in most situations, which are a sparkle for the purpose to add a sense of life in those eyes. Sparkle is good.

It need not be a strong fill. Need not even be detectable as such, normally better if not obvious as such, but there just needs to be a little there, for the sparkle.

Internal flash will be TTL BL fill mode if used, and it can work, like outdoors for fill in bright sun when you don't have a better flash with you, but it is so close to the lens, it can cause red eye. Better higher, several inches above the lens (a larger hot shoe flash). Or you can experiment with Manual flash mode. Not so much fill flash as to be objectionable. Just enough to be perfect. This becomes real easy fast.

If you have a SB-700, SB-800, SB-900, then indoors, just aim the flash up at a 8 or 10 foot white ceiling (bounce flash), and start with f/4 ISO 400. Definitely pull out the white bounce card. This card is small, but just about right except for large distances. Bounce is still the main light, but card adds a bit of flat frontal fill, and is enough to add good catchlights.

If you have a SB-600, then do same, but add a small (maybe 4x2 inches) cut from a white 3x5 index card, attached with a rubber band.

You absolutely do not need to buy anything for this bounce card, any kind of white stuff works fine - printer paper, cardboard, foam rubber fun-foamie, plastic, whatever... but search the web for Better Bounce Card to see articles about the concept. Most such cards are far too large. We guys think huge is macho, but macho is normally counterproductive. :smile:

This shows more of the idea too: http://www.scantips.com/lights/flashbasics3c.html

Again, bigger bounce card is NOT better. Bigger bounce card just totally swamps out all of the good bounce light with flat frontal light. Might as well use direct flash then. If outdoors at night with no bounce possible, THEN maybe a huge big card to simulate an umbrella.

The Nikon pullout cards are roughly 2x1.5 inches effective size above flash head.

Sort of like this:

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Do not stand too close. Zoom in all you want, but a slight (normal) distance is better for ceiling bounce, so the angle can better fill the eye sockets with light (instead of overhead ceiling bounce shadow making raccoon eyes).

This one is ISO 400, f/5, 1/200 second, 70mm lens DX D300, hot shoe SB-800, TTL, with its white bounce card out for slight flat frontal fill.
A casual snapshot, sitting on floor under ten foot ceiling.

The TTL ceiling bounce illuminates the room and subject.
The frontal fill (bounce card) just adds a bit of fill, and adds the catchlights.

Bounce power from a ten foot ceiling needs near ISO 400 f/5. Watch for the blinking Ready LED showing power level insufficient.

The big secret: Camera Flash Compensation is how we control the TTL flash to give the exact look that we want.
 
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Joined
Feb 14, 2010
Messages
64
Location
Florida Panhandle
Wayne - thank you for the feed back. I don't normally use the flash, as I said before. But I feel without that 'something' the images I produce of her are lacking. I do have at my disposal a SB-24. A friend gave it to me because she doesn't use it and it's a "relic" from her dad's film days. (Also have his F4s, but can't get that to work...) I've "tested" the flash and it works with the hotshoe on my body but that's the extend I know how to use it ;) Any suggestions? the top tilts & swivels... Thanks agian!

frdjohns- Thanks! :) I'm pretty partial to her myself. (but then agian I'm kind of biased)
 
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
5,608
Location
Texas
The SB-24 was a fine flash, I have an old one too. Today, it will not do TTL or iTTL with the digital camera, but it will still work fine in Manual flash mode, and it will mostly work in its Mode A (Automatic).

Manual flash - you set the flash power level manually, for how much light you want it to put out. For bounce flash, start near full power, at least 1/2 power. For direct flash, much lower, perhaps start at 1/16 power. Adjust the power according to your results, for more or less flash light. You must control this yourself in manual flash mode. It becomes greatly easier than first day. Watch your histogram on the camera result, and the brightness of the result image too ( and keep adjusting flash power level).

In Manual mode, the M button toggles through the power levels, full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. That is all you need to set in M mode.

In A Auto mode, you must set the ISO and aperture to match what the camera is set to. SEL selects the field (it blinks), and up/down changes the value. With older cameras, it can get that info automatically, but times change. In A mode, the flash itself determines the flash power level.

In A mode, the flash itself meters the result (the reflected flash back from the subject), and it turns itself off when that light is deemed correct. It is surprisingly good, if you set ISO and aperture properly.

Here is a good info site for it
http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf4/flash/SB24/index.htm

Their manual link fails (it's old), but search Google for Nikon SB-24 Manual, there are others.

A new more modern flash designed to work with the new camera has TTL modes, which is automatic Through The Lens metering by the camera, greatly more automatic flash, like the camera's internal flash in TTL mode, and more like compact digital cameras today. Automatic flash. We still need to tweak it a bit sometimes (Flash Compensation).

Flash is good stuff, not for just when it is dark. :) Fill flash in bright sun fills and softens the harsh shadows, etc. We can make the light be like we want it. And you need a light to make the catchlights.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
1,295
Location
Utah
What Wayne said!:smile:


Eyes always in focus, and a catchlight wil provide some life and sparkle, as well as hiding the fact the pupil can't easily be seen.
 

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