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Photographing the Eye

Updated on April 20, 2014
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Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 | Source

Before we get to this article, first ask yourself what is the first thing or rather where do your eyes go when you first see a photograph of a person or an animal, even of a figurine or doll?

And have you also noticed how popular, to the point of having a cult following, are the many characters featured in the Japanese art style called anime. And how cute some stuffed animals are and how huge their eyes seem to be?

Many advertisers and marketing professionals have known for quite a long time that the human eye, better yet the human brain by nature, will instinctively seek the eyes first and foremost and proceed from there to evaluate the rest of the image. This has also been studied by quite a few research groups and doctors.

"A study by the University of Barcelona (Spain) has analysed which facial features our brain examines to identify faces. Our brain adapts in order to obtain the maximum amount of information possible from each face and according to the study the key data for identification come from, in the first place, the eyes and then the shape of the mouth and nose."

A photographic project featuring mostly the eyes of people and animals is bound to be well received by many photographic stock houses and other publications. There is something about an image of a beautiful eye which seems to captivate anyone who fixes their gaze upon it and pardon the pun.

The project itself is not really difficult to accomplish but it should encompass a wide variety of subjects; many eyes or risk becoming tiresome very quickly.

With people you really will not need anything more than a steady hand or tripod and a zoom lens that allows you to stand some distance away yet get in close to the eye. This will avoid recording most of your own reflection on the subject's eye.

The same thing holds true for animal subjects. Not only should you avoid showing your own reflection but you will probably not be able to take their photographs unless you do so with a good zoom lens. Not to mention that for some subjects it is definitively safer for both of you.

You should focus on trying to record images of human eyes, bird eyes, the eyes of some mammals, reptiles and other species, in other words variety.

The eyes of many bird species, especially raptors are some of the most beautiful specimens that can be found notably those of many owls. Do make a concerted effort to include them in the project.

CC BY 2.0
CC BY 2.0 | Source

Your images, like mentioned before, are very suitable for most photographic stock house submission. Just ask for their guidelines first.

Various publishers especially many of the greeting card companies as they can use these images in many of their designs.

For some poster publications and even for some nature publications, zoological editorials and even for book publishers and the most striking images can be shown at some fine art galleries as well. And lets not forget using them in the production of an E-book.

However, they must be top notch images not one single fault can be present especially at the magnification ratios needed to make these images stand out.

Useful tips include not using a flash when photographing your subjects, as using it will more than likely result in a bright highlight and unwanted reflections.

You should add a little bit of the environmental elements or a small part of the surrounding area around your subject's eyes too.

This makes the image more interesting to your viewers as they will often remain fixated upon the image trying to identify the eye's owner.

If you are handy with a digital editing program such as Photoshop, then your range expands as you can make some images more striking in their own right by either adding color or subtracting it.

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Suzy sparks: Thank you

    • profile image

      Suzy sparks 

      5 years ago

      I liked the story and the images you've chosen to illustrate your article. Well done. Also made me think about getting a better camera so I could learn to take similar photos.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      alancaster149: Thank you

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 

      5 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Good material, well-put and professionally astute. I suppose - on reflection - you're right about seeking eye contact first. I try to catch the eye when I wish to engage someone - and then talk to them - and keep eye contact. Few people I've spoken to have avoided eye contact. There are a few features - on women usually - that take my eyes away from theirs... You know the score.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      carriethomson: Thank you

    • carriethomson profile image


      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      so nice eyes and your concept one can understand it very easily...

      even differet hub from other.....impresive rahul


    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      rijashanza: Thank you

    • rijashamza profile image


      6 years ago from KANNUR-KERALA-INDIA

      ohhhhh .... amazing , very great job, I love this hub .

      I like photography, but am not so great . I think your hubs help me to develop my talents .

    • rijashamza profile image


      6 years ago from KANNUR-KERALA-INDIA

      ohhhhhh .... wondrous ,,

      how beautifull it is .....

      very great job Mr:Luis .......

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Victoria Lynn & bdgiulio: Thank you both, I appreciate your comments

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Very interesting and helpful. Never really thought about it but I think you hit the nail on the head. The pictures are amazing. Very, very cool. Great job.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Oh, wow. What incredible eyes. Great photos. I love this hub!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 

      6 years ago from New York City

      This is a very useful hub here, and I will do much of what you said about the focusing aspect when trying to photograph any wild life, and I'll try the eye thingy but its tough to catch animals standing still for a long time, I recently took a photo of a pigeon in the park and it was tough. I only been using a HD Toshiba camcorder though, with a 20x zoom, but it does a bit of justice I guess for little ole me.

      I'm a amateur at photography, but I can tell you are very well professed in the area, judging by the details you've expressed here for us all to read. Nice hub and fantastic images of all them differing eyes.

      Voted up and getting shared for sure.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Crystal Tatum: Thank you. I learned this my first year of college from a marketing class.

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      I've never thought about this concept, but after reading your hub, I flipped through the latest edition of a fashion magazine to which I subscribe. What did I find? Well, first, that you're absolutely right. The first thing I noticed about every ad was the eyes of the person in the ad. My eyes went directly to them automatically. And what are the advertisers doing? Clearly anticipating this by having a model for a hair care product pose with one eye peeking out behind touseled hair, announcing the new season of a television series with a shot of the heroine's eye and just part of her face, even placing a product directly over the eyes of a model. Wow! You really know what you're talking about! Voted up.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile imageAUTHOR

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      6 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Thank you Lynn...I

    • profile image

      Lynn S. Murphy 

      6 years ago

      this is sooooo cool. eerie but cool.


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