Add a light­hearted touch

Take time to pre­pare your catch­light be­fore get­ting your sub­ject in­volved

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

01 Bend it, shape it…

Bend a piece of wire or an old metal coat hanger into the shape you want your catch­light to be. (Coathang­ers are ideal as they have ready-made han­dles.) Try to keep the shape sim­ple, as if it’s too com­plex it’ll be dif­fi­cult to make out when re­flected as a tiny catch­light.

02 At­tach the lights

Dou­ble the fairy lights up a few times, then run them along the shape. Use sticky tape to at­tach the lights to the metal frame. Make sure the lights are LEDs, as they won’t heat up like old-fash­ioned fairy lights. And, of course, be care­ful when us­ing elec­tri­cal wiring.

03 See for your­self

Turn on the LED lights to see how they look. You can judge the ef­fect by hold­ing it up to your face and us­ing your phone’s frontal ‘selfie’ cam­era to see how it’s re­flected in your eye. If the LEDs are look­ing too scat­tered, tuck them in tighter for a more a clearly de­fined shape.

04 Aim high

The light from the LEDs won’t be very strong, so you may need to use a high ISO. One sim­ple way to do this is to use man­ual mode, set a wide aper­ture (in this case f/3.3) and a fast shut­ter speed of at least 1/100 sec. Then set Auto ISO. This way, the ISO varies de­pend­ing on the light.

05 Hey! Look at this!

Bring the lights in close to your sub­ject and ex­per­i­ment by mov­ing them around to see how dif­fer­ent po­si­tions af­fect the shape and clar­ity of the catch­light in the sub­ject’s eye. You could also try in­clud­ing the lights in the cor­ner of the frame to add a few bright spots of bokeh.

06 Cap­ture the sparkle

When work­ing at close quar­ters depth of field be­comes very limited (even at nar­row aper­tures). Be­cause of this, pre­cise fo­cus­ing is crit­i­cal, and even more so when your sub­ject is mov­ing. Select a fo­cus point over the clos­est eye and make sure the lashes are sharp.

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