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Author Topic: Why eyes in Portraits I shoot are black?  (Read 2970 times)
iaent
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« on: June 14, 2014, 06:03:21 PM »
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Guys,
I have problem while taking portraits. eyes of my subjects come black all the time. big black circle. Can't see pupil or eye lens. Although I keep my modelling lights on, behind soft box. Any solution? Thx in advance.

Pls. forgive me if this question is not relevant to this forum, if u can answer pls. reply.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 07:21:20 PM »
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Guys,
I have problem while taking portraits. eyes of my subjects come black all the time. big black circle. Can't see pupil or eye lens. Although I keep my modelling lights on, behind soft box. Any solution? Thx in advance.

Hi,

The modelling lights are probably overpowered by the flash, and therefore have little effect. The brightness of the iris, is a function of lighting angle and shooting angle. If the result isn't satisfactory, adjust the lighting angle or solve it in post-processing.

If you have to do this a lot, I'd suggest having a look at Portrait Professional (see attachment, which I also allowed to change/restore the skin color that perhaps was intentionally warmed-up, this is adjustable in the application/plug-in), which allows a lot of control. Adjusting the post-processing will perhaps also require to reduce the (generally unnatural) from-the-bottom fill-light/reflector.

Cheers,
Bart
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iaent
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 07:59:14 PM »
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Thx Bart,
Doing it in post is not that amazing, I also tried it. I have seen amazing results from other pros. wondering if it is something to do with a premium lens like 70-200 f2.8.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2014, 08:23:06 PM »
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...wondering if it is something to do with a premium lens like 70-200 f2.8.

Hi, I don't think so. IMHO, it's a lighting angle issue, or something that requires post-processing.

Cheers,
Bart
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k bennett
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 10:04:09 PM »
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That is very odd. It's not a lens issue. I'd venture that it's a lighting issue, but looking at the position of your softbox I'm not sure what would cause this.

I just took a look at a half dozen headshots that I did the other day, and notice that one of them had very dark eyes, so there is little separation between the iris and pupil. The others all had light colored irises and they were clearly visible. The one with dark irises wasn't quite as dark as your sample, but it was close (see examples.)

I think in your case I would try increasing the fill light a little bit and possibly the overall exposure as well. It shouldn't take much.

EDIT: Looking again, it appears that your shadows are pretty well blocked up - not much separation in the very dark areas. Are you moving the black point a lot in processing? Of course, it's hard to tell from a web jpeg.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2014, 10:08:12 PM by k bennett » Logged

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Ellis Vener
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014, 07:21:56 PM »
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Maybe because you're photographing vampires?
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Ellis Vener
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iaent
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« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2014, 12:34:33 PM »
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I am convinced that its not a lens issue its angle of light issue.
Bart is that beauty dish u r using in 2nd example?

lol Ellis.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2014, 12:42:15 PM »
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I am convinced that its not a lens issue its angle of light issue.

I Agree.

Quote
Bart is that beauty dish u r using in 2nd example?

No, just software ...

Cheers,
Bart
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2014, 12:56:32 AM »
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The iris of the eye cannot react fast enough to the a flash.   So whatever amount of iris is showing is whatever amount you can see when you are ready to take the shot.

If there isn't enough iris you can fix it in post (as has been done forever, back in the 80's this was done with mcdonald tooth lacquers and colored pencils).  Or you can increase the ambient light until the iris gets smaller - i.e. brighter modeling lights. or just some brightness to the room.  An obvious challenge there is too much light and it can affect the exposure.  Most film portrait photographers used medium or large format cameras with iris shutters so this wasn't an issue, now with most cameras being Focal plane, you have to pay a little more attention to it.

 Lighting angle is about creating depth on the face, so that's what determines the angle of the light.  However, this will normally illuminate the eyes appropriately to get the iris to close down if the modeling lights are bright enough.. To get good dimension with portrait lighting you will normally see a bright catchlight from the key light around the 11 or 1 o'clock position (depends on which side you position the key light).  If you cannot see a decent catchlight in both eyes, you probably also won't get a nice sculpting shadow on the face. 

Unfortunately sometimes with some people, it takes more light or they are more sensitive to light so you get them squinting.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2014, 07:14:49 AM »
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I a hardly a portrait expert, but I have gotten good eyes by exposing to the right, shooting RAW (or course!), bringing overall exposure down in LR, then using adjustment brush to lighten the eyes. Not too practical if you have to process dozens of portraits, unfortunately.
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Peter
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2014, 10:10:51 AM »
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Maybe because you're photographing vampires?

my thinking exactly!
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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2014, 04:58:42 PM »
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I a hardly a portrait expert, but I have gotten good eyes by exposing to the right, shooting RAW (or course!), bringing overall exposure down in LR, then using adjustment brush to lighten the eyes. Not too practical if you have to process dozens of portraits, unfortunately.
Yes, good exposure is important, but this isn't an exposure problem.  It's about getting the iris of the eye to contract enough to be visible.  If the ambient lighting is dim, even if you expose it well and lighten it up, the iris isn't visible.
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eronald
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« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2014, 08:28:25 PM »
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Yes, good exposure is important, but this isn't an exposure problem.  It's about getting the iris of the eye to contract enough to be visible.  If the ambient lighting is dim, even if you expose it well and lighten it up, the iris isn't visible.

Side-lighting helps.

Edmund
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sunnycal
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 01:39:15 AM »
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Yes, good exposure is important, but this isn't an exposure problem.  It's about getting the iris of the eye to contract enough to be visible.  If the ambient lighting is dim, even if you expose it well and lighten it up, the iris isn't visible.

Can you clarify what you mean by Iris contracting? If I understand OP's issue, the iris is visible in all cases, it is the contrast between iris and pupil that is missing.
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tcphoto
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« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2014, 11:12:39 AM »
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The modeling light is not a high watt bulb so the pupil is dilated. If you turn the modeling light up, move it closer or replace with a higher watt the pupils will become smaller and the color of the subjects eyes will be more visible.
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2014, 03:06:30 PM »
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Lighting setup seems workable to me. You are simply crushing dark tones in development. Shoot raw and try opening shadows.
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TSJ1927
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« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2014, 09:06:41 PM »
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Now I'm not a "model type" photographer, but I did have a friend that wanted to have some shots for a portfolio.  After some test & polaroids, I realized it was the eyes that needed to be "stopped" down.  I set up a 1000 watt tota light into a small hi-silver umbrella next to the main soft box.  The assistant  controlled the tota just long enough to close her eye iris down then turn off it was good for server shots. Exanples:

http://www.pbase.com/tojo123/image/155729302
http://www.pbase.com/tojo123/image/155729988
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 07:23:32 AM by TSJ1927 » Logged
Pope
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« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2014, 04:34:55 AM »
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Paint the eyes with a selective brush in PS and adjust the exposure 1 stop up. I think the eyes are underexposed.
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