Reflector for portrait & headshot photography: Eyelighter
I’ve mentioned before how much I like using the Westcott Eyelighter for headshot photography. The first time I encountered the Eye-lighter (B&H / Amazon), was at the After Dark Edu photography conventions, and I was fascinated by this lighting device and the results it produced.
There is a distinctive curved high-light that it gives to the bottom part of your subject’s eyes. How much of a reflection, will depend on how you rotate and position the Eyelighter.
- After Dark Edu – Charlotte, NC – May 2012
The lighting diagram: The main light is a large softbox to camera-left, with the Eyelighter, below our subject. Then there is the usual configuration of a (mild) backlight, and a light for the backdrop.
What makes this light modifier / reflector so versatile, is that you can swivel it around its axis where it is mounted on the light stand. You can have it parallel to your subject, or you can swivel either the right-hand side or left-hand side closer to give more modeling to your subject’s features. This article has examples of this: Westcott Eyelighter for headshot photography.
Also at one of the After Dark conventions, I photographed Madison with this setup. We added a beauty dish and an Westcott eyelighter reflector (affiliate) , and a gridded softbox for a kicker light behind and to the side of her. Another light was for the background. Here’s the pull-back shot to show the lighting setup.
- After Dark Edu – Dallas, TX – Feb 2012
Another example, using clamshell lighting here – a large softbox in front and slightly above Megan, our gorgeous (and patient) model. The Eyelighter below her, acted as the fill-light.
- After Dark Edu – Charlotte, NC – Sept 2011
- Headshot photography: Studio lighting – Westcott Eyelighter
- Headshot photography – Clam-shell lighting setup
- Photo gear & logistics: Corporate headshots
- Headshot photography lighting setup
8 Comments, Add Your Own
I guess the Eyelighter only works with single person shootting and not group picture, correct?
2Neil vN says
Yeah, I think you’d have to do a really tight hugging portrait of two people if you wanted to use it with more than one person.
3Johan Schmidt says
I think the effect is personal taste – when the eyes are bright, I like the effect, but when the eyes are dark, it looks a bit like an alien.
4Ed Shum says
So in effect, this is basically like tri-fold reflector, but doesn’t have the joins, so the catch-light isn’t in 3-parts, so to speak?
5Neil vN says
Essentially, but I think the Eyelighter will give a smoother continuous highlight.
5.1Ed Shum says
Thanks Neil, yes, I agree. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t going insane – ha!
6Reto Kohler Tamburini says
I am a long-time follower and big fan of your blog: as a small reward for what you so for all of us, I have also bought all your books – and will continue to do so!
Short question: Don’t you think that with the channeled lighting of the eyelighter the bottom gets a little too bright and hence takes away the focus from the most important parts – the face?
Thanks again for all you do – cheers from Switzerland, Reto
7Neil vN says
Reto … there is actually strong chance that the reflected light could be too strong. When I see that, I pull the reflector more towards me, away from my client.
Also, Westcott offers a white material cover for the Eye-Lighter: (Amazon / B&H)
This will lessen the specular nature of the reflector.