Close-up shots of the eye are one of the most stunning types of photos. The intricate iris pattern looked like a very delicate otherworldly landscape. With the right perspective, lens, and lighting, you too can create phenomenal close-up eyes.
Method 1 of 3: Shooting Photo Subjects
Step 1. Have the subject of the photo look at a specific lens or point
If the subject of the photo is looking directly at the lens, you can take detailed photos of the iris and pupil. However, if you want to capture the eye from a different perspective, ask the subject to look at a specific point so you can find the best angle to take the photo.
Step 2. Look closely at the eyes and determine which part is the most interesting
Are you interested in the color and pattern of the iris or in the reflection of light in the pupil? Do you want to focus on the wrinkles around the eyes or on the curls of the eyelashes? Your answer will be the main detail that is focused when taking the photo.
Step 3. Create an eye portrait that has a catch light effect using continuous light
A catch light is a small white dot that can sometimes be found in close-up eye photos. You can make a catch light by turning on a light source in the form of a steady continuous light. Use a softbox, umbrella, ring light, or natural light to create this effect.
Make sure the camera does not cast a shadow on the photo you want to make
Step 4. Shoot as close to the eye as possible
Many close-up shots of the eye don't work simply because the photographer wasn't close enough to shoot. Position the camera lens as close to the subject's eyes as possible without blurring the photo.
Be careful not to let your position or the camera get in the way of the light needed for shooting
Step 5. Use the zoom setting on the camera to shoot the eye
Adjust the zoom until you get the angle you like. Widening the shot to include other details will give context to the photo, but it will distract from the detail you want to focus on.
Step 6. Keep the camera steady by using a tripod or placing the camera on a solid surface
When shooting close-ups, even the slightest hand shake can make the photo blurry. Using a tripod or solid surface to support the camera when shooting will help you prevent this.
Step 7. Mount the mirror behind the camera to take pictures of your own eyes
If you want to take macro photos of your own eyes, a camera with a flip screen is the best choice because you can see if the shot is correct and looks in focus or not. If you don't have one, just place a small mirror behind the camera so you can see what's on the camera screen.
If you take pictures of your own eyes using your phone's camera, attach a mirror. This is necessary, because photographing your own eyes using the selfie settings on your phone's camera will affect the exposure of the photo
Method 2 of 3: Selecting Lenses and Additional Tools
Step 1. Attach the macro lens to the camera
Macro lenses are the best choice for recording eye details. Macro lenses have various focal lengths, ranging from 50 to 200mm. You can still take good close-up shots of the eye with a regular lens, but you may not be able to capture the eye until it fills the entire frame or captures all the details you want.
If you don't have a macro lens and don't want to spend the money on one, consider using a close-up filter as an alternative
Step 2. Use macro mode or an additional macro lens if you are shooting with your phone
Some phones have a macro mode so you can shoot your eyes in more detail than with standard settings. An additional macro lens for your phone will result in even more detailed photos.
- You can buy additional macro lenses for your phone at most photography stores or online marketplaces.
- If you want to buy an additional macro lens, choose the one that fits the phone model.
Step 3. Consider adding a macro extension tube so the lens can shoot closer
The macro extension tube is installed between the camera body and the back of the lens. This tool can aim at the eye more closely so the results are bigger and you can capture more intricate details.
Method 3 of 3: Adjusting Camera Settings
Step 1. Set a smaller aperture number to get a narrower depth of field
For close-up photos, the best sharp areas are narrow ones. Set the camera aperture to a number between f/5.6 and f/11.
The aperture number you choose will depend on the eye detail you want to emphasize in the photo. Test the numbers out to see how the aperture setting changes the shot
Step 2. Use a fast shutter speed to reduce the risk of blur
The human eye is constantly moving and this can make photos blurry. For sharper results, set the shutter speed at 1/100th of a second or faster.
Using a tripod will also give you the flexibility to set a higher shutter speed
Step 3. Use a lower ISO number so the photo doesn't have digital grain/noise
With a higher ISO number, you can shoot in low-light conditions, but the photos will be grainy. If you are shooting in a well-lit place, set the ISO to the lowest possible number.
Step 4. Focus the lens manually
The autofocus setting may not focus on the details you want to shoot. So, better to just disable it and shoot focus manually. To focus the lens manually, rotate the lens until it is stuck and everything is blurry. After that, slowly flip it around until the details you want to focus on are sharp.
Step 5. Disable the camera flash
Do not use a flash or shine another bright light source directly into your eyes. Bright light can damage the eyes and make the subject of the photo squint, spoiling the portrait.
Step 6. Take multiple photos to get the perfect result
It's impossible to know which combination of angle of view, composition, focus, and depth of field will produce the best photo. So, try out these combinations as much as possible. When shooting close-ups, even small changes can result in very different photos.