And the Eyes have it

Posted on May 10, 2013


You are in front of the camera, so where do your eyes go? Where should you be looking? Is there a right place? Maybe you are stuck and need some place to pose and go next in your posing. Is there a right place? Good set of questions.

First, there is nothing worse to a photographer than having to toss an image because of “Kooky Eyes”. You know the images – the models eyes are pushed from looking so far to one direction that the model’s eyes look kooky – so much white and the iris is off center and covered. How do you avoid the kooky eye look? Simply keep your eyes mostly in front of you and in the same direction as your nose. That will keep your irises centered and looking good. Is there an exception? Of course, when is there not an exception? The exception is looking over your shoulder to your back where it is expected to have some kooky eyes, or then it looks weird.

So, where should you be looking? The first place to be looking is to your main light. Wait, what is the main light? If you are outside and in the day, the main light is usually the sun. It can be a flash or strobe in the shade. In the studio, it is more difficult, but it is usually the biggest light that is also the brightest (the less bright bigger one, if you have one, is a fill light). Wait a minute, that means if I am outside, I will be squinting into the sun. Well, yes. But the key here is to be pointing in that direction but not quite looking directly at it. We don’t want you to hurt your eyes. Even if looking in the same direction causes problems, then you can do a three count to open your eyes, then quickly close them again. Just  hope that your photographer has the quick enough reflexes to capture you while your eyes are open (most do!). In the shade and studio, you don’t have to worry about doing a count.

The next place to be looking at is your own body or a few feet just in front of it on the ground. This gives a different look and tone, and unlike closing your eyes, it won’t tense up the muscles in your face. This also is a way to show off your eye shadow work that the makeup artist did on you.

The next place is where everyone looks – directly at the camera. The key here is that you point your nose a couple of feet to the left or right of the camera lens and then look back at the camera with your eyes. This brings out the contours of your face giving it definition, unlike pointing your nose to the camera where those same lines aren’t brought out.

The final place is off to your right or left, somewhere in the distance. You don’t really need to focus on anything when you do, but key is getting your face to look in that general direction. This often provides a full profile to the photographer.

Where do your eyes point? Always the same direction as your nose or you end up with kooky eyes. Ok, but where should my nose be pointing? First, to the main light, then to your body, then to the camera, then finally to your left or right. Remember this as you pose or when you get stuck, and it will help the shoot go a lot smoother.

Posted in: Modeling, Posing