The human iris is beautiful and looks otherworldly. That’s why taking eye macro pictures is so interesting.
In this article, we’re going to highlight how to take great macro photographs of your eye. A regular lens isn’t ideal for taking macro pictures of the eye. You can only use it up to a specific distance to come up with sharp images.
When it comes to taking close-ups of the eye, your best bet would be to go the macro lens route. The optics offered by these lenses allow users to “zoom” into their subjects up-close without losing any sharpness.
The best macro lenses for taking eye pictures should have a 100mm focal length at the least. It is an ideal length because it allows you to take up-close photos of your subject even if you’re far from it.
Although, keep in mind that it’s important to maintain a distance because you could end up blocking the light that hits the eye if you’re too close.
Camera Settings For taking Macro Eye Pictures
Creating magical macro eye photographs doesn’t depend on the macro lens you use.
You also need to ensure that you’ve got the correct camera settings in place to come up with the sharpest and most detailed images.
Most folks ignore this setting a lot of the time. However, using the correct ISO setting is vital for ensuring you create files that don’t have image noise. If you want to get the sharpest images possible, you’ll need to know how to adjust ISOs manually. Keep the ISO settings between the ranges of around 100 – 800.
Why do we say this? Because it’s the range, you get the lowest image noise in most cameras. If you happen to be in a bright place, 100 would be the best because you’ll get the lowest image noise at this level.
However, if the light is in short supply, don’t be afraid to go up to 800. You’ll notice a few specks on the picture when you reach this point. However, they won’t ruin the photo.
The field depth of your lens, or area in focus, gets tinier once you’re on macro. Having the correct aperture settings in place at all times will help you get a better focus.
Don’t use extensive aperture settings such as f/1.8 and the like. It is a shallow depth of field that’ll make it harder to get sharp images even when you’re close to the subject. Instead, use narrow aperture settings like f/11 or f/8 to have a deeper field depth.
Remember that because you’re taking macro photographs, the field depth would still seem tiny no matter whichever setting you use. However, picking narrow aperture settings sufficiently widens the focus area, making things easier for you.
The truth is, as far as macro photography is concerned, shutter speed is nowhere near as important as aperture. So, don’t be afraid to use the Aperture Priority setting and letting the camera automatically pick the shutter speed. It’ll save you both effort and time tinkering around.
With that said, you should still check the shutter speed your camera is at before you shoot. It should never go under 1/60 of a second. Anything slower than this can ruin an image because of a motion blur. But if the camera itself chose to go below that value, you might need to increase exposure by adding light.
If your camera is on an f/11 aperture setting, you can let in more light by lowering the aperture to f/8. Bumping up the ISO can also help. As long as you’re not above the 800 value, image noise is something you don’t need to worry about too much.
Minimize Redness By Resting The Eye
The eye’s white parts, or the sclera, can be incredibly sensitive. If it’s put through a lot of stress, it can get red and, in turn, help produce ugly-looking images.
If you want the sclera to show in the macro shot, ensure your subject has had enough rest. However, that doesn’t mean forcing them to take a nap before the shoot. Just ask them not to participate in things or activities that can strain the eye.
If your subject is well-rested and there’s still redness of the eye, certain over-the-counter medications can help you reduce this redness. Just don’t overuse the medication because long-term use could lead to eye irritation.
Lighting Macro Eye Photographs
Lighting is vital when it comes to taking macro shots of the eye. You need to ensure you’re in a well-lit place if you want to get all the details of the iris.
It would also be good to pick a place with a good catchlight. Catchlights are the light sources that complement the human eye. They’re often round, just like the iris itself, and have a bright orb-like overall aesthetic.
Catchlights come in many different forms. It can be artificial light from strobes and light bulbs or the sun’s natural light.
This type of lighting is what most people want when taking pictures of the eye. However, you need to be a little wary of direct sunlight because it can cause eye damage. Look for shaded areas that have large windows. Such locations will provide you with the right blend of specular highlights and shadows to get all the details.
The two main kinds of artificial lights are strobes and continuous. The most ideal for macro eye photography is the constant lighting sources like softboxes and lamps. They’re called continuous because the light they produce is constantly on. They’re also friendlier to the eyes because they don’t have sudden bursts of flashes.
These are not ideal choices because they cause most folks to blink. However, they’re very good at lighting the human eye because of their power. Just avoid using high-power settings because the light bursts can blind the subject.
Instead of placing your light source on top of the camera, consider putting it to the side. This way, the long camera lens won’t cast ugly shadows and block light. Furthermore, if you don’t want the iris to reflect the catchlight, then you’ll want to place the light source beside the eye.
It’ll still illuminate the eyeballs without any specular highlights. When the light source is placed beside the subject, tell your model to shut their eyes and open them only once you start shooting.
Editing Macro Eye Photographs
If you do the things we’ve highlighted in this article correctly, your close-up eyeshot should already look fantastic.
However, you can make the pictures even more stunning if you edit them correctly. The first thing you’ll need to do is adjust basic settings. If your image has unnatural-looking color casts, don’t be afraid to play around with the white balance feature.
When you’ve got the color cast that you want, tweak the Exposure slider function to make images bright enough. Then, get prominent-looking details by increasing contrast.
Next, adjust your shadows and highlights. Doing this will help you bring out iris depth. You can also change the White and Black settings to fine-tune the image’s contrast. Lastly, use Saturation and Vibrance to help you capture all the eye colors.
Just ensure you make moderate adjustments because you don’t want to have unnatural hues.
Keep The Subject Still
When you take macro photos of the eye, you’ll notice that even small movements can negatively affect focus. That’s why it’s imperative to keep both the camera and subject entirely still at all times.
So, how can you make sure the subject does not move while you shoot? The most straightforward answer here is to tell them to either sit or lie down. Ensure they have adequate neck support so that they don’t move around and ensure that they’re comfortable.
You might want to consider using a tripod to help you keep your camera stable. Once the subject is still and at rest, watch your distance and focus on the lens.
Consider placing your tripod in one specific spot, so you don’t have to keep adjusting the camera before or after every photo. You can also use remote triggers to set off the camera. Doing this will prevent you from touching the device and possibly causing motion blur.
Taking photos of the eye isn’t as hard if you’ve taken macro images before.
The secret behind great macro photography is to keep both the subject and camera stable. Also, you need to pay close attention to your surrounding light. When you’ve got the perfect focus and light, you’re going to come up with exception macro eye photographs.
The eyes are windows to the soul, and when you get a good picture of them, it’s like looking deep into one’s soul. Hopefully, now you know how to take a good eye photo. So, what are you waiting for? Get that excellent eye picture today!Back to Top