How To: Capture eye reflections

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You will need:

  • An object to reflect
  • Preferably a macro lens or a camera with a macro setting
  • Source of lighting such as a large window on a sunny day



  1. Sit with your back to your light source. But make sure light can hit the object you intend to reflect for the best reflection.
  2. Hold the object you intend to reflect to your side a few inches away. Adjust the object's distance from your eye accordingly depending on your object's size for the desired composition of the reflection.
  3. Look towards the side of your face, towards your ear, keeping the object you want to reflect in your peripheral vision. This will allow you to crop out the sclera (white portion of your eye) later and therefore make your pupil and iris look bigger.
  4. Though it is very helpful to have a friend with you to help you with composition in Step 2, you can do it by yourself with a tripod and a lot of repeated trials. If you are doing this shot alone, use a tripod and keep it at armslength so you can hold the object with your left hand and release the shutter of your camera with your right hand.
  5. Experiment with your angle to the light source. Progressively turn towards your light source and see if it improves the reflection.



  • You can also sit with your eyes facing the light source. However, this will cause the object you're trying to reflect to become a silhouette instead of having detail and color.  
  • When trying to reflect smaller objects, I generally rest the object on my cheekbone to allow for easier systematic repeatition.



  • In allthatglittersisgold red glitter was dabbed onto my eye and adhered with water.
  • I used a Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di macro lens mounted on a tripod at armslength.
  • Proper composition of the heart wand reflection took approximately 100 shots to get right.
  • I do have dark eyes, which may help with the reflection.


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