beautiful eye photo by covering half the face Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Eye Photography: 7 Secrets To Shoot Stunning Eye Close-Up Photos

The art of eye photography entails a subject's eye anatomy. The human eye is an exciting subject for eye photography. It houses the iris that comes in various colors depending on how much melanin is present. Photographers hence concentrate on capturing the distinctive and captivating pattern of the iris in the eyes. Here are the camera settings and 7 practical tips.

Camera settings for Eye Photography

Using the best camera with the best lens will not result in spectacular up-close images of the eyes. To acquire the most magnificent close-up photos of the eye, you must also verify that your camera has been set up correctly. They include:

1. Shutter Speed

You can set your camera to adjust the shutter speed automatically. To avoid blurriness, you should select a quick shutter. The eye moves continually, which can cause your shot to be blurry. You may set your shutter speed to 1/100th of a second or faster for a sharper image. If your camera is not on a tripod, you must set your shutter speed higher than your focal length. In other words, your shutter speed must be greater than 1/100 if you shoot at 100mm.

close-up photo of one eye

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

2. ISO

Photographers frequently disregard this setting. However, choosing the correct ISO is essential to ensuring that your files are noise free. You must manually adjust your ISOs if you want to guarantee that your photos will be sharp. When setting your ISO, try to stay between 100 and 800. This is because it is the ideal range where image noise is minimal for most cameras. Since 100 makes the slightest noise, it would be suitable if you were in a bright environment. However, if there isn't enough light, feel free to increase the value to 800. You may notice a few sparks in your photo but not enough to detract from its aesthetic quality.

3. Aperture

You will have a reduced focus area while taking up-close eye photos. Therefore, shooting in macro mode might be beneficial. To lock in your focus, further adjust the aperture settings in accordance. It should range between f8 to f11. Expand your area of concentration too. Please do not use a large aperture such as f/1.8, as it may be challenging to catch the image even when you are closer to it.

Lighting for Eye Photography

Lighting is a crucial component of eye photography since it makes it easier to catch delicate iris.

half face photo by looking away

Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

Various sources include:

1. Artificial lighting

Continuous & strobe lights are the two primary categories of artificial lighting.

  • Continuous lighting sources like lamps & softboxes are your best bets. They are so named because the light they generate never goes out. They are very gentle on the eyes because they do not employ abrupt bursts of flashing light.
  • Flash /Strobe is not the ideal option because they make many people blink. But given their strength, they are astonishingly effective at illuminating the eyes. Keep in mind to utilize low power wherever possible to avoid blinding the subject with the light burst.

2. Natural lighting

In most cases, this type of lighting is adequate for photographing eyes. Direct sunlight should not be used for photography because it can harm your subject's eyes.

white and black eye photo of a man

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Some of the kinds of natural light are:

  • Golden hour is the time just before sunset, and it is considered to be an excellent time for natural light
  • Diffused light is when the light is diffused, and you get to shoot in its shadow
  • Side light is when the sun is to the side of the client, and it is considered to enhance the detail and texture of the image

3. Lighting Tips

  • Lighting and filming from above will place you in an ideal position for eye lights
  • To prevent shadows, ensure you set your light source away from your camera
  • Ensure your subject's eyes remain closed before you start shooting to avoid any strain

Seven Tips to shoot Stunning Eye Close-up Photos

1. Keep the subject stationary to prevent loss of focus

 attractive eye photo behind a hole

Photo by Sebastian Banasiewcz on Unsplash

When you snap up-close-eye photos, you will learn that even the tiny motions will blur your picture. It's essential to maintain complete stillness when photographing your subject &your camera. How can you then make sure your issue remains still? Asking your client to sit or lie down might be the simple solution. Ensure they are at ease and have adequate neck support to keep them from shifting.

2. Get a macro lens to Improve the sharpness of your image

The most excellent way to capture the fine details of the eye is using a macro lens. The focal length of macro lenses ranges from 50 to 200mm. With a standard lens, you can still obtain a good close-up shot of the eye, but you might not be able to get it to achieve the level of detail you want. To improve the sharpness of your image, you’ll need to bring on board a macro lens.

3. Replace manual focus with autofocus

eye photo by printed colors around

 Photo by Daniel Apodaca on Unsplash

Most photographers frequently omit autofocus in favor of the accuracy attained by manually focusing. Because the depth of field is so short when taking up-close shots, the manual focus ring can frequently help you focus more precisely. When photographing eyes, this technique may not always be applicable. Eye movement is a continuous, involuntary wiggle that occurs numerous times each second in human eyes.

4. Employ a converter (adapter)

Some excellent middle ground choices are available if you don't own a macro lens or a current mobile phone that won't break the bank. The kit lens included with most cameras can be significantly magnified by using close-up filters. While using close-up filters requires some experience, you can get a good set at an affordable price, and with perseverance, you'll get excellent results. Extension tubes &reverse rings are a further alternative.

5. Instead of using a tripod, turn on image stabilization

Human beings are notoriously tricky to remain motionless long enough for a tripod shot to be taken. For this reason, you should utilize image stabilization to your advantage rather than a tripod so you can handhold your camera & achieve far better results. You do not require an image-stabilized lens because many mirrorless cameras offer sensor-based image stabilization.

eye photo behind a plant hole

Photo by Drew Dizzy Graham on Unsplash

6. Enhance the beauty of the eye

If you want to draw attention to and define the form of your subject's eyes, makeup like mascara and eyeliner could do the trick.

7. Create appealing images

Reflection can be used to enhance the appeal of your eye photographs. A person, scene, or object could be the reflection's source. You must, in this situation, position a powerful light source between your patient and the object. To direct the reflection into your subject's iris, place the object next to them.


If you can keep your camera and subject stable, you can learn how to do it. Additionally, you must know how to use lighting effects to draw attention to your subject strategically. When everything comes together in perfect synchrony, you are left with a gorgeous final image.

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