Do you want to take a dreamy-like child’s photo, or just a nice photo of a beautiful lady? You can use an eyelash effect to achieve both when done nicely.
I’m pretty sure an eyelash photo isn’t really an official English word, but that’s what I like to call these kinds of photos. You probably have an idea of what I mean by it; a photo in which the child or adult looks down and where you usually photograph the eyelashes slightly from above.
For years I worked as a children’s photographer and at every photo session I took one or more eyelash photos, because moms always fall in love with it. It gives a bit of a dreamy look to children’s’ photos, sometimes playful or naughty. If you photograph pretty ladies, it gives a beauty look and its a nice variation of other portrait photos.
Fortunately, making such an eyelash photo is not difficult, but it does help that you know a few tricks and know what to watch out for. I have taken quite a number of perfect eyelash photos over the years, so in this post I would be sharing a short step-by-step guide on how to achieve them.
1. The right lens for eyelash photos
For children’s photography I really like to use a 50mm lens on my camera. It is my absolute favorite because of the sharpness (depth) and the bokeh , but also because you can focus fairly close on the subject with this lens, which is an important factor for making the eyelash photos. You can also achieve this with a 35mm lens or 85mm lens, although I find the latter a little less suitable. This is because although an 85mm is really a beautiful lens for portraits, you have to be just a little too far away for these types of photos.
Do not take the eyelash photos with a wide-angle lens, such as a focal length of 24mm. This lens gives a little distortion of the face when you shoot so close. And nobody likes it when their nose is suddenly much bigger than in real life, right?
2. Provide Instructions For The Correct Gaze
For the perfect eyelash photo, you want the child or lady to look down a bit and have the eyes almost closed. Its easier to explain this to an adult, but how do you explain it to a four-year-old child?
If you say “ just look down” , there is a fairly high chance that they will position the head all the way down, and what will be visible would be the back of his or her head. That is why it is important to make the instruction very specific. I usually do this by standing opposite the image, and then I tell him or her to point at my belly button, and then I further ask them to look at my knees. By splitting the nose pointing and the eyes apart, you keep the boy or girl from tilting his or her head down.
It helps to give clear instructions. Not just saying “look down”. Now this instruction may seem a lot more complicated, but believe me young children understand this much better than saying “ look down a little, but not too much and your eyes should be almost completely closed ”.
Eyelash photos are easiest to take if you are slightly taller than the person you are photographing. If the other person is taller than you, ask if they can sit somewhere for a while.
When determining your position, the most important thing is that you do not shoot from too high. Pay close attention to the forehead and nose. You don’t want too much forehead in the frame especially in close-ups and you also don’t want the nose sticking out over the mouth.
Even if you have found the right height; you may still have too much forehead in view. There’s nothing wrong with foreheads though, the one important thing is that the photo should be well balanced. And with close-up portraits, a lot of the forehead in the image often makes the composition look unpleasant. Another point of interest is the chin in close-ups; make sure that it is not too close to the edge, because that is usually also a bit disturbing as well.
5. Focus And Depth For Eyelash Photos
In portrait photography you normally focus on the eyes, now you naturally do that on the eyelashes. Use the focus points for this. As settings I choose a large aperture, so that you get little depth of field in the photo. Note that when the focusing is very close, just a small movement of you or can alter the focus is on the eyelashes.
6. Pay Attention To The Details
You have found the right position and composition, the camera settings are good and the position of the head is correct. The next thing to do is to pay attention to the final details. Can a small smile make the photo even more beautiful? Or does the person need to look a little further down?
7. Black and white editing for timeless character
When I have to choose between color or black and white, I almost always choose color. But with eyelash photos, that distribution in choice is rather 50-50%. By converting the photo into black and white, I think that the photo gets a more timeless character. And that emphasizes the somewhat dreamy feeling of the photo.
Without the colors, the photo immediately has a completely different atmosphere.
I hope these tips would guide you in taking your next eyelash photos.