Shiny Eyes

  • Ask Anything

A couple of weeks ago I posted about other photographers and wanting to help out. In many ways I do not feel worthy to post an “Ask Anything” or a “FAQ” post.  What do I know?! I’m just really good at trial and error and so my methods may not be 100% correct. That is my disclaimer. I want to help but please note that I am NOT AN EXPERT.  I’m just a girl who has an unhealthy obsession with her Mark II and her 50 1.2.  That’s it.  I have failed MISERABLY but I have learned so much from those failures.  It was people like Jasmine Star who helped me learn the importance of shooting manually and conquering my fear of the scary “M” on my settings dial. So please enjoy this new series of “Ask Anything” posts and hopefully someone will learn a little bit of photo knowledge that will help them improve!


So is this post really answering questions about “Shiny eyes”? Yes. It is. It sounds funny but I have had so many people email me and say “How do you get such shiny eyes? …. How are your images so sharp?” To be honest, I always laugh a little because what people don’t realize is that I show the best of the best.  There are so many of my images that are out of focus. So in reality, I still have a TON to learn about focusing and producing consistently sharp images. One thing I should share is that I have an obsession with prime lenses. I love them! I love to shoot wide open (1.4, 1.6, 1.8) and prime lenses allow me to do just that. My 50 1.2 is my friend. Once I got that lens I started to really pay attention to my focusing. Jasmine Star always talked about locking in the focus on the eyes and so I starting trying that. I started practicing this at 3.2… and then 2.0…. and then 1.6, 1.4  and then I tried 1.2! UGH. Talk about sensitive! If you REALLY want to master your focusing skills, try practicing at 1.4 or 1.2.  The depth of field is out of this world but it is so hard to control sometimes. Here are some images shot at 1.2:

I’m definitely still nervous to shoot portraits at 1.2 but sometimes I try it for a little challenge.  A common misunderstanding is that sharp images come from good editing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sharp images come from understanding your camera, controlling your aperture and locking in your focus.  The best way to learn this is to….. PRACTICE!  Surprise, surprise.  I feel like that is a cop-out answer, but it’s true.  I didn’t learn from just reading blogs. I learned from really bad engagement sessions and really blurry images. It scared me that I didn’t understand my camera and so I practiced until felt like I was the one in control.


I hope this was somewhat helpful and not too confusing! On a final note, if you do not currently have a prime lens, practice with what you have! If you can only shoot at a 5.6…. then master the 5.6.  There is nothing wrong with that. Make the absolute best of where you are and what you have.  Enjoy your Monday and happy shooting!!!


**Edited to add** Michael informed my this morning that I should give an example of “Shiny eyes” So here’s a close up of Mary’s “shiny eyes”!

xoxo, Katelyn
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