On Eye Contact

Just a loose follow-up from the last article I did – where I spoke about getting eye level with your subject and all that jazz. Now it makes little sense (usually) to lower/raise yourself to the level of your subject, only to miss out on the key ingredient in communicating the message – the eye.

Eyes are the window to the soul, as they say – and it’s true for all species, humans included. Which is why it’s imperative to highlight the link that will allow the viewer to look directly into the life of the subject of your image.

crested caracara-7










Working with this particular tame Crested Caracara allowed me to make many different images – including one that lacked this necessary aspect – this only works as the bird is toying with a dismembered frog.

crested caracara-4







Some folks have asked me how is it possible to retain focus on the eye – most cameras have a decent array of autofocus (AF) points, and most models allow the photographer to select how many (and which) AF points that are needed to maintain focus as well as composition. I encourage everyone with a camera to investigate these options, as they can help immensely with different in-the-field situations.

My good, trusty old Canon 7D has 19 AF points, the image below is a screenshot of the RAW file, showing the single AF point (in red) that’s active on the desired body part of my subject.

AF point SL






After a quick conversion, the final image:

southern lapwing