If we have ever discussed photography at all, I have probably mentioned catchlights. I don’t remember the first time I heard about them, but I know the concept has captivated me ever since. They are that tiny flash of light you can see in a persons eyes. They can sometimes make the difference between a good portrait and a great one. They are reflections of the lightsource, a literal representation of the how we can be both windows and mirrors. Sometimes a whole scene can be found in that tiny fraction of a photo.
When I take photos, headshots especially, I say over and over, “turn towards the light, now a little more.” A well lit face makes a huge difference. And the easiest way to get a well lit face is a great lightsource. Because I use natural light, a huge window or an open sky are my best friends. Cloudy or rainy days usually mean we’re going to be standing inches from the window to get the right light. And actually, you can tell if the light on a persons face is good by checking the size and position of the catchlights in their eyes.
I have such an affinity for light. It distracts me, sometimes enthralls me. I love how turning a face even the slightest, moving it a fraction of an inch in the right direction can illuminate the eyes. Unflattering shadows can be eliminated if the right angle is caught. Sometimes a tilt of the chin is all it takes to fill in all the dark spots. I could go on for days about all the ways to use it and find it and reflect it. And I could go on for days about all of the big and little metaphors that photography holds.
This one is my favorite though. Look closely at a catchlight and you’ll see both the lightsource and the photographer. You might be able to make out a bay window or puffy clouds in my photos, if the light is grand and the angle is right, you will be able to see me, sometimes just a silhouette, sometimes more. Catchlights are pretty much dependent on three things: The size of the lightsource, proximity to it, and how directly the subject is looking into it. If there is a ton of light and the person is looking directly at me, like in this photo, you will be able to make out details like the color of my shirt and the position of the camera.
I’m quite certain I don’t need to play out this entire illustration for you, but I do so love the beauty of it. So much like my relationship with Him, if I am not “finding the light”, seeking Him, shadows can fall, bad habits or sneaky lies can creep in. If I am not being intentional about what I take in and getting close to the Light when things get dark, His image will barely be visible at all. Moving my face towards Him though, changing the angle even a fraction can send Light into all the right places. And if I am positioning myself correctly, looking right at Him, He will be reflected more clearly.