A creative and engaging photo by tom-turbo  from Austria who thinks that "Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder!"

 tom-turbo, where did you take this photo?

I took this photo during a photo shoot at a friends house. She is a make-up artist and while I was aiding her in taking some shots for her set-card, I played around a little with my 180 mm makro lens.

What time of day?

It was taken on an early evening in spring time.

Anything worth sharing about lighting?

Being a beginner in photography I didn't have much professional lighting at hand. Trying to get as close as possible I used 2 neon lamps which I placed on either side of the subject to soften the harsh light of the SB900 speedlight which was mounted on my camera.

What equipment did you use?

Back then I was still shooting with my Nikon D90 (R.I.P. :-), used a Tamron 180mm macro lens and had the SB900 in TTL mode. I asked the models to place their chin on a stack of books in order to keep them steady. My camera was fixed to a tripod at very close range.

What inspired you to take this photo?

While I was clicking away, capturing the different make-ups my friend did, I realized how very different the pupils of the models where and got curious to get even closer. So I fixed the macro lens and everybody in the room let me take a shot of their eyes. It is amazing to see what's going on in peoples eyes. You see veins, spots in and around the iris, colour variations and the beautiful individual patterns in every persons iris.

Did you do any post-processing? If yes, tell us about it!

On this particular shot I used Photoshop and NIK filters to enhance contrast and detail. For a change I was not focused on making things soft and clean but to increase detail and contrast, so one could really see all the fine hairs, veins, reflections and spots in and around the eye. I found it amazing to find out what we actually don't see in daily life.
There were two reflections of the neon tubes left and right in the iris. Since they were quite large and distractive, I removed those. But I left the reflection of the flash there in order to "keep the eye alive".

What equipment do you normally have in your bag?

My camera bag has grown substantially in size and weight over the years. I'm currently equipped with a D600 and the full range of f/2,8 Nikkor lenses all the way from 14-200mm. Besides I'm using the 16 mm f/2,8 fisheye for fun, the 105mm f/2,8 macro which is also good for portraits and the 50mm f1,8 which should be in every photographers portfolio
For lighting I'm set up with 2 SB900 and a SB910 plus Pocketwizards since I'm shooting with "flashes off camera" most of the time. And of course a set of tripods and light stands are always on board.

Any advice for others trying to capture something similar?

On the particular subject of the eye there are many points which you can focus on when using a macro lens. I tend to manually focus on the tip of the vitreous body with a slightly shut aperture so that the glimsy and delicate details in the iris that lie behind it get visible. Since the eye is always moist, refections are a big issue. So you're most likeley always left with some light reflections that one might want to remove in post production. I have been interested in close ups of eyes eversince and I would recomend everybody to give it a go one day or another.

Discover tom-turbo's photographic style and techniques.

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