Genetics was my favorite subject in school, and I often thought about being a geneticist or scientist of some kind. I still to this day will work out the probability of traits for people. But in all my lessons, I do NOT remember that blue eyes were not blue.
Only as a photographer did I discover/re-discovered that blue eyes aren’t technically blue – they lack the melanin that pigments the fibers of the iris (the same pigment that colors and protects the skin). The fibers in the iris of “blue” eyes scatter and absorb some of the longer wavelengths of light that come in, but more blue light gets back out and so, the eyes appear to be blue. Similar affect as ocean water, reflecting and looking blue.
As a result, blue-eyed people can be extremely sensitive to light and can tear up quite a bit. Even in the studio, with just the studio lamps on, I’ve seen many a blue-eyed person tear up. I’ve even seen people blink, even though no flash was actually used!
Of course, we want your eyes to pop and reflecting light into your eyes helps with that immensely. But when we can’t do it, we can always resort to post production, so all is not lost. We also try to make everyone comfortable, repositioning if necessary, and using diffusers, deflectors, and panels. These can help quite a bit! However, the most important tool we have is patience. You just can’t rush teary eyes! And never worry about red eyes, we can fix that in post too!
Featured: Blue-eyed boy, Glenn Boutchie, Branch Manager of the newly opened First Ipswich Bank in Danvers, poses for his retake…in the shade.