Step into the mesmerizing world of eye photography, where intricate details, unique lines, and captivating spectrums of color converge to create stunning visual narratives. Within the realm of macro photography, few subjects hold as much allure as the human eye.

It serves as a rich canvas that beckons photographers of all levels, offering a captivating journey of discovery and skill-building. From the labyrinthine intricacies of the iris to the artful nuances of capturing its essence, the path of eye photography is both enchanting and challenging.

As beginners embark on this artistic expedition, they often find themselves grappling with a myriad of considerations, uncertain of where to begin. Fear not, for within these pages, we shall unravel the secrets, guide you through the techniques, and kindle your passion for eye photography, leaving you equipped and inspired to capture the essence of this remarkable subject.

So, join us as we embark on this visual odyssey and unlock the wonders that lie within the captivating realm of eye photography.

Key Takeaways:

  • To capture excellent eye photographs, consider using a macro lens with a focal length of at least 100mm to maintain sharp focus on intricate details like the iris.
  • If a macro lens is not affordable, you can explore cheaper alternatives such as lens reversing rings, macro bellows, or extension tubes, which can provide macro functionality with your existing lens.
  • Enhance your eye photography with camera accessories like tripods to minimize movement, IR shutter release for hands-free activation of the shutter, flash accessories for improved lighting, and mirrors for framing self-portraits.
  • When taking eye photographs, carefully select the focal point of interest and pay attention to lighting. Catch lights, produced by continuous light sources like ring lighting or natural lighting, add a captivating touch to close-up eye images.
  • Proper lighting is crucial for eye photography. Avoid casting shadows on the eye by using a tripod and positioning the light source strategically. Getting closer to the eye while maintaining focus is facilitated by using a macro lens.
  • Adjust ISO settings based on the lighting conditions to minimize noise and maximize image quality. In well-lit environments, set ISO to 100, while darker environments may require higher ISO values.
  • Select an appropriate shutter speed to prevent unwanted blur. Beginners can use the aperture priority setting, while manual control should ensure a speed not lower than 1/60th of a second to capture sharp details in the iris.
  • Choose an appropriate aperture setting for a shallow depth of field, but avoid extremely narrow options like f/18, as they may hinder capturing crisp iris shots. Opt for more narrow options like f/11 or f/8.
  • While smartphone cameras may not match dedicated setups, they can still produce decent eye photographs. Utilize the macro and eye mode settings on your smartphone and consider using a macro attachment for more consistent close-up shots.

How to take a picture of your eye

Camera settings, shutter speed, depth of field, finding the right macro lens, focus, the list goes on. The tips in this article are designed to take the stress out of eye photography and help you take an excellent eye photograph every time. From lens considerations to lining up the perfect shot, we’ve got you covered.

how to take a picture of eye featured image

Consider a Macro Lens

Make sure you’re using a lens that can maintain a sharp focus at a short distance. The fine details of features such as the iris can get lost very easily in a blurry photograph. Your best option for this kind of picture is a macro lens. Make sure you’re using a focal length of at least 100mm.

This will give you the flexibility necessary for getting a great eye picture. If you’d like to learn more about macro photography, our website is full of helpful content with tips for getting started!

Cheaper Alternatives to Macro Lenses

If you’re looking to take stunning eye photos but are still a beginner, it might not be cost-effective for you to splash out on a brand new lens. Some accessories can help you “cheat” your zoom and focus while still producing excellent photos. You can capture the beauty of the iris without breaking the bank.

Your options include:

  • Lens reversing rings
  • Macro bellows
  • Extension tubes

All of these can be attached to a regular lens and will give you macro functionality at a fraction of the cost! It’s worth keeping in mind, that some of these solutions are more sensitive to light and may produce a photo with lower image quality. They can also make adjusting your focus less convenient.

However, if you want to use your existing camera to take great pictures of eyes, these accessories can save you plenty of money in the process.

close up photograph of eye with reflection of background and photographer

Photo by wendel moretti from Pexels

Other Gear to Consider

Here are some other camera accessories that make it much easier to take a great macro eye picture:

  • Tripods: Eyes move around – a lot. The more movement you can eliminate, the better your macro photography will be. If you hold the camera for your pictures, both you and your subject will be moving! Use a tripod if you want a great iris / eye photograph.
  • IR shutter release: This will be especially helpful if you’re taking a macro image of your own eye or eyes. You’ll be able to activate the shutter without touching your camera. You can keep your hand away from your setup and focus on staying still for the photo.
  • Flash accessories: These can improve your lighting situation a great deal. As you’re taking photos of an eye, you’ll have to be careful to prep your model so that they don’t blink and ruin the shot. If you keep them on a lower setting, using these light accessories can really boost the results in your images.
  • A mirror: If you need to get an image of your own eyes, using a mirror may help. If your camera doesn’t have a reversible viewfinder, then using a mirror is a good way to frame your eyes for each image.

Camera settings and tips to take a picture of your eye

So you’ve gathered the best gear for the job. Now it’s time to take the picture! Ask your subject to look at a fixed point either on your macro lens or elsewhere.

Decide which part of the eye you’d like to capture with your camera. Does the color of the iris grab your attention, or does the light fall somewhere else that you could use for your photograph?

Make sure you look closely at each detail to choose the best part of the eye for your shot.

To take your eye photograph to the next level, you may want to use an artificial light source.

Something you see in a lot of eye photography is a catch light. This is the small white spot you often see in close-up images of eyes. They’re usually caused by a continuous light source from ring lighting accessories or good natural lighting.

Use proper lighting

You need to get your lighting right when getting close and personal to the eyes with a camera.

Avoid a setup that will cast a shadow on the eye. Using a tripod will hold your camera still and give you one less thing to think about. If you’re constantly moving your camera by hand, there’s a good chance you’ll cast a shadow without noticing.

One of the most common mistakes in eye photography is not getting close enough to the eye itself. This is why it’s best to use a macro lens. Using a lens like this with your camera allows you to get much closer to the eye without losing focus.

Get familiar with the zoom settings of your camera as this will help you fine-tune your position for the perfect eye photograph. Turn off the flash setting on your camera, as this will make the eyes blink and ruin your shot. Get a ring light and keep it on the lowest setting if you need to improve your lighting.


This is an often-overlooked setting that is actually very important if you want to get a good image of your eyes. For a crisp, sharp image of your eyes, it’s important to set the ISO correctly. When capturing an image in a bright location, set the ISO to 100 to reduce the amount of “noise” you’ll have to deal with.

The darker your environment, the higher your ISO will have to be. Try not to use a setting higher than 800, as this can affect your image quality. In general dark environments are best avoided, as the colors in the iris get lost without enough light. The pupil also constricts in lower light which might not be what you’re after for your pictures.

Shutter Speed

While it’s not the most important consideration when shooting images of eyes, many beginners don’t use the right setting. If you’re a beginner who’s overwhelmed by the prep required for setting up each image, turn on the aperture priority setting and let your camera do the work for you.

If you want to set the speed manually, don’t go below 1/60th of a second. This would bring a lot of unwanted blur to your image. As the iris is full of detailed lines and shapes, even the tiniest amount of blur can ruin otherwise excellent images. If your automatic settings are going lower than 1/60, use a brighter light source.


Shooting phenomenal images of eyes means getting up close and personal to your subject. Getting this close involves a much smaller depth of field. Taking great images every time means using the right aperture setting.

The shallow depth that comes with f/18 is something you should avoid. It will make it difficult to achieve the crisp iris shots you’re looking for. Use a more narrow option such as f/11 or f/8 to make your life easier.

Can You Use a Smartphone Camera?

While shooting eyes with a smartphone doesn’t come close to a dedicated setup, you can definitely produce an eye photo that doesn’t look half bad! Your smartphone should have its own “macro” settings. If you’re lucky, it may even have its own “eye mode” to make it easier to capture close-up pictures.

You’ll need to consider a macro attachment for your phone if you need to regularly get close to your subject. Phone photography has come a long way in the past few years. A good camera from several years ago can be outpaced by a phone in some contexts!

With these things in mind, check out this very helpful video on how to take a photo of your eye:



As we conclude our journey through the captivating realm of eye photography, we are reminded of the adage that practice makes perfect. A stunning macro image of an iris is the crowning achievement for any photographer, and it is only through persistence and unwavering dedication that such mastery is attained. The greatest photographers in the world understand the value of relentless practice, for it is through repeated attempts that they refine their skills and push the boundaries of their art.

Amidst the wealth of knowledge shared within this article, we leave you with one final piece of advice: remember to allow ample time for rest between shots. The eyes, delicate and sensitive, deserve tender care. The last thing we want is for the brilliance of the iris to be overshadowed by redness or discomfort. Give yourself or your model the space they need to recharge, ensuring that every shot is a testament to the beauty and serenity of the subject.

At this website, our mission is to make photography accessible to all, even those taking their first steps into this wondrous world. We aim to empower beginners and instill confidence in their ability to capture remarkable images. If you have any questions or suggestions for future content, we warmly encourage you to reach out to us. Your feedback fuels our commitment to serving you better.

As you venture forth, armed with newfound knowledge and an indomitable spirit, may your eye photography endeavors be filled with enchantment and discovery. Unleash your creativity, explore the depths of this art form, and let the irises be the windows to a world unseen.