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When photographing portraits having shaded half of the model's face (for example having him/her stand close to a window casting light on one side of their face) it's almost unavoidable to not capturing the model with different sized pupils. Is there a trick dealing with this?

The problem can partly be solved by having the model close the eyes and take the shot just when they open them again. Another is of course to use flash. Is there anything obvious (or less obvious) that solves this problem other than these methods?

Clarification: Of course you can enlarge/shrink a pupil in post production, but I'm looking for a technique that don't require any post production.

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As you mentioned, flash works well, using low-power modeling lights to get the desired lighting ratio.

The most "desirable" images of people and animals have dilated pupils, which we see as attractive. Contracted pupils indicate anger. High-speed flash is faster than the contraction reflex. You can experiment with flash sync if there is much ambient illumination, see http://www.scantips.com/lights/flashbasics5.html.

Of course, the more dilated the pupil, the greater the risk of red-eye, so keep the flash well separated from the lens to avoid retroreflection.

As mentioned above, in ancient times, belladonna extract was used to make women appear more attractive (it's used today in the form of atropine for ophthalmological examination). It is not recommended for casual photographic use, though.

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If you don't care for dilated pupil, that might make people look more friendly, you can always expose both eyes to strong light, since the pupils take longer to relax than to contract, when one eye is shaded the pupil will still have almost the same size.

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Post production maybe? If there is a annoying difference and you spot it after taking the photo, you can Photoshop it.

If you want to make it in studio, maybe triggering the in-camera flash just before taking the picture will make both eyes to get about the same amount of light and the pupils should shrink to a similar size.

  • Of course you can do that, but I'm looking for a technique that's not requiring post production. I've edited the question accordingly. – Hugo Mar 12 '15 at 13:23
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The scenario you describe is not possible. Nothing is required to make them the same size because the pupils of neurologically intact individuals respond to light together, regardless of whether the lighting is the same or different across both eyes.

  • A slight difference in size can be expected normally. If this is the case, they are likely always like that in that person. It's like having hands or feet that are a bit different from each other.
  • If there is a difference in pupil response between eyes in a person, there may be something neurologically wrong. When doctors shine a light in one eye, they check for a response in both eyes. The change in size is in response to the average luminance across both eyes.
  • There may be illusory or perspective effects causing the pupils to appear differently sized. Editing photos to alter them would make them appear unnatural.

From Wikipedia: Pupillary Light Reflex:

Under normal conditions, the pupils of both eyes respond identically to a light stimulus, regardless of which eye is being stimulated. Light entering one eye produces a constriction of the pupil of that eye, the direct response, as well as a constriction of the pupil of the unstimulated eye, the consensual response. Comparing these two responses in both eyes is helpful in locating a lesion.

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