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Bride has a wandering eye

Don Tod , Jan 07, 2010; 08:35 p.m.

I have a wedding coming up soon where the bride has a wandering eye ie they seem to be looking two different directions. She will look at you with one eye or the other but not both at the same time. How should I be shooting images of her? Any suggestions for minimizing look of the the wandering eye?


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David Haas , Jan 07, 2010; 08:56 p.m.

Don -

My response may seem kind of like a non-response - but here goes:

I'd suggest talking to the bride and groom about it. Find out how they want it shown / handled. Certainly they are aware of the condition and will probably have ideas on how they want it handled.

My guess is that they would consider it like any other physical feature and not want anything special or different done to cover, hide or change it. And unless they specifically ask for something - I would not just assume that they want it minimized, covered or hidden.


Bilal Mirza , Jan 07, 2010; 08:57 p.m.

I feel like such an A-hole... but this question actually made me laugh.
Seriously.. I think after a little while you may get a good idea of how her optics work. If you truly do get confused, just say "OK, look off into the distance towards the window" so that it seems like you're directing rather than mocking.
She no doubt has some sort of insecurity about this issue, and will probably prefer to be shot from a specific angle.

Good luck!

John Tonai , Jan 07, 2010; 09:09 p.m.

I agree with David-find out if there is a problem before making it into one.

On a side note, she has a "lazy eye" not "wandering eye" Your title suggests a far bigger problem.

David Haas , Jan 07, 2010; 09:21 p.m.

She no doubt has some sort of insecurity about this issue,

I know (and work) with a few people who have a "lazy" eye. None of them are insecure in any way, shape or form because of it. In fact the only people who are insecure are people that don't have that condition...


Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Jan 07, 2010; 09:21 p.m.

Actually lazy eye is not the same as wandering eye. The former is amblyopia--the inability to see detail. The latter is strabismus, where the eyes are not aligned. The eye that doesn't align can develop amblyopia. But the conditions are not the same.

I've only photographed a bride or groom with wandering eye twice. Each time, I've noticed that the best angle is when the face is turned, and the eye that doesn't 'behave' is toward the back. I don't know if this is because it makes that eye work harder to focus or what. I've also, when I had the time, instructed the subject to focus on something farther away than the camera, and to one side and then slowly work toward the camera. Sometimes the best thing is to not have them look directly at the camera--it is less noticeable that the eyes are not perfectly aligned. I think you just have to work with the subject a little until you find the best angles and methods, particularly since there are different kinds of strabismus.

You might also ask the person. Sometimes they know what they need to do to get them looking the best. In both cases above, the subject told me before I even began shooting.

Theresa Skutt , Jan 07, 2010; 09:35 p.m.

Candids & profile shots?

RT Jones , Jan 07, 2010; 09:41 p.m.

Well, I don't agree with those who say to inquire further about it. Just ignore this and shoot her the same way you would any other bride. Everybody that cares about her knows what she looks like.

Sometimes when you try to cover things up it only draws attention to the very thing you are trying to hide. Trust me - if this bothered her she would bring it up herself.

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Jan 07, 2010; 09:47 p.m.

RT--with some things, I'd agree with you, like moles or small facial imperfections, but I think people who have wandering eye are concerned about how they look in photos, because while you don't notice it much when you have a live, moving person in front of you, you do notice it when you are looking at a still image, particularly close up, where, for instance, a person could look very cross eyed, depending upon the severity of the condition.

One of the people I photographed had a mild case. The other, more pronouced, and both brought it to my attention before I took the first image, requesting that if I knew how to make the condition look less pronounced, I should do so.

Maria McManamey , Jan 07, 2010; 10:05 p.m.

I go w/ Nadine all the way. The nice thing is, that the "fix" for the appearance of a wandering eye is also just plain good posing for portraits. Bodies should be at an angle to the camera, not straight on anyway, so just be sure the "problem" eye is further from the camera than the good eye.
It's because we know - even if subconsciously - that they back eye is not to be in the same position as the front eye because it's not in the same plane. Therefore, any difference in their exact focus point is less disturbing to the brain, and the problem is not noticed.

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