Try Shooting Photos With Both Eyes Open for Better Results

Think about what you do when you take a photo. Do you press one eye to the viewfinder and shut the other eye? While that seems to be the natural thing for most of us to do, it turns out that keeping the other eye open may yield some interesting benefits.

I think it's natural to close one's other eye when a camera is brought to one's face; after all, it's a hulking chunk of metal, and we're generally hardwired to close our eyes when things get uncomfortably close to them. Plus, we feel like we're somehow focusing on what's in the viewfinder more by doing so. Nonetheless, as this helpful video from David Bergman shows, there's something to be said for keeping one's non-viewfinder eye open. I started doing this a few years ago and have found it has vastly improved my ability to anticipate action outside the frame, increasing the amount of time I have to react and making it easier to get the shot I want. As an added bonus, I've found that it's easier to maintain my balance when rotating my body to pan with a subject or some similar motion. Give it a try!

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13 Comments

Spy Black's picture

As someone who's shot with one eye closed for almost 45 years, this would not work well. However I can see it working for someone just starting out and working a modus operandi of their gear.

Dan Howell's picture

As a shooter of nearly as long I can't agree with your assessment. I frequently open my non shooting eye or keep both eyes open for extended times. One advantage is to keep both eyes dialated at somewhat the same amount. I can time images that require motion coming into the frame. And more basically I can see if anyone is moving around me. This has also been useful as I can monitor motion coming behind me in the reflection of the LCD.

For the past year I have also been relieving strain on my right eye during long shoots by shooting with my left eye. Probably for a variety of reasons, shooting with my cross dominate eye has become more comfortable than it once was.

Spy Black's picture

Well ultimately it's an individual taste. It certainly doesn't work for me.

Jacob Colmenero's picture

I actually shoot with both eyes closed.

Spy Black's picture

We're not impressed...

I found out that opennng the other eye allows me to be better aware of the scene, however I do frame better when I close one. So... like many other things, it's not a black or white rule, I do both ;)

Kirk Darling's picture

I usually keep the other eye open when taking portraits off-tripod (although I most often use a tripod). I try do maintain as much direct contact with my subjects as possible. In fact, most of my "looking" is with that eye--the eye in the camera is just maintaining framing.

It makes sense looking through the viewfinder with your left eye to open your right eye :-) !?

Nick Viton's picture

Yeah, I'm a left eye shooter. As such, this doesn't work so well for me.
Think about it...

Alex Cooke's picture

Works fine for me!

Nick Viton's picture

You must be right eye dominant then. Lucky!
However, if you're shooting left eye dominant, your right eye is open to see what exactly? A closeup of the back of your camera? Your thumb? Not sure how that works. Kindly elaborate.

Jacob Colmenero's picture

Is this how you all look?