Right Handed Photographers Using Their Left Eye

Right Handed Photographers Using Their Left Eye

Recently a member of the Fstoppers Facebook group posted a confession with a simple question: Who else uses their left eye to look through the camera's viewfinder? I was shocked by the results.

Eye dominance is a thing we don't often think about. The dominant eye leads and creates the majority of visual input that is sent to the brain for processing. Many people associate their dominant eye with associated handedness, but the two do not go hand in hand.

In fact, while right-handed people outnumber left-handed humans by about ten to one, right-eyed people only account for roughly 70% of the population.

Thinking about which eye is dominant doesn't come up very often until you are using something with a single optic to look through. This narrows real-world situations down to peepholes, gun sights, telescopes, and of course cameras using viewfinders. I cannot fathom actually using my left eye as the go to. That being said, I'm also terrible at attempting to throw a ball left handed so I must be wired somewhat one-sided.

Well, much to my surprise, many of the users commenting shared that they also used their left eye to look through the viewfinder. Could it be that like many artistic type people being more commonly left-handed, many photographers are actually left-eyed? I'm not convinced but Fstoppers Facebook group member Joshua Pulido Enriquez certainly found out he was not alone.

So what eye do you use? Could you switch between them with ease? Let us know in the comments.

Camera one, camera two, camera one, camera two - Wayne's World

To find which eye is your dominant, check out this video from allaboutvision.com:

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Jay Altman's picture

So glad to see this. I thought I was one of the few oddballs out there. I'm right handed but left eye dominant. I never even realized it until I was in the Army having trouble qualifying on the rifle range and one of the instructors did a quick test and had me switch eyes while shooting. It's very awkward. I had been an amateur photographer for years before that and never even noticed beyond the constant nose grease on the back of my camera, lol

Scott Edwards's picture

Interesting... and I don't have to take the test. An old school chalkboard eraser with a heavy wooden handle (back in the day) was thrown at me by a "pal" in class. When he realized he was going to hit me in the head, he shouted my name. I turned to see why he was calling and then, just perfectly, the erasure, thrown like about like a tennis ball, struck me solid and hard on my right eye. I fell instantly with a piercing pain as everyone stood in fear trying to figure out how to help me. Long story short - I was hospitalized for seven days, wore an eye patch for four months, was almost operated on but a "miracle seems to have happened" (according to the specialist) and somehow (through the prayers of many?) my site was largely restored. But I have a nasty internal scar and an inability to singularly focus the eye for more than five minutes without pain. So, my left eye and right hand dominate my world.

Morale of the story: One's simple eyesight is so overlooked. Photographers, videographers and people at large... protect your eyes, appreciate your eyes and use your eyes to make the world even brighter and more incredible.

Jen Photographs's picture

Left-handed, left-eyed dominant.

I'm not sure it's an art/brain thing, or because my left eye is stronger/sharper. When I'm reading a book while being really tired, sometimes I'll do the "shut one eye to rest it and read with the other" and my right eye tends to be the one that needs more rest.

Or maybe I'm just weird.

Adam Peariso's picture

I alternate. One eye is 20/15 and the other 20/20. Not sure if that's why I alternate.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Left eye, right hand

Caleb Kerr's picture

Right handed, left eyes.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Both? :)

JetCity Ninja's picture

rt/rt, but I've been using my left eye more for photography as I get older and slowly the sight in my rt eye has been degrading. I still shoot (guns) rt eye dominant, however.

David P's picture

Right handed but have always used my left eye.

Matt Kosterman's picture

Right handed, left eye. For the first ten years or so of photographing as a hobby I used my right eye. Read an article about eye dominance, realized my left was better, switched and my work improved immediately! I can hardly use my right eye any more for shooting.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

Now that is interesting! I never thought of one being actually better at seeing so preferable.

Peter Harkins's picture

Curiously, I am right hand dominant, right eye dominant, but since I've started taking photos I've held my eye to my left eye. Now I suppose it's a force of habit.

André Meyer-Vitali's picture

Same here: right-handed and left-eyed. Not a surprise for me, though. Therefore, I cannot use a Leica or other range finder camera.

Piotr Maksymowicz's picture

right eye and ... left handed :)

Alex Cooke's picture

Ambidextrous, but I shoot with my right hand because of how cameras are designed, and I'm left-eye dominant. In other words, there's a permanent nose smudge on my LCD.

Michael Purcell's picture

Anecdotal observation.. While working in camera stores for way too many years, I noticed that about 10 percent of men were left eye dominant, not necessarily left handed. I also notice that about 20-25 percent of the women who came to the counter were left eye dominant, more equated to left handedness. I thought about doing real research on this, but I'd had enough of that in school .

Ali Akbar's picture

left eye, right hand ( for writing, eating and scratching the scratchables), dominant left hand (for everything else)

Mike Clare's picture

I'm another right hand dominant, left eye to the camera person. I sight a handgun with my left eye, but can comfortably sight a rifle with my right eye.

Stephanie Sabourin's picture

That is interesting. I am left eye dominant when sighting a gun as well.

james feldman's picture

RH/LE. Permanent noseprint on rear screen. What's crazier is that my right eye perceives slightly warmer whites than my left one.

Anonymous's picture

What is this madness?!

Michael Yearout's picture

I mostly use my right eye and am right handed. However, I shoot in situations that sometimes prevent the use of my right eye and I switch to my left eye. Doesn't seem to affect me whichever eye I use. Hadn't really thought about it.

Bjarne Solvik's picture

I use left eye but right hand. I do think I am borne left-handed and trained to use right hand. I expected it related, left handed and left eye.

Julie Blichmann's picture

Well...technically I am right-handed/right-eye dominant, but after having PRK surgery to correct my vision, I HAVE to use my left eye! Why? Because I was given mono-vision, so my left eye is for distance and right eye for reading. I'm not terribly comfortable holding my camera to my left eye. It doesn't feel natural! Probably why I tend to use my LCD screen!

Arnold Chalm's picture

Another right-handed, left-eye dominant shooter here!

Looking through the viewfinder with my right eye feels incredibly uncomfortable and awkward for me.

Simon Patterson's picture

This can be an issue in basketball, too, where say a right hander is so left-eye dominant that they end up with a weird basketball shooting style as they align their hands that hold the ball with their dominant eye. Lonzo Ball of the LA Lakers is an extreme case. So it can affect any kind of shooting.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

As a fan of the game that is an interesting point I've never thought of. Thanks for the comment.

Stephanie Sabourin's picture

I am glad to see I have so much company! I have always been left eye dominant and i suspect I al a little more ambidexterous than the average person. It stay make shooting a bit awlward at time as the nose is in the way.

Dan Howell's picture

right handed and right eye dominant but as the years have gone by i feel like I have weaken my right eye from over exertion and now am perfectly comfortable shooting with either left or right eye. Or to say it differently, in the morning of a shoot day I will take the camera automatically to the right eye, but as the day goes on I switch between them depending on position or fatigue.

Ben Cat's picture

Mostly right hand, strong left eye. Consequently I much prefer SLR-style cameras with a centered viewfinder where I can generally keep my nose off the screen. I have been peering through a viewfinder for so many years that it has made my left eye shortsighted while my right eye remains normal. As I have aged and my eyes take longer to recover from close focusing I have come to use the rear screen whenever possible.

I don't understand the dominant eye tests. The distance object always jumps left or right depending on which eye is closed. It never stays in the center.

Elias Kamaratos's picture

For the eye-dominance test Ben, you mustn't close either eye... have them both open trying to focus on the distant object. Instead of closing each eye bring you your hands slowly towards your face. The gap that is formed between your fingers should instinctively go to your dominant eye. Important!!! Don't think about it when you are trying it because you could influence the outcome :-)

Radrian Glez's picture

This happens to me as well, I'm right handed but I do many other things with my left hand, but in my case I use glasses for myopia and astigmatism, both in each eyes, since you mentioned you have a refractive error in your left eye, i can't help but wonder if that is related to the object moving sides when closing an eye.

Peter Mueller's picture

One of Joe McNally's books turned me onto left-eye view-finding (I'm a righty)... for the additional support/stability in hand-holding camera. Use it about 50/50 depending on the situation. It does help however in certain situations.

michael buehrle's picture

i use both eyes. if i shoot horizontal i use my left eye and vertical i use my right eye. i'm right handed. i think i like my left eye because i always keep both eyes open when i shoot and i can see more like that.

Deleted Account's picture

Count me in the collection of those who are a right-hander but uses the left eye, but my eye doctor insists I'm right eye dominant. I tried using my right eye for photography, but it just feels weird and I switch back.

Zac Henderson's picture

Right handed and right-eye dominant, but I've found it much easier using my left eye. If I use my right, I have to close my left eye, which I don't like. Causes strain and opening it afterwards after a shoot makes for blurred vision.

If I use my left eye, I can keep my right eye open which leads to less eye strain and feels more natural.

Mark Holtze's picture

This is interesting, I'm totally right handed and shoot with my left eye. If I'm "shooting rifle" (I don't but when I play good guys and bad guys) I aim right, but shoot photography left.


Ignace Maenhaut van Lemberge's picture

If you aim right you're a good shooter..

Mark Holtze's picture

Oh ya, I just did the gesture and remember why now lol. Left aim needs left eye just how things line up.

misha marinsky's picture

Right handed; left eye dominant.

Alan Eicoff's picture

Left eye though right handed

Petri Pihlaja's picture

I sometimes alter which eye I use, but I think there's a pro for using the right eye. The reason is, that you can keep your left eye open and see what's happening around, not only what's in your view finder. The other way around you don't really see much because the camera obstructs your view.

Especially while photographing birds I tend to open my left eye as well to see where the subject is. With some practice, you can also kind of see the selected focus point in your "left eye vision", so you can find the subject, close the left eye to see the view finder sharply and proceed to take the shots.

That being said, I mostly use my right eye, but sometimes because of a cold breeze for example my eye will get dry and I'll have to switch for a while. :P

Edit: Well, it seems I'm left eye dominant according to the test (and right handed)

Ignace Maenhaut van Lemberge's picture

Left eyed, right handed and +1 for the smudge on my LCD..
Ooh.. and a happy rangefinder user!

Konrad Sarnowski's picture

I don't have a choice - using my left eye, as the other one is useless (apart from detecting UV light :D)

David Faulkner's picture

LH/LE. I also compose 'left-handed', in that implied motion in my photos is often going from right to left, not left to right - just as I naturally file my books, CDs, and DVDs right to left.

Owain Shaw's picture

I'm right handed but I've always (been doing so for about 12 years) used the viewfinder with my left eye for unknown reasons. I did the triangle test from the video and found the result to be inconclusive, so I tried the alternate test and it appears that I am in fact right eye dominant - but perhaps with a lesser degree of dominance as the article says is a possibility. I'll have to try using my camera with my right eye and see if I notice any differences.

Elias Kamaratos's picture

As an archer and an archery coach determining my athletes' hand and eye dominance is very important in teaching them proper technique. Often a RH archer who is left-eye-dominant will have to wear a pirate's patch over the left eye in order to train his/her right eye for archery (and vice versa of course).

I am right handed AND right-eye-dominant when I shoot my bow but have found that when shooting with my camera I instinctively go to the LEFT EYE. I believe it is because I have a sense of better stability when my left elbow rests firmly against my chest and my left hand supports the underside of lens. As with archery, I photograph with the left foot protracted towards the... "target" and twisting my waist to achieve this also helps to stabilise my upper body.

Try it and let us know what you think.

P.S.: It would be interesting to conduct an experiment to see if the eye different photographers use has an effect on the lowest shutter speed they can use without visible camera shake.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

That pirate patch part is funny but I guess it makes sense. How long does it seem to take? Thanks Elias

Elias Kamaratos's picture

It depends on the archer Michael... for some it might take a couple of months or so of intensive training to start shooting without. For others they are stuck with having to use it every time they pick up a bow.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I told you we were on to something here! Seeing a lot of left-eye users. Keep the comments coming. Thanks guys!

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