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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Previous comments

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 :-)

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.

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.

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.

Right handed; left eye dominant.

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)

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.

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

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!

Robert Peres's picture

left / left

Solid right handed, and also very solid LEFT eyed for photography.

Sam David's picture

I have lived 72 years with a defective right eye, but am almost incapacitated when forced to use my left hand. I have always looked through the viewfinder with my left eye. The only challenge I find is that my nose occasionally moves the focus point button on my advanced Nikons. I do find using a rifle an impossibility as the one time I tried I discovered I have to lean over the barrel to use the gun sight, and the recoil almost broke my shoulder!

I get that with the Nikon focus point too Sam. I've resorted to keeping it locked in the centre and reframing my shot after focusing on my point-of-interest.

Right handed but left eye dominant.

David Bolender's picture

I've always been right handed/right eye dominant, but since I've developed a cataract in my right eye, I've been forced to switch to the left eye. Not a huge problem once I got into the habit of first going to my left eye instead of trying to focus with a cloudy right eye.

Peter Gargiulo's picture

I am left-handed and probably left-eye dominant. However, using the left eye means my nose gets in the way of the controls. So, after some time, I switched over to the right eye. No biggie.

Wouter du Toit's picture

Great to know. I'm left-handed with my left eye the dominant one. I thought only left-handed people had the screen fog up because of the breathing (that's why I don't shoot with range-finder cameras). Now I know it's not just me.

Michael B. Stuart's picture

I think a lot of people are realizing they aren't alone here Wouter du Toit!

James Kent's picture

Ive done it 30 times throughout the day. It switches back and forth. Right hand right eye for photography though

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