Did you even know you had one? Do you know how to find your dominant eye?I did not realize I had a dominant eye until a discussion in a college photo class lead me to realize why this might be important.
At that time my professor asked us which eye we used through the viewfinder. I had never even thought about which eye I used, but just a quick hold of the camera up to my face and I realized which eye I used. I was using my right eye and squinting my left eye closed, because that eye was left exposed to the elements. Obviously I needed to close that eye so I could see clearly through the viewfinder. And then my professor said…plus if you photograph for a living you’ll end up with more crows feet on that side because of all the squinting. What?!?! Wrinkles?!?! No, no way am I going to be wrinkled because of always squinting my eye. So from that moment forward I trained myself to change eyes that I shoot with and focused on keeping my non-shooting eye open while I photographed (for the vanity of it all). As a left eye shooter I can mostly keep my right eye open—because the camera blocks out most of the world around me and I find it is easier to photograph that way anyway—and if I do have to close my eye to focus a bit more it doesn’t throw everything off as much because that eye is already “in the dark” anyway.
Honestly, it is truly not that important which eye you do use to photograph with. Just an interesting thought as to how we hold the camera and how that experience changes with the other eye. But what is important is knowing which of your two eyes is dominant, because that is the eye that actually should be looking through your lens. Do you know how to find your dominant eye? Read on for the quick version.
Which is your dominant eye?
I’m not actually sure if my left eye was always my dominant eye and I was shooting with my right eye just because, or if by switching the eye I used I essentially trained my left eye to be my dominant eye? But now it seems so very foreign to me to ever shoot through my right eye. I’m also left handed, so it’s not that surprising that I would shoot with the left. I’m going to assume I was always left eye dominant and was just using the wrong eye with the camera. And all of us really should be looking through the camera with our dominant eye. So to test your own dominant eye you simply make a small circle or triangle with your two hands and close it in on a slightly distant object while looking with both hands. Now don’t move anything at all and close one eye and then the other. Whichever open eye keeps the object in the center is actually your dominant eye. Crazy right?! Here’s a video on how to do that, but I still think this is wild. Now you’ll notice, perhaps, which eye you use while photographing and you can determine if that is, indeed, your dominant eye.
Want to photograph with the other eye now?
Now I don’t think you need to change everything if you are not using your dominant eye, but it is something to think about. Usually we see a bit better through our dominant eye and it connects slightly quicker to our brain for faster decision making, and you will likely get better alignment with your dominant eye so it might be important to you to focus on trying to photograph with that eye. For me, it only took a couple of weeks to get used to using my left eye all those years ago, and now I wouldn’t change a thing (wrinkles not withstanding).