“I know there’s something in the wake of your smile
I get a notion from the look in your eyes, yeah
You’ve built a love, but that love falls apart
Your little piece of heaven, turns too dark”
Roxette ‘Listen to your Heart’

From the photographs on my site, you’ll see that for the majority of my portraits and glamour images I tend to favour having the subject look at the the camera, in order to build a connection with the viewer.

This direct relationship makes the photograph almost solely about the person and how they interact with the viewer. For the most part I’m usually working on creating a certain look or feel, be that confident, seductive, sexy or sassy.

No eye contact

Flick through any fashion or lifestyle magazine and you’ll see that a lot of the images are trying to ‘tell a story’, which often involves the subjects not making eye contact with the camera – looking up, down or off into the distance.

This technique is also used extensively in nude / boudoir photography, which usually has a different mindset and treatment from glamour photography. Without direct eye contact the viewer can become an observer or voyeur, left to draw their own conclusions. Of course, as with most photography, there are no firm ‘rules’ about eye contact or the lack of it.


The direction in which the main person in the photograph is looking affects how we ‘see’ the image and the mood it conveys. Look through my example images below and decide which you prefer and why.

Think about how a photograph can convey thoughtfulness, happiness, sadness, intrigue, surprise or a special private moment. It’s something to think about for your next photoshoot.

Click on the photos to see them bigger and feel free to leave a comment or question below. Thanks very much for reading.

Eye Contact or No Eye Contact? by Paul Jones

Eye Contact or No Eye Contact? by Paul Jones

Eye Contact or No Eye Contact? by Paul Jones

Eye Contact or No Eye Contact? by Paul Jones

Eye Contact or No Eye Contact? by Paul Jones

2 Responses so far.

  1. Brian says:

    I really like the off camera gaze where a model isn’t making eye contact, but I suppose it depends on the genre of photography really. In particular I like the one of Melissa above in the last pair of images. As you say, that off-camera gaze gives it a slightly more reportage feel, and suggests a story.

    • Paul says:

      Thank you very much for taking time to comment, Brian. I totally agree. The shot of Melissa is a personal favourite. Thanks. Paul

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