Skip to main content

Eye Direction

Lesson 11 from: Powerful Portraits using Body Language and Lighting

Stacy Pearsall

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

11. Eye Direction

Next Lesson: Facial Expression


Lesson Info

Eye Direction

Alright everybody, eye contact. I'm only kidding, you guys aren't, she's like no, no eye contact. (audience laughs) Eyes, each and every one of us when we're trying to talk to somebody we'll try and make eye contact. Well hey, I'm talking to you. Eyes are right here. Talking to you. Talking to you. Eye contact, eye contact. This shows that we're engaged with one another and I'm talking to you. I'm not talking to you, stop looking at me. Talk to you, no I'm just kidding. But we communicate that way. But our eyes and how we direct our eyes can be very, very revealing. Who have I not called on yet? Come on up, oh yes, it's happening. (audience laughs) I am Stacy. Rick, Rick. Rick, you were having a hard time getting' that one out. Have a seat right here. Thank you. Rick, I'm gonna stand right here. Actually I'm gonna sit right next to you. How's that sound? Hopefully my leg doesn't go to sleep. I'm gonna get in like starters position. Ready to pounce. I'm only kidding. Rick, where...

are you from? France at the moment, but originally the UK. Okay, great. Alright everybody, we're gonna scrutinize him (audience laughs) in a very loving and thoughtful way. I'm gonna have a conversation with you, so just relax, take a nice deep breath. Don't over think it. But what I want everyone to do is just focus on the face and eye direction okay, as we dialogue okay? You're from the UK, is that correct? That's right yeah. What part? Originally Swindon which is close-ish to London, but mostly the southwest. I do love beer in the UK. My favorite was Caffrey's, which I think is actually Irish. Is that right? That's Irish. Oh, what's your favorite beer? IPA from Seattle. Oh my gosh, okay. (audience laughs) Good answer! (laughing) Okay, so what brought you here from France? Southwest, Toulouse area. It's kind of a wine-growing region called Caroir. Do you drink wine? Mm, just a little. Oh yeah (laughing). All right. Couple of things. So when I asked him about the UK, which direction did his eyes go? The side. Which side though? Oh. To our right, his left? Yes, to the left. And then it went over to the right for a second? Mm-hmm. What about that last question when I asked him about the wine? Did you notice that? He looked down. You guys got to pay more attention. (audience laughs) We are going to make you astute observers. (audience laughs) He looked to his right. Now, I'm gonna thank you very, very much for participating and I'm gonna explain exactly what I'm talking about. You're more than welcome to get right back in your chair. You're off the hot seat, my friend. Thank you so much. When somebody makes direct eye contact, that is absolute engagement. That means you have my full attention, I respect what you have to say, and I'm gonna hear you out. By reciprocating, you're saying the same in exchange. It can mean that you're interested, it can show a sign of affection. So when I make eye contact with that beautiful boy right over there, such a good boy! I am saying basically I love you so much. Good boy! Okay, but I do that with my husband too. (audience laughs) But eye contact can also be dominance. What do we do with our kids when they're acting out of line? My mom, she used to be like. That's when I would divert my eyes (laughing). (audience laughs) I don't see it now, gr! 'Cause a sideways glance means that you're checking for a source of distraction, say something pinged over here. But okay, but most times, it has a sort of, I'm gonna avert my eyes 'cause I feel very, very uncomfortable, like oh no, she's looking at me. She doesn't see me. If I don't see her, she doesn't see me. If I don't see her, she doesn't see me. That can be threatened, right? You feel threatened. Let's talk about direction of eye contact. Thank you so much for participating. Now, when we talked about your country of origin, I asked, "You're from the UK, is that correct?" Your eyes went left, your eyes went to your left. Viewers, right? That essentially means that you're recalling information from your data bank. You're doing fact checking, so to speak, so you're like, well, let me check my memory bank. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm from the UK. That's very true. It's something that is already in our minds and our memories. Now, you had a little bit of an evasion moment when I asked you if you consumed wine. (audience laughs) Your eyes very momentarily flicked up and to the right, which means that you're feeling a little evasive about answering that, which some psychologists in what I've been reading have said that when somebody looks up and to the right, they may be formulating a non-truth, or avoid telling the truth, or are telling an outward lie, but there's also other more indications with all body language that helps one know, and I think once anxiety levels that are manifested through hands, and arms, and feet are a lot more telling than just eye movement because most importantly, when somebody's imaging something in their mind's eye, their eyes are kind of looking right. So for her, it would be as if I was saying imagine a zebra and a donkey cross. And so she's gonna be like, imaging that in her mind's eye, looking to, looking up and to the right or down into the right, imagining what that looks like. How we can use this in portrait sessions is just as I did with you in that little exercise. Known facts that I know to be true, and then presenting you with information that would ask you to manifest an image in your mind's eye. That make sense? So if we want these expressions like this gal who's going into her memory bank, I was like, "So what was it like "to be a Marine in the '80s?" And she's like (laughing), she was going back to that memory. Whether it was a fond one, I don't know, but judging by her number 16 smile on the 18 scale, pretty close. Last, closing one's eyes. Closing one's eyes in ecstasy, closing one's eyes and just trying to block it out, I'm not seeing this right now, I'm not seeing this. What do we do when somebody tells you an absolutely horrendous story? You're like, oh, oh. We close our eyes because we think that by closing our eyes, we're gonna shut the emotions off. It's directly linked. Our head and our hearts are linked. Interesting, right? So when somebody closes their eyes to you, think about what the context of that conversation is. In this particular situation, we were talking about his experiences in combat and having lost friends, so he was closing his eyes to that emotion and trying to shut it off and stop it. That was his physical manifestation of a negative emotion. Question? I did have a question that came in from Tom Lacrostro who say, "What does it mean when you look straight up?" So we talked about to the left and to the right. He said, "I have caught myself doing that instead of "to the left when trying to recall information." Right, well I mean, obviously he answered that question for himself, that if you're, kind of, I do that too where I'm kind of like, visualize it, between visualizing something and (mumbles) as a memory sometimes, well, I will walked back between up and left, and up and right, and down, and I'll be like, but my brain's all over the place, so there's not a hard, fast rule. I mean, if you're drifting a little bit, then you're maybe going from pulling information to manifesting that in a visual sense and then drawing that forward, and maybe you're being evasive all at the same time. (woman laughs) It's very, very complex. Thank you. Okay. Does anybody else in the room have a question about head tilting and eye contact? Oh, oh, one? Yep? So I noticed recently that I rested my head, but I think it's just natural for me (laughing). Does it mean anything or is it just my body tilting (laughing)? Everything about your body language says you're an open book and that you're totally cool with anybody approaching you, and that you're a very friendly, probably somewhat sociable if not quiet in a social setting. We are gonna talk about energy levels and for me, you're a positive flow. That's not a bad thing, that's actually a very good thing. Kenna is a positive low as well and she's super.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Gear List

Bonus Materials with Purchase

The Foundations of Light (PDF)
The Accents of Light (PDF)

Ratings and Reviews

Julie V

I had the chance to sit in the audience and absolutely loved this class! First of all, Stacy is very funny and is really good at explaining and showing examples of the body language. I loved learning about how to read people faces and body to know more about them. And recommended the class to my husband who is a therapist for this reason. The other part of the class was so awakening, I never really thought about how having the wrong lighting for someone's personality would bring something off on the picture. Once again, Stacy was amazing at explaining why this lighting would work with one person and not another by showing us examples. If you want to bring your subject personality into life on photos, I highly recommend this class!

a Creativelive Student

This class is amazing! Stacy is an awesome person and listening to her teach and review the class concepts was so easy and fun and entertaining! It is jam packed with information on how to connect with talent and clients. Plus you get to see Stacy in action with subjects in the Demo and Shoot videos. I highly recommend this class! I learned so much and feel so much more comfortable and confident working with a variety of people now.

Jovi Jhash

wow, what an amazing class to learn from. you covered all from body language to storytelling and to reveal almost the true souls of the subjects through portraits. Amazing work and thank you so much, Stacy and creative live team. Stay blessed

Student Work