A Quick Trick for Figuring Out Which of Your Eyes is Dominant

One tip that instructors often pass onto the beginning photographers is to use their dominant eye (i.e. the eye they prefer seeing with) to look through the viewfinder. If you want to find out which of your eyes is the dominant one, here’s a quick test you can do: extend your arms straight out and form a small triangle with your hands. Looking through the triangle with both eyes open, frame something nearby (e.g. a doorknob) and place it in the center of the triangle. Then close your eyes one at a time without moving the triangle — your dominant eye is the one that placed the object in the center.

Interestingly enough, many people (myself included) choose to use their right eye for their viewfinder even though the left one is dominant — likely because it’s the way they started shooting from the beginning.

(via Reddit)

  • arttyIV

    I am left eye dominant, and shoot with my left eye. I only found out recently that it’s likely because my right eye doesn’t see nearly as well. I was blown away, because I had no idea that was the case. Sure enough, close the left eye, vision is blurry. Close the right, see perfectly clear. 

  • Kevin Zehnder

    I have no dominant eye

  • Tim Topple

    Identical results for both eyes (but reflected – each eye placed the object 1/4 from their respective edge). Am i a robot?

  • Tam Nguyen Photography

    I knew my right eye was dominant, and this test confirms it. Thanks!

  • Mbenavides

    Left one dominant.. the way I see on the viewfinder also

  • Whitney Scheibel

    I am right handed, but left eye dominant.

  • arttyIV

    I am pretty sure that is definitive proof.

  • Gary Simmons

    Interesting… Right eye dominant for me, and I shoot with my right eye too.  

    I tried moving the triangle until the left eye had it centered, and that felt COMPLETELY weird.

  • Zak Henry

    An interesting thing with eye dominance is that it is often unrelated to vision quality in that eye – I am right eye dominant though but my right eye needs -1 corrective lens where my left needs nothing.

  • botheyesdominant

    you can do this for either eye and does NOT prove one eye is dominant over another.  I love petapixel but this post is worthless.

  • Spider- Man

    See I always heard to bring your hands toward your face and that will lead to your dominant eye. Cause when I do the close you eye trick the object is equidistant in the triangle…

  • Photographer in Calgary

    Right eye dominate, but I compose photos with my left eye. Weird.

  • Stephan Zielinski

    Apparently my glass eye is dominant.

  • Zak Henry

    The test is more effective if you focus on a point with hands separated and then make the triangle without breaking focus. Of course it is possible to do it with either eye, the test only determines dominance not which eye is actually working

  • Ra Riegler

    I would never have thought that such things matter. As for me it seems that I’m left eye dominant, but I would never had a thought about with which eye to shoot. I shoot with the right eye, because otherwise you can’t watch the surroundings as the camera is in your view.

  • Trishacluck

    You can just use one finger line it up with a horizontal object , as a kind my Grandfather showed me this with a telephone pole .    Then close each eye one at a time ,  one lines up the other doesn’t….  the same thing  really . 

  • Tim Topple

    i don’t know how to feel about that news.

  • Sailens

    I look through the viewfinder with my left eye. I’m right eyer dominant. YAY!

  • Kevin Dalton

    I am right eye dominate… I couldn’t even see my target with the left eye… just my hands. 

  • botheyesdominant

    proves nothing… period.

  • Jesse

    That’s because you’re a robot. Feelings are a human trait.

  • Miki

    doesn’t work!

  • Chomilie

    left eye dominant here, does not realy work with leicas, your nose is always in the midle instead of on the side

  • timo musgrove

    i thought my right eye was dominant. but looks like its my left, oh well at least it means that i can relax and use one or the other based on the position i am shooting from.

  • Spike

    i don’t have eyes. why am i “reading” this article?

  • Hellziggy

    When my eye dominance was tested for which hand I should shoot a pistol with they determined it was my right eye. Unfortunately I’m near-sighted in my right eye and couldn’t see the target with it. I had the person doing the dominance test move back another 10 feet and I came up left eye dominant. Apparently my brain automatically switches the dominance based on how far I’m looking after so many years of being near-sighted in only one eye. 

  • 9inchnail

     Do a Voight-Kampff-test do be completely sure.

  • Paul Anthony Buehler

    In psychology this (left handed/right eyed and vice-versa) is a form of what is called cross dominance, and it is often one of the first indicators in dyslexia. 

    It is also a common trait in unusually high intelligence, sports, and art skills…  ;-)

  • WetcoastBob

    I tend to use the right eye but quickly switch to the left if the light is bothering me.

    In the above test my COI was placed to both sides.  (I am also nearly ambidextrous)

  • rtfe

    cough-test works best

  • kendon

    just cause you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. while this method how to test eye dominancy isn’t exactly news, it is a proven and known fact.

  • Silje Andersen

    Same here.

  • Iris Rodriguez

    right eye dominant and right eye shooter :P

  • Townend Sami

    Mine has to be my left eye, its the only one i can see out of lol

  • Roy

    A telephone pole is a horizontal object?

  • Kevin Snow

    so what does it mean if when using your right eye it is in the center but when you use the left the door knob is not even view-able. I suppose that would be my astigmatism? 

  • Tony

    My left eye is the dominant one.

  • Xenterfold

    I am the dominant eye.

  • Justchen563

    it was off on both my right and left eye… but on the left i could still see the thing?

  • Lou Ann Warren

    I a left eye dominant.
    But does it matter if you’re using a digital camera instead of one with an actual view finder?

  • Carla Valentine Combs

    Same thing happened to me…try making the triangle smaller, then you should be able to figure it out. Worked for me anyhow!

  • Elizabeth Hubbard

    left eye, I can’t even close my left eye to wink or do this test. but my right eye closed everything is crisp. 

  • Malcolmvanatta

    @arttyIV You may have an astigmatism in your right eye. I do. I am “Left Eye” so thank goodness the astigmatism is in my right!

  • JayB PhotoU2

     For most people this is true.  Their dominant eye is opposite of their dominant hand.  This is because your optic nerves cross behind your eyes.  Also most “right brained” – creatives are left eye dominant because of the same reason (optic nerves cross).  If you are right eye dominant chances are that you may be more analytically minded or “left brained”.  Of coarse there are exceptions…

  • JayB PhotoU2


  • Thomas

    I had the same problem initially.  You need to fill the triangle with the object you are using as your point of focus.  It will disappear when one of your eyes is closed.

  • Kimberly

    I’m left eye dominant and when I had lasik surgery done, they tried on the glasses to show me what my vision would be like with my left eye still dominant.  They had to do one near sighted and the other far.  OMG!!  I panicked!!  He swapped it and everything was good.  Not really sure how that works, but he said it’s probably because I’m been shooting for over 25 years that my brain has been trained to use my right eye when looking through the viewfinder.  Don’t really care since the surgery was a success and he realized something was wrong before he took a laser to my eyes.

  • tma

    Interesting.   At my last optometrist appt, I was informed that my left eye was the dominate one.  

    I’ve always shot with the right eye, and according to this test, my right is the dominate eye.

  • Tom

    Very interesting. I’m right handed, and right-hand dominant, but my left eye is dominant. Have always shot that way. 

  • Sara

    Weird. I’m right eye dominant, but my left eye is my good eye. Now I’m all confused.