Viewfinder Etiquette: Left eye or right eye, that is the question
Watch the eye. This cameraman at the Japan Matsuri festival in London is demonstrating the first principle of viewfinder use. Use your right eye for the camera, leave the redundant left eye free to roam, seeking out opportunities or danger—as in this case as the irritating still cameraman gets far too close with his 28mm lens. I can almost read his thoughts. What's the Japanese for "irritating little prick"? Most photographers, and a majority of my Leica photographer friends, find using the right eye to be the natural order of things: Leica's rangefinder window is in its heaven, all is right with the world.
Some of use, though, cannot get the hang of it. Much as I try to persuade myself that I should be using my right eye, I just cannot do it consistently. I know that keeping my face exposed creates a welcoming prospect for the subject. And keeping your nose away from the screen is good for minimising smudging. It just makes so much sense. With conscious thought I can do it, of course, but I soon revert to my old habit of using my right eye, thus covering my face with the camera and preventing me from seeing what’s going on around the scene. It’s very frustrating, but, I suppose, we are either right-eyed or left-eyed; it’s just something than happens without naturally.