Are the eyes in focus? Why is that important? Does it really matter?
Studies (see this interesting article for more) have shown that the first thing humans look for is the eyes, whether it be other humans, animals, monsters, maybe even potatoes.
Why is this such a big deal for photographers? Well, because it's one of my pet peeves ;) ....and it doesn't matter how good a photo is, how spectacular, amazing, or awe inspiring the rest of it is, if there are eyes in it anywhere, and they are blurry. Because we look for the eyes first, they set the tone for the rest of the image. If the eyes are blurry, your image automatically takes a hit in the quality department. Some viewers may just keep on walking. Conversely, if you get those eyes right, beautiful, and tack sharp, your image will begin to draw the viewer in and make them look further. They connect with your work.
If your photos have blurry eyes, don't feel bad (other than that you've made me develop a nervous twitch). I see photos from professional photographers all the time with blurry eyes, thinking just how fabulous they would be if ONLY the eyes were sharp! I'm thinking maybe no one ever let them in on this psychology tidbit, so I'd like to spread the word.
When I shoot portraits, I make it my standard to place the single point focus on the forward-most eye. This is the one viewer's eyes will go to first. If you are shooting close-up, with a shallow depth of field, and the model is turned, both eyes may not be in focus, but that first one is a must!
I challenge you to take a stroll through some portrait groups, or just Google "portraits" and notice the eyes. It's always good exercise to peruse other photographer's work and try to figure out why you do or do not like a particular image. Break it down, analyze it, then see if your likes and dislikes are influenced by focus on the eyes. (By the way, this is a great exercise for any form of photography, landscape, macro, street, etc to increase your awareness of what makes a great photo.)
After you've done done that, go out and practice. Use the knowledge you just discovered and apply it to your own work. Then bring them back and share them in my Facebook group, The Simple Guide to Great Photography Group. Click here to join. Let me see those sharply focused eyes!
You can find more easy tips and tricks to quickly improve your photography in my book, The Simple Guide to Great Photography, on Amazon. Click here for more info.