HHave you ever tried to take a photo of glass + dealt with horrible reflections? Check out this blog: How To Take A Picture Of A Picture. It’s all about answering the question of how to minimize and even totally get rid of those reflections.
This will also work for taking photos of someone wearing glasses, it’s the same concept.
When you finish this post, you’ll know the top ways to get around nasty reflections in picture frame glass, or any other reflective surface for that matter.
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The Main Thing You Need To Understand
Think about glass as a mirror. It’s not a perfect mirror, but it still reflects light really well.
Remember when you were playing as a kid and used a MIRROR to look around a corner? You didn’t see yourself in the mirror, you saw whatever the direct angle was from YOUR eyes to whatever the mirror was pointing at.
It’s the same type of game with photography of glass. The MIRROR to “look around a corner” is the picture frame glass, and what you’re searching for is your LIGHT SOURCE.
Keep in mind, a light source isn’t just a flash or a lamp. It could be a window or a white wall, reflecting light into your shot.
- If you DO see your light source directly in the mirror of the picture frame glass, you’re going to get a bunch of white reflection in the glass. That’s bad. That’s what we’re trying to NOT do.
- If you DON’T see your light source directly in the picture frame glass, you probably won’t see much reflection in the glass. THAT’S what we’re aiming for.
It’s all too easy to start shooting and realize that the reflections in the glass won’t go away! Here are three things to try when that happens!
#1 Change The Angle You Shoot
Just by moving YOURSELF and shooting at a different angle, you can see how the light reflection on the glass will change! If you can visualize the exact path the light takes from the source into your camera, even better. If you can’t visualize that, no problem — as you shoot around you’ll start to notice the “hot spots” where the reflection in the glass is the worst. Trial and error will guide you to find the best spots.
#2 Change The Light Location
I used flash for these, but you can use a lamp, a flashlight, or anything similar. The concept stays the same.
These two shots are pretty much the same angle, but the light was moved to show you how drastic of a difference it can be! In one, the reflection on the glass is so bad you can’t see part of the photo, and in the other one, you can see the photo clearly.
Remember again, the glass is just a mirror and the goal here is to make sure that the DIRECT reflection on that “mirror” doesn’t show any light source, because that’s what makes the reflection completely white.
It’s just as helpful to think about it backwards. If you can move the light so that you DO see it in the reflection of the glass, you know exactly what you’re trying to stay away from.
#3 Put The Darkest Background At Your Back
Since the glass is just a mirror, if you’re shooting in a really bright room or outside, it’ll be really difficult to stay away from bright reflections. In a bright room, the possible reflections of light are literally ALL OVER the place. White walls everywhere, white ceiling… you’re going to have a harder time.
That said, if you can make sure that you choose the darkest side of the room or darkest wall at your back as you take the shot, there won’t be as much light reflecting.
In these shots above, I have the house brick wall at my back (generally darker). In the other shot, I have the tree & sky at my back (sky is really bright).
In A Bright Room, Reflections Are Everywhere.
In this shot where the entire room is bright, even though the shot is almost exactly what we want, there is still a slight reflection on the glass. The reflection could be minimized if I covered the wall behind me with black cloth or something dark, because that would cut down the amount of light reflecting back to the glass from the wall.
Get creative here though — you could hold up a black shirt or a black umbrella, strategically placed to block that reflection! The closer you pay attention to exactly where that reflection is coming from, the less work you’ll have to do. Pay attention to understand WHY the reflection is happening, and your job to cut that reflection down is a whole lot easier:
See Exactly What The Reflection Is.
Don’t just accept a reflection for what it is — figure out exactly what the cause is. Look below at the white reflections messing up the photo, and then right after you’ll see what’s causing it! In all these shots, the true culprit is the bright sky, with cutouts of trees and my roof. When you do this same type of thing for your situation, you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the light reflection messing up your shot!